"Don't you stay at home of evenings? Don't you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?"
-Oliver Wendall Holmes Sr.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Berries, Schedules and Other Aspects of Summer


The tricky thing about the school year ending and open-ended summer beginning is that kids actually do well with structure. Well, my kids do....or maybe I do...its hard to separate that kind of thing...its a little like spaghetti. The good thing is that there is so much change and freedom, both of which are stimulating and make your brain work.

I spend a week or two after school lets out spacing out a little....and just about now the need for routine and normal and order starts to kick in in a driving sort of way. Just sat down with the boys and worked out a new plan for picking up the toys today. Have also been plotting summery field trip type destinations for the next couple of months. Time to make fun, that has a shape and a structure happen....as well as certain necessities like clean toilets and scrubbed hair.




I am doing very well with hitting my goal daily for water consumption and am feeling so proud about that still. Change does happen. People grow and new habits get formed. Tell that to all the people who love to sag around quoting that line about old dogs! Ha! I am making some serious headway on the goal of 8 hours of sleep a night. I am still not hitting it yet but....I have managed to move from the 6 hour range up into the 7's! Every little bit helps and its so fun to see tangible progress.

Strawberry picking round one went down this past weekend and we have almost finished eating the two lugs we brought home. So much love for fresh berries in our family. I hadn't made a single thing with them yet (just watched them being wolfed down out of hand) until tonight when I slammed out a recipe for strawberry pie and popped it in to chill while we ate dinner. So. Good. Strawberries are one of my most favorite foods. If you're looking for a great recipe for your fresh pickins, here's the link to the delicious one I used. Thanks to Michelle over at Gluten Free Fix for sharing it with the world, my boys are all fans now.


Now that the strawberries are almost gone I am starting to think about going back for another round. The boys and I are planning fortifying ideas for the next Daddy Business Trip Week and strawberry picking again together might make it into the calendar. I love going as a family but I love the leisure of going mid-week with just the boys and I....fewer crowds, slower pace, less scheduling to work around. Just have to get those lug boxes cleaned out again!


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Monday, June 15, 2015

Angels Who Babysit




I just have to brag on my babysitter for a minute. 

 

This woman, makes empanadas with my boys and carries pictures of them around in her phone to show her family, washes all my dishes every time she comes and is the most comforting presence ever. I have a really jumpy nerve around sitters. I babysat SOOOOOooooo much when I was a teen and young adult, you'd think I'd feel so at ease interacting with them but I'm such a paranoid mama. Its the best thing ever, like a-tub-of-ice-cream-to-yourself-after-a-wicked-long-day type of a good thing, to have this wonderful, experienced woman come in and be totally un-rattled by the nakedness of my three year old or the goop smeared on the entryway rug or the 10 board games that are strewn across the living room floor.


 She never criticizes, she just clucks around helping me out and shooing me out of the house and helping the boys get all the things they need. When we come home, the boys are in bed and the house is cleaned up. I remember doing that as a babysitter and I had NO IDEA how wonderful that really was. I mean, I had an inkling but no real clue. To walk into your home and find it better than when you left and a warm welcome and your wild boys all tucked into bed. I want to cry every time.


I'm not sure Luana (not her real name) has any idea how powerfully loving she has been to me, how much my boys have been supported and empowered by her and how much peace she has brought to my soul by accepting our crazy life as it is and just stepping into the stream with me.


She does the most endearing things, lovingly caressing my cast-iron pans and going on about them, feeding our chickens even though I already did earlier because she loves them, complimenting me on my outfit before I go out and telling me that I look sexy and beautiful, telling me all the lovely little things she loves about my sons....even though they did things under her care like smash potted plants, bop each other with golf clubs and stand on the tables. To see someone as they are, to laugh over the absurdity and the hilarity of it all but unequivocally accept them as they really come, with open arms and a mother's heart....I can't tell you how much that is a deep kindness to a mama.

Luana is a saint and I am so indebted to her for loving me and my crazy life, it was just the balm I needed. If you're searching for a good sitter, that doesn't make you tear your house apart cleaning obsessively and feeling mincing and over-careful, wishing you had someone who seemed confident and calming, who gets the crazy but doesn't care....keep looking. I'm not handing out Luana's details but the right one is out there for you and finding really good people is such a valuable and deep thing that I just want to encourage you to keep looking! And if you're a sitter....go above and take notes. May your career be long and your ministry to the souls of ragged mamas a powerful force. 

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Strawberry Lust and Making Eight Hours

It is strawberry season and I am hoping that this weekend, between the graduation open houses, baseball games and grocery shopping, we can wedge in a little berry picking. I am craving Strawberry Shortcake something fierce......please tell me I can still buy rhubarb someplace so that at least one Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp can make an appearance. These things are important rites of passage that my (ahem!) sons need to experience. Its all for them.



Also, strawberry basil water, strawberry ice cream, strawberry cream cheese milk shakes, and our traditional strawberry freezer jam. Yes to the yes. Please, lets pick strawberries! Must make time.

Pom is really trying hard to potty train, although he has instructed us to not tell anyone. He has quite a socially aware personality. I bought him a potty story book for his recent birthday which gets read at least once a day and is much labored over in private corners of the house to boot. He is very bent on the whole process. The trick is, that as of now, he has no personal initiative physically. He doesn't seem to notice when he needs to go....ever. He'll be perfectly potty trained if only I will devote myself to setting timers and being always free when they go off so that I can take him to the bathroom at the drop of a hat. If I do the work, he's potty trained. Having a little trouble getting over the hump.


We are out of school for the summer, minus our ever-present math studies (A is teaching) and some reading instruction. Here it is tempting to throw all focus out the window and do crazy things like spend all day organizing the game cupboard and vaccuuming out the pantry, and then drive a bajillion miles up to a farm to pick up raw milk. Not that we won't do that.....because we will....but I need to consciously remember to pay attention to doing the eventy kinds of things we mean to do during this beautiful time of year (Statue of Liberty!) and also remember to give the boys my real, look-you-in-the-eyes-attention, a few mama projects and adventures are in order. It might be a good idea to actually try to use the reading log from the library for The Summer Reading Program too. Am terrible at logs.

The honeysuckle is blooming...its dripping all over the sidelines of the baseball practice fields and creeping up the highway walls in a fervent froth of scented frivolity. It smells amazzzzzing! Tonight I braved the mosquitoes as Ru finished up catching practice with his coaches to snip a handful for carrying home in the cupholder, tucked in a water bottle. I am putting it on my nightstand as a midsummer sleep tonic.

Working on the whole concept of getting eight hours of sleep lately. Its my latest fitness goal. I am exercising regularly, with an emphasis on strength training and flexibility, eating super clean and researching supplementation and have managed to conquer hydration! I cannot believe that I am smoothly managing to get all my daily water chugged down, but even better.....its becoming pleasant, needed even....and I think I can tell that it impacts my physical self and my emotional happiness. So strange, this morphing to become the person you mean to be. So, on to my next goal, a goal I couldn't have even had very easily in the I-always-have-a-baby stage of my life. Sleeping. I sleep easily, no insomnia unless I'm whipped into an argument right at bedtime, and I am able to go to sleep quickly and I am a very sound sleeper (although easily wakened by my children). This all bodes well. I am aiming at 8 hours. I am hovering at 6 and change. I have a sleep buddy to text at bedtime so that we remind each other to go to sleep, and I have my FitBit all charged up again so that I can consciously monitor how many hours I am getting. Lets do this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
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