Monday, April 27, 2009

Be Still...

The sign on the front of my car says, "Mom's Taxi." This weekend I could have made a mint if I had actually charged for the rides. My kids' social life rivaled that of any pop star sensation of the moment. They went to sleep-overs, parties, movies, and all sorts of other places. We had events stacked back-to-back, and sometimes literally on top of each other.

When all the revelry was finally dying and down and it was time for our children to come home, we were met with loud objections: "Just a few more minutes, mom!" and "But I don't want to come home, yet!" Were I not a secure person, I could take a lot of personal offense from this. However, I love my kids, and know they love me. And I know that the theory of: An object in motion tends to stay in motion applies completely and directly to my children.

No matter how tired, how exhausted, how sleepy, how hungry- they will "go" until they fall over. And their energy reserve seems almost endless as they bounce (literally) from one place to the next.

While in church on Sunday, my daughter tapped, fidgeted, crossed and uncrossed her legs, shifted her weight, and sighed a lot. During the quiet prayers, I could feel her vibrating next to me, as if to say, "Yeah, okay: God, we love You. Please bless everyone on the planet and beyond. Amen. Now, let's get on with it already!"

I, on the other hand, was standing still, almost in a trance, not even uttering the congregational responses. It felt soooooo good just to not be "doing" anything! Just standing or sitting... breathing...

I remember growing up thinking the church service would NEVER end! And I'm sure my mother remembers me practically doing gymnastics on the pew next to her.

At the time, I thought, "How do grown ups stay so still? This has got to be the most boring thing EVER! I mean, I'll bet even God thinks these prayers are long and boring. He's probably thinking: Okay. Thanks. I got it. I can't believe He hasn't told us to be quiet already!"

Now I realize: The grown ups weren't so much more reverent and faithful than I was when I was young; They were just tired!- From driving, from all the events their children did, for all the responsibilities that had to be taken care of during the weekend, etc.

If I did not have to cook, clean, take kids places, arrange schedules, work, and all the other miscellaneous and sundry things I do, I could have the energy my kids have. I could have their social life, too. I could be twitching like a mad woman during church.

But, alas, I am a mother. And mothers must do what mothers must do. So, I will continue to be still (as God requests, I might add) during church. And I will enjoy my little balls of energy sitting next to me.

Soon they will want to sit with friends, go to work, sleep in (not that they'll be allowed to do any of that). But while they're here, I'll be glad and rejoice while I be still and know God.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Say Po-ta-to, I Say Po-tah-to

As a young(er) woman, I could not see why in the world my mentors, my employers, the men and women who were older (and wiser) than I, insisted I was "so young." In my eyes, I was smart, sharp, creative and bold.

Today, just on the other side of 40, I look at the young(er) men and women, and think, "infants." Not in a derogatory way. Certainly those "kids" can run circles around my technological abilities. Not to mention, they have the ability to run on less sleep and still have energy to spare. But life experience gives a different perspective than you can ever have, no matter how bright and/or energetic.

The "generation gap" rears its ugly head in the most unexpected ways and in the most unusual circumstances. I can remember being young(er) and my parents practically passing out from the smell of my bubble gum. Watermelon Bubblicious was Divine, but did have a certain quality about it that admittedly assaulted the senses. Still, it was one of my favorites.

My generation discovered a deep and passionate love for Zingers, Ho Ho's, sugary cereals, such as BooBerry and Count Chocula. We had the original Original Coke, before the New Coke and the New Original Coke. We loved Spam sandwiches and Hamburger Helper. We were in the generation that took the most advantage of "man-made, modern chemically processed food."

Today, "Organic" is the new "New & Improved." Vegans all over the world practically faint at the thought of the ingredients on the side of a Spam can (who can blame them?). The FDA has had to double-time it to keep up with the consumer's demand for "what is in this stuff???". And even then, companies' claims are fuzzy and misleading, at best.

My children love anything sour and/or having the ability to discolor their tongues. Now, when I say "sour," I don't mean even like lemons. I mean sour that makes you do that little shimmy, shiver like when you have to take bad cold medicine. Ick. My kids delight in watching me contort and generally spaz when they trick me into consuming something from their vile "sour" stash.

They also like to show "originality" by having green and/or blue tongues. They LOVE when a product will stain their tongue to look like a picture or say words.

Would I have thought that was "cool" when I was their age? Hard to say. I have such a tremendous distaste for it now, I don't think my judgement is exactly un-biased to rate them as a young(er) person.

I do know that as a young(er) person I thought Taco Bell was the best Mexican food in the world. I loved butter and peanut butter sandwiches, Tang, un-diet sodas, Pixie Sticks (pure, flavored sugar in a tube), and super-greasy french fries. Now, any one of those things makes my stomach hurt at the very thought, and my waistline bulge just a little, too.

So, would I like "sour raspberry bug juice" if I were my children's peer today, instead of their parent? Hard to say. I rather think not. But... could be, I suppose.

I have developed a taste that allows me to enjoy vegetables, which my children still think are the equivalent of eating echtoplasmic dirt. I prefer diet drinks, while my kids can go back and forth between regular and diet drinks without effort. However, my kids do not like Spam any more than I. And, after enough "junk" food, they will actually request "real" food.

The line between child and adult continues to blur as I realize that my children are armed with information I never received. For example, the modern marvel of chemicals that had such an appeal for my generation, is now commonly regarded as the cause of many illnesses and modern-day problems by me and my children.

I suppose, bottom-line, the older generation will always think of the younger generation as "so young/un-knowledgeable/lacking life experience"- no matter if we're talking fashion, theory or food. And the younger generation will always look at the older generation as "so old/square/not with it" right back at them. It's the way it has always been, and will always be.

I have to say, though, I am particularly glad we have come to some common ground: Spam is NOT an option, no matter what your age!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Case of Parental Hypocrisy

While I am certain I am not the only parent to camp firmly in the "do as I say, not as I do" side of the fence, I will admit that it always feels a little bad when some startling realization hits. I try to justify that, of course I would want only the very best for my children. And many times "the very best" is better than than I personally do or say.

I know, Amy, that I don't eat enough vegetables. I know you hate them. And I know it's very hypocritical for me to ask you to eat them when I don't. But, I want better for you than I do for myself! Same for Emma and house cleaning, and Keith and exercising.

Can a child be trained to do something if the the parent doesn't set the example? Thankfully, yes. Obviously, many, many people have not only survived their parents, but lived to thrive despite of them.

But how can I help my children be better people, if I can't even manage it myself? If I can't motivate myself to do 30 minutes of exercise per day, what right do I have to tell Keith that he has to? Or have Emma clean her room, or Amy eat her vegetables? Circle back around to that "do as I say, not as I do" thing.

Oh, but the oldest child cries, "Foul! No Fair! Why should I have to do it, if you don't?"

"Because, I am your parent," which is my least favorite answer in the world, but as a parent, encompasses more than words could ever say. "Besides, if I jumped off of a cliff, does that make it okay for you to do, too?"

"Yes," youngest child declares.

"No," I retort, "It does not."

"Why not?" youngest child demands.

"Because, I am your parent," I say, again with the non-answer that simply closes down the conversation.

But if I think about it, it goes back to wanting the best for my children. I may not be able to achieve all that I think is perfect/proper/wonderful. But there's no reason, given the advantages I can bestow as a parent, that my children can not.

"But what if we don't want to?" practical, middle child asks...

Hmm. Good question...

My "do as I say, not as I do," persona raises her hand: "You can do what you want when you live in your own house. Until then, you will do as I say."

Ha. Case Closed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Carry On

As I was plodding through the rain to my car, I had bags in one hand, keys and an umbrella in the other, a purse slung over my shoulder and a phone between my shoulder and my ear. My oldest was walking, head down, engrossed in a video game trying to stay under the umbrella. Half way across the parking lot, he started juggling a book he was carrying, pulled it out from under his arm, and- without looking up- said, "Could you hold this?"

"Huh?" I asked, incredulously.

"Can you hold this?" he asked again, as though explaining it to the profoundly stupid.

"Keith," I began, "we could not be more than five feet from the car. You hold it. Besides, where would I carry it?"

He spared me a quick glance, verified my statements and said, "Oh. Okay."

I have come to realize that when God created females, He modeled us after many different animals. Lately I feel like one of those animal characteristics has been called upon more than the others. I have been a talking, walking pack mule.

While my kids play tag, run circles around me and try to kill each other, I'm like a human shopping cart, to which things keep getting added. Normal humans would have to have an additional twelve arms to carry what we super-moms can manage.

I recently switched from carrying a large purse to a tiny one. On any given day, I could have made millions on "Let's Make a Deal." Yo-yos, candy, Barbie Dolls, a Bratz doll with one leg missing, Legos, pony-tail holders, a broken Christmas ornament, used and unused band aids, and various other oddities floated aimlessly in the bottom of my purse. And it was commonplace for my children to bound up to me with something else in hand and ask, "Mom, can you hold this for me?" I'd nod as I would shove the newest treasure into my seemingly endless, uncomfortably heavy purse.

Finally, I developed a shoulder pain that was pesky enough to keep me from sleeping well. That was the proverbial straw, and I began searching for little purses. Once I made the switch, I thought, I wouldn't have to carry nearly as much.

Well, I don't have to carry as much in my purse. But it has not insulated me from being my children's "go-to gal" to hold all their miscellaneous "stuff."

Who else but a mom would have in their arms, at the same time, a poster board from a project, a library book on bugs, grocery bags, a gym bag with very ripe, dirty clothes, the mail, a stuffed animal and a diet coke? And still have their seven-year-old look up at them and say, "Will you hold me, mom?"

I think a collapsible grocery cart should be standard issue for all new moms. When they are babies, you could use it for all of the diapers, extra outfits, baby wipes, bottles, etc. you lug around. When they get older, it would allow someplace for all the Happy Meal toys, juice boxes, goldfish snacks and all the extras, too. School years would be so much easier and efficient with a cart to carry all the jackets, notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. And summers would be much more fun when you could push all the floats, swim towels, picnic baskets, sunscreen and everything else.

As a mom prepares for her "empty nest" when the children leave the home, it is not only the house that feels empty and quiet. There are no more requests from little people to, "Hold this."

The large luggage-like bag she once called a purse, crammed with enough preparedness to make a boyscout feel inferior, can be scaled down to a wallet, cell phone and keys.

So while I complain about feeling like a mountain of clothes and stuff that can walk and talk, I am very mindful of the fact that all of those "things" represent some very special children. Children who I would not trade for the world...

Children who could really carry their own things every once and I while, don't you think????

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

I absolutely mean no offense to anyone, but I must beg the question: can animals be retarded? More specifically, can a dog have such a low IQ that, if it were a person, it would qualify for special education and/or state funding?

If yes, then I am certain my dog is part of this group.

If not, then we may want to consider establishing a new group.

Dixie is just the cutest little puff of fur you have ever seen. She is part Shiz Tzu and part Maltese (and quite possibly part cat, since her favorite perch is on top of my couch). She has the sweetest face, and a wonderful disposition. She loves, loves, loves her mamma (me).

HOWEVER, she is the most incontinent dog you have ever seen in your life! She is three years old, and still can not be left alone for more than three minutes, lest she leave a huge pee spot in the floor. (She will probably poop, too- but she eats it, so I have no evidence.)

The dog can go outside, walk around the block, then hang out on her leash in the back yard for an hour. But as soon as she walks in the door and is alone, she will just pull up a piece of carpet and relieve herself.

No amount of begging, pleading, bribing or beating has made a difference. The vet says she could be passive/aggressive and suggested Prozac. I laughed and said, "no." Now- I'm reconsidering.

Literally every inch of carpet in our home needs to be ripped up and replaced. To be fair, she is the fourth pet to contribute to the "problem." However, her "contributions" have been far more substantial than the other three put together!

We also potty-trained two children in this home. So, there was the occasional "oops" when they didn't make it to the bathroom in time. But, at least they felt uncomfortable and requested a wardrobe change. The dog doesn't seem to notice.

We resorted to blocking off the kitchen and leaving her on the linoleum when we were away from the house. She evidently can fly or vaporize and re-materialize on the other side of the huge blockades we have erected on either side of the kitchen. Because in the afternoons when I come home, she has gotten out of her "fortress" and is perched, happily wagging her tail, on the back of the couch.

We were told that dogs NEVER go to the bathroom where they sleep. So we put her in her kennel. Not only did she go to the bathroom, she rolled in it. So she had poop (what she hadn't eaten) matted in her white, soft fur (ICK) and her paws were literally yellow from the pee.

Whenever we say, "Ooh, Dixie, you stink!," she looks perplexed. She hates having her nose rubbed in pee, but only because she doesn't like being held down. The smell really doesn't seem to bother her that much.

I'm certain even the Dog Whisperer would decide this dog has problems. I am totally out of options to make this dog stop using my home as a potty. And it's GROSS!

We have a steam cleaner which gets hauled out just about every twenty four hours. Hubby works for a company that has some GREAT cleaning products, which we have used A LOT. Quite frankly, I am amazed we have any fibers left in our carpets, considering the scrubbing we do.


She does go to the vet tomorrow for her yearly shots. I am going to ask the vet if they have some magic corks I can put in her. Or if I can feed her cleaning products, so at least if she pees on my carpet, she will make it clean...


I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stick Out Your Tongue and Say "Om"

Last night I decided I needed to stretch my poor, weary body, which had been in a permanent blob on the couch for too long. I determined I would exercise using one of my yoga tapes. I went into my room, and popped in the tape to begin.

My two daughters came bouncing in and asked if they could join me. We have been talking about them taking yoga for some time now. The evening ("PM") tape is pretty basic and fairly easy. So I thought, This may actually be a pretty good idea.

However, as soon as the first stretch began, Amy was in tears.

"I can't do it!" she cried.

All I could think was, This is supposed to be relaxing.

Emma tried her best to ease Amy's concerns, as did I. But, alas, it was to no avail. Amy's temper tantrum spun quickly out of control into a level 4 tornado on speed. The contrast between the tape's instructor and her deep breathing, and Amy and her high pitched squealing was almost comical... Almost.

Finally, I showed Amy how to do Child's Pose, and told her she was welcome to stay in that pose as long as she wanted. (Which, by the way, is a fact: I spent most of my first few yoga classes in Child's Pose trying to regain consciousness after stretching upside down and inside out.) This seemed to placate her.

Emma and I got down to business, breathing, stretching and having positive thoughts.

Then Amy got bored. So she quit Child's Pose and began her very own series of yoga poses. Apparently these included, but were not limited to, climbing on top of me, sitting in my lap, playing with my hair and poking my stomach to find my belly button.

Again, This is supposed to be relaxing, kept running through my head.

I coaxed Amy into resuming Child's Pose for a little bit longer. But, really, not for long.

She was like a child trapped in the back seat of a car on a cross-country trip with no toys, games, movies, videos, or anything that would amuse her: "Are we done yet?" "How many more minutes?"

Then she got personal with me, trying to make me pay attention to her, and not the tape: "No offense, Mom. But, is you stomach supposed to do that?" and, "Your face sure is red, Mommy. Are you okay? Do I need to get Daddy?"

I felt all of the muscles in my body clenching up into a massive ball of ARGGG!!!
Why am I doing this again? To relax?

Finally, we were at the last pose, which is basically lying down on your back and breathing. Amy laid down and did well for two breaths. Then she pretended to snore.

I was almost certain I was going to need to take a couple of shots of whiskey to calm down from my relaxation yoga tape by the time the instructor bid us "Namaste." Finally, we were done, and I was ready to send the girls to bed and take a long, hot shower.

As we got up from this virtual torture we had just endured, Emma said, "Thanks, Mom." Amy turned and looked at me and said, "Mommy, that was fun. Can we do it again tomorrow night?"

"We'll see," I said, trying to sound light. What I really wanted to say was something that was very un-yoga-like. But I, after all, was the adult, so I figured I should act like one.

Emma did enjoy the yoga for what it was, and had very little difficulty with the poses or the stamina required. I think she really would like to do it again.

Amy is still better suited for jumping on a pogo stick while jump roping than practicing yoga. Oh well, I suppose she will get there soon enough.

For now, yoga is strictly for people eight years old and up. If you insist on joining in our relaxation and you are under age, you must take a shot of benadryl and some NyQuil and stay in Child's Pose the entire time. Then... we can relax...


Friday, April 10, 2009

Changes: They Are A'Comin...

When I was growing up, I had a very happy childhood. My parents were very loving and supportive. I had a wonderful church family. I had a lot of friends from all different walks of life.

But there did come a time, as it does for most young people, when I decided I could not wait to get OUT! I was going to see the world, experience the world, change the world. This small town was "dragging me down." It was boring. It was too small. And I was tired of everyone being up in my business.

So, I packed my stuff and ran away from home- to college, after graduating High School (I'm not totally stupid). In college I learned a lot of theory, and my eyes were opened to the world- or so I thought. I fell in love and, after graduating college, we married. By then I had decided "home" was not so bad after all. But, to my dismay, hubby had a job that took us all over the place. It took us everywhere but "home."

When we began our family, I wanted nothing more than to take my family "home." There is something instinctual about the way a parent wants the best (or better) for their children. We were certainly no exception. We wanted our son, and any future children, to have the morals, the love, the security we had experienced in our childhood. To us, that meant taking the family "home."

We yearned for our children to experience life the way we had it. However, that was impossible from the get-go. For starters, our junior high school had been demolished and rebuilt in another location. Stores and houses peppered the land that used to be nothing but fields with cows. Our rival junior high school had been transformed into the magnet K - 12 school our children would someday attend. Our high school was now a middle school... How could it really be "the same"?

Well, at least we still had the same friends, same family, same church... Right?

Actually, we made more friends, new friends. We became closer with friends with whom we shared more in common. Old friends were still friends, we just didn't see them as often.

And family changed as members were added and members passed on. But we became stronger.

Church... well, church was one of the things I relied on to be a constant. It was that "x" factor that always stayed the same. After all, church was the House of God.

I wanted my children to have a fun youth group experience, exciting Vacation Bible School during the summers, friends in Sunday School, Eucharistic training and First Communion, acolyte training, Small Catechism, Confirmation, Affirm- all of the things that I believed helped shape me to be who and what I am.

As our world has changed, so has our church, thus proving the theory that any object in motion will stay in motion. I suppose that is better than the alternative, which is any object at rest will stay at rest. But, what if the change is not good? At least from my perspective?

What happens when it begins to feel like I am part of the problem, rather than part of the solution? Can I walk away without a fight? Is it really my fight, or have I grown, moved on, from it?

Ultimately, my children will grow and develop with the guidance of people- not things, like school buildings, or theory, like religion or a particular church. But it is still an awesome responsibility to make sure I make the right decisions about those things and theories to expose my children to the best people.

Thankfully, we do have wonderful, wonderful people (family and friends) who are fabulous role models for our children. And, God is the beginning and end. He will use our good intentions, our prayerfully discerned decisions, to His purpose and glory. He will use us (as long as we allow Him) to guide, shape, mold and love our children.

And, in the end, that is what any parent would really want.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Many Personalities- One Girl

Today seemed like the perfect day to be Sloth Barbie. I was all set to play with my computer, watch TV, read my book(s) and eat bad food. I came lazily down the stairs, rubbing my eyes.

Upon arriving downstairs, my feet met the floor with a crunch (ew). As my vision became clearer, I began to see that my house was in no shape for me to be Sloth Barbie. Instead, I was going to really need to be Princess-Clean-A-Lot Barbie. *gag*

My house actually looked like a bunch of rednecks had hosted a monster truck rally in my living room and kitchen. I sighed and my shoulders slumped as my Sloth Barbie dream went "poof" and I began reorganizing my day in my head.

My kids had each invited a friend or two from the neighborhood over, and I was watching my niece and nephew. At one point I counted thirteen kids in my back yard, ranging in age from four to twelve. And all thirteen of those kids tried to tromp through my kitchen after I had scrubbed it. I threatened them with their very lives if they did. They, wisely, chose an alternate route to their final destination.

The whole time I was cleaning, I was mumbling and grumbling to myself. I, for the life of me, can not figure out how someone can be so pretentious as to just expect me to clean up after them. I mean, not just clean the toilets, dishes, clothing, floors and everything else (which they do), but to actually pick up their dishes when they are done with them; to pick up their dirty towels as they throw them on the floor after a bath; to throw away their gum wrappers they throw on the floor. Honestly!

How did I raise children like this??? Or is this what all children are like? Because, I gotta' tell you, one the huge perks I was counting on past potting training was assigning chores to someone other than myself. However, this is just not working out.

I hate housework with all the passion in my body. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I can not STAND to do something, have it look all nice, and then pffbbbb- gone. In exactly one and a half seconds my children can erase hours of scrubbing and organizing.

So today, as I was sacrificing myself for the sake of my family, when I would ask someone to, like, oh, close a drawer for me, or open a cabinet, and they would whine, it made me angry. And when they would sigh and carry on like I was asking them to move a mountain, I wanted to turn them out to the streets. And when they did do something- however minor -they expected high praise. Like when they picked up their own gum wrapper, they would ask if they got extra allowance!

By the end of the day, I was not Sloth Barbie or Princess-Cleans-A-Lot Barbie. I was Grouchasaurus Barbie. Mommy Barbie had left the building ages ago. And any scrap of PTA Mommy Barbie was completely and utterly gone.

The good news: the house is (for the most part) clean; I have been able to tame my inner beast with a donut and a diet coke; and, the children have indeed lived to see another day. Tomorrow... Well, tomorrow I'll try again for Sloth Barbie- only in a much cleaner house!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Don't Judge a Shirt by It's Tag

I was invited to a clothing party a while ago. I didn't want to really purchase anything. But I decided I would go out of support for my friend who was hosting the party.

When we got there, the (very skillful) sales representative had brought lots and lots of samples for us to try on. Nothing makes a bunch of women want to buy clothes more than trying them on and having all their friends "ooh" and "aah" over how great they look. Especially when you add in some food and wine...

Two shirts and a pair of jeans later, I was still basking in the afterglow of how "awesome" I looked. However, I was brought down to a harsh reality when I was given the bill. Yikes! I could buy an entire season's wardrobe for that much!

But, hold on, says the (very skillful) sales representative. Did I see the specials? Well, I had, but it didn't really help that much. She sighed and put on her most disappointed face. She was sorry, but she understood. She tipped down her hand with the order form in it.

The (very skillful) sales representative let me just peek at the form enough to see the sizes she had written down. Whoa! I knew I had been losing weight, but that size was not even something I had considered! Wow! Okay, now I had to have those jeans!

The (very skillful) sales representative was (almost) able to conceal her smirk when she realized she had "won." I was so excited to be in such a small size, I probably would have paid double what she was asking.

Later, as I was doing my laundry, I smiled again at that little, bitty size on the tag. I hung them up to dry (lest they accidentally shrink) and stood back to admire them.

I happened to catch a look at the pair of pants hanging next to them. Suddenly, I realized that the pants were almost the exact same size as the jeans- but the pants did NOT sport the little, bitty size in them, as the jeans had. Hmph.

So, now I had a very expensive pair of jeans that were just as big as my pants- that just happened to have a little tag in it... As I looked a little closer, I noticed that next to the little, bitty tag said, "Made in China."

This made me giggle. The poor, little, bitty Chinese people who were making these jeans must think we Americans are completely off of our collective rockers!

Really, the Wal-Mart clothing (also made in China) is not much better. I think I actually own a couple of Wal-Mart pants that are like a 4/5. I can only imagine the confusion around the manufacturing plant: "So, the pants going to Target are a size 10, but the same pants, going to Wal-Mart, are a size 4/5... Okay..."

I guess clothiers are just trying to make women feel good about themselves. But telling someone who needs to lose weight for their health and for appearance's sake that they are able to fit into a slim, trim size, isn't helping anyone.

In fact, the only clothiers who still remain true to the sizes as they were originally intended are bridal gown houses. Talk about having things backwards! There is no day that a girl wants to feel more beautiful than on her wedding day. She wants to be the most stunning person in a three-state radius.

As she goes in to try on dresses and find her "dream gown," she is quite unsuspecting that whatever gown she chooses will have to be at least two full sizes larger than what she thinks she wears. What a way to totally shatter a dream! "Yes, dear, the dress is beautiful. You, however, look like a float from the Rose Bowl parade."

I guess when it's all said and done, it doesn't really matter what size tag is in your garment. In fact, my kids pull all the tags out of their clothes as soon as they get home. They say the tags are "itchy." (The only snag to this is while this is probably very good for their self-esteem, it makes it impossible to consign any of their clothes...)

I suppose if you eat well, exercise regularly and don't do too many bad things for you, the size of the clothing doesn't matter as much as how it ultimately looks on you. But, I still have to say, those jeans I got with the little, bitty tag still make me feel prettier than my pants with the "correct" tag. Hey- maybe I just need a Sharpie marker... Now, there's a thought...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Schedules vs. Vacation

It has come to my attention recently that I have fallen off the proverbial "blog waggon." Please accept my apologies. It seems that life has taken precedent over my hobby... So it goes...

The latest and greatest at our house is the recent trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Somehow, by the grace of God, we drove the six zillion hours down and back, stayed five nights and six days, and actually got along 95% of the time. This was no doubt a record for this household, where in "normal" life we can't make it for more than 35 seconds without hearing, "Moooooo-ooooommmm! He's touching me!" "She started it!" "Make her stop!"

And, yet, we managed to leave all of that behind when we went on vacation. It was completely fabulous.

The government seems totally bent on throwing money around right now. So I propose that they fund a study to find out what makes children turn into complete banshees at home, but makes them tame and happy as fat cats on vacation.

My personal theory is that we, as parents, are focused on about thirteen billion things during our normal, every-day life. But on vacation, we focus on our kids. They have no reason to act out, act up or generally be ornery; they already have our attention.

Not to mention, we get more rest. Whereas at home, all of our activities keep us running all day, and sometimes into the night. On vacation we get naps; we sleep in late; we have a leisurely pace.

How do we bring the vacation attitude into every day life? The first and primary way is to utilize a simple little word: "No." Quit over-scheduling. Oh, yeah, right. I already feel like I say "No" every other word that comes out of my mouth. Sometimes it's easier just to say "Yes" to not have to fight.

Also, devoting specific time to the family, to your children, helps life be more reminiscent of vacation days. Since we are usually so married to our schedules, that's probably a little easier and a little more realistic.

I guess scheduling in time to write isn't such a bad idea, either. This is such a positive outlet for me. And, as hubby likes to remind me on a fairly regularly basis, it's FREE!!!

For tonight, the kids are tucked nicely in bed. Hopefully they are having sweet, innocent dreams. And hopefully they will be getting lots of good rest, so that they can be a little less cranky for my parents tomorrow.

And, hopefully, I'll be drifting off to dreamland soon, too... Now that I've "channeled my creative energy" for the evening. Good night. Rest well. Here's to a wonderful tomorrow... :)