Wednesday, January 30, 2013

mid week

you know you know you're not firing on all cylinders when you wash your face with men's shampoo/body wash while explaining to the two superheros...who have taken up residence in your shower...why you are not using acceptable face soap.

"i'm only doing this because i ran out of my face soap and i keep forgetting to buy more.  plus...the manly smell isn't that bad.  and it really does seem to be opening up these clogged sinuses that i have going right now.  so stop judging me."

all of this was to the familiar soundtrack of annslee saying, "i want..."

she says "i want" more times a day than anybody i've ever met in my life.

"mommy...i wan mum (gum).  mommy...i wan watch pout (sprout).  mommy...i wan 2 happys (pappys).  mommy...i wan yelp (help).  mommy...i wan yeareal (cereal).  i wan mmm (milk)  i wan cwaquet (chocolate).  i wan do it.  i wan use yoap (soap).  i wan watch elmo.  i wan watch movie.  i wan water.  i wan sleep in your bed.  i wan go wi you.  i wan eat.  i wan m&m's."  and on...and on...and on.

so tonight...while explaining myself to the superhero shower crashers...all i could hear from my bed was,

"moooooommmmmmyyyyyy........i wan watch elmo."

sorta yelling so she could hear me over the shower and sprout:  "no annslee.  we are not going to watch elmo tonight.  i told you that you could watch sprout while i was in the shower...but then it's bed time."

"moooooooooommmmmmmyyyyyy....i wan watch movie."

"no annslee.  we are not going to watch a movie tonight."

"mooooommmmmmyyyy...i wan mmmmm with cwaquet in it."

"i wan two happys."

"you're gonna have to wait annslee."

i toweled off and pulled the tags off my new sleep find.

what is it about something new that brings a breath of fresh air to a situation.  it was like..."yeah...i've got these awesome coral sleep shorts on...and now...i rule the world."

i walked out of my bathroom refreshed and with a bounce in my new jammied step.

there's my daughter.  sleeping with guns.

and jumping.

if i didn't still have this nasty head cold...i may have just joined in.


keeping with things that make me happy...

look what turned up at the dollar spot today.

you know how a good bunch of seasonal pencils can brighten my day.

and holla...

these are paper straws from the discount bins at michaels.

a friend of mine...(hi a.b.) has banned me from going to michaels.  so imagine her disappointment when she sees all of this stuff.  i have a good excuse.  isn't that how all addictions are justified??  but truly...i have to turn all of this stuff into a headband fit for pocahontas.

aiden is pocahontas for the living history museum at school on friday.

luckily...a friend (thanks, k.r.) let me borrow her daughter's old costume...freeing funds and creative energy for a killer headband and boots.

i've been needing a reason to purchase these.

ever since her brothers were jimmy carter and harry houdini for their living history museums in second grade...i've been hoping that aiden would get to be pocahontas when her turn rolled around.  i mean...come on.  her braids will be perfect.  sally ride just doesn't give me anything fashionable to work with.

she can't wait to get all dressed up.  and her speech has been carefully constructed and memorized.  so we are all ready and waiting to make peace between our people and the settlers.

well...i better go plan for our last day of fairy tales in preschool tomorrow.  and then bust out a feathered headband.

not a bad ending to the day.

here's to beginning to feel better...and vick's vapor rub.


and my new mug filled with peppermint tea and honey.

now...if that doesn't put a smile on your face...

i don't know what will.

Friday, January 25, 2013

sand clouds thirsty soul was quenched with a visit from an old friend.  this is a friend that i saw on a regular basis until this school year.  we talked on the phone once a day, AT LEAST.  we saw each other most every day.  our kids saw each other every day.  and we normally hung out some on the weekends.

and then...both of our lives took a different turn, of sorts.

her family moved...landing our children at different schools.  and we started homeschooling...increasing my "hectivity" exponentially.

although i thought about my friend every wasn't the same.

when we would finally reach each other on the phone...or rearrange our schedules to meet for lunch...we would always say the same thing.

"i miss you!  this is ridiculous!!  we have to make this a weekly thing."

but life would take over again and we would slip back into busy.

we could no longer count on seeing each other and talking when we picked the kids up from school.  she could no longer swing by and spend an hour chatting before car-riders.  our girls no longer went home with each other to play.

i called my friend, the other check in.  we made plans.

i made a point to not schedule anything for today.  and she drove over after she dropped her oldest daughter off at school.  we had no make-up on.  we had no agenda.  we had breakfast...and lunch...and the best pitcher of arnold palmers there ever was.

two hours in the warm sun...drawing bumble bees and butterflies while sipping sweet drinks felt like what i imagine a good ole' fashion therapy session feels like.

and after i drew annslee...she asked me to lie down on the cement.  so i did.  and the clouds blew over my head like white, dusty sand blowing across the beach.

as our children were getting home from school...i hugged my friend and we both said,

"we have to make this a weekly thing."

and this time...i really think it will stick.

good friendships can't be taken for granted.  they don't just happen.  you don't get to wake up and see each other in the hallway at school anymore.  you have to be intentional.  you have to re-arrange schedules.  you have to make it happen.  and when you is better because of them.

see you soon, c.w.  :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

this is me. today, anyway.

i'd like to blather on about patience and how it pays off...but in reality...i hardly think that waiting 5 days for another new car qualifies as patience.
chad found a better deal.
and this lovely thing is parked snug in our driveway.  i love it.  and i'm grateful.

and today...i added an orange, clemson paw sticker to the back glass...just to seal the deal.
i think i'm ready for spring.  i'm not sure if that's the problem...or if it's something else entirely.  but something isn't clicking.  i find myself feeling super blah these days...which doesn't really work for me in my current position as mom of four/homeschooler of a jr. higher/preschool co-op teacher/wife.  i hesitate to even type the word "depressed" because of how often that pesky word gets thrown around anytime things aren't happy, happy, happy.
but here's the thing.  i want to sleep.  alot.
here's the other thing.  i don't feel good. all.  my stomach goes between feeling fine and feeling queasy all throughout the day.  every day.  and this vertigo thing that i have going is not working for me either.
and i wonder...are these physical symptoms getting me down???  or am i having physical symptoms because i'm down?  it's hard to tell.
but i do know one thing.  when you want to go back to bed every morning after you get the kids to school, there's a problem.  and when you don't want to eat anything...there's a problem.  and when you get dizzy every time you close your eyes for the assembly prayer...there's a problem.
i'm gonna need to fix this.  stat.  because this lack of energy...lack of personality...lack of excitement thing is just. not. working. for. me.
so...what to do?
i've gone to the doctor before for vertigo and they didn't find anything.  and it went away after a while.  so should i assume it will go away again?
and i've gone to the doctor before about the stomach issues...but they don't really know and just end up suggesting a colonoscopy. thanks.
i'm not really taking care of myself.  i do know that.  i haven't worked out at the gym since october.  i haven't had soccer practice since we all got busy in the fall.  so...the only exercise i'm getting is 1 soccer game a week.  plus...i'm not eating right.  plus...i'm staying up late at night because that's the only time i get to myself.  plus...i'm being lazy about housework...which always gets me in a funk.  i'm not drinking water.  i'm not taking pictures. i'm not even inspired to write like i usually am.  and i don't get to see any friends very often...nor talk to them much anymore.  it's not like i never laugh or that i'm never happy or that i'm shuffling around the house in my bathrobe (although it would be okay if i was)'s just that i don't feel like me.  i can't even get a good song and kitchen dance party going these days.
i don't know if all of this is what depression is...because i've never really struggled with it before...but i do know it's something.  and i don't like it.
am i suffering from a case of "comparing my normal days to everyone else's highlight reel?
i know that this all seems pretty different than what i normally write about...but don't you think it's important to be honest?  i mean...why would i try to be something i'm not??  what good would that even do anybody?  certainly i don't expect anyone else to always have the world by a string.  so why should i expect that of myself?
so there.  i said it.  i feel yuck.  and i'm not happy about it.
do with it what you will.
except don't read this one post and think you know everything about me and send it to the church staff as a "mindy needs prayer" plea.  because i may have to beat you down if you do that.  (you've been fairly warned.)
see?????  i'm even being kinda bitchy!!
today, i had coffee with my 12 year old. 

and i think our mugs fit our current emotional states perfectly.
mine:  meticulosity - extreme attention to detail.
his:  pococurante - nonchalant

and that made me happy.
it really is the little things.

Friday, January 18, 2013

do those things pull horse trailers?

welp...from what i can tell, there is something wrong with blogger at the moment that translates to no uploading of pictures until they get it figured out.
we are gonna have quite the backlog.
so...remember when i was talking about learning my lesson about feeling like i need more and better and all that stuff with the sink?  well...apparently, the good Lord didn't think i had learned enough.  because...this past weekend was a doozie of another go-round.
we've been needing to get a new (used) vehicle for the last 6 months or so.  we are literally driving this van into the ground.  i drew the line at driving it when i loaded all 4 kids in it to go see Santa this year and the entire head liner fell down on top of us on the freeway.  we are now "those people."  you know?  the one's who thumb tack the fabric back to the roof of their car???  that's us.  although...i think we used little screw tacks...instead of thumb tacks.  but...that's really not much better. 
so...our plan was to get me and the kids something to drive around town, while chad takes the suburban to and from work.  that way...we still have the ole' burban to take on trips...but i am not tanking around in a monstrosity, gas guzzler anymore.
we have been talking and talking and looking and looking and finally...FINALLY...chad agreed to trip it on down to carmax this past saturday.  we knew we had to buy used and we trusted carmax to not sell us some clanker that had previously been state of our van.
we thought we had narrowed it down to a chevy traverse.  but while i was test driving the just didn't feel like me.  now.  this is when chad rolls his eyes and says token things like, "beggars can't be choosers"...but it just didn't!!!  and i can't help it.
it didn't help that the salesman kept saying...
"oh've got four kids...this is definitely a soccer mom's car!!"
i just kinda smiled and kept looking at the car...trying to talk myself into thinking that it really could be me.  it really could be my car.  "does it look like a minivan???" i kept asking.
we were pretty close to settling on a black one...(because black ups the cool points on those types of cars)...when i decided that i needed to look over the different colors one more time.  maybe white would seem more like me.
we were walking up and down the rows of the lot...the salesman, my husband and i...when i swear i heard the Lord whisper...
"honda pilot."
so i blurted out,
"do you have a honda pilot????  i just think i need to look at a honda pilot."
the salesman began scurrying around...looking for a pilot.  i quickly followed behind him thinking..."please be white.  please be white.  please be white."
and there it was.
a 2012 white, honda pilot.  it was beautiful.  i got in it and it was as if the heavens parted and 48 angels began singing the hallelujah chorus as a celestial light shone down on the car.
"this is it" i confidently stated.
"this is my car."
so...long story, short...chad bought me the car.
poor guy.  he didn't tell me that it was 10,000 over budget once you added in tax, title, licence, loan...and whatever else you add.  i swear they start charging you for using the bathroom while in the establishment.  " walked down that hallway????  that'll be and extra 4 thou."
i was as excited as a kid at disney world.
i did a happy dance in the parking lot.
i did a happy dance in the guy's office.
i may or may not have hugged perfect strangers.
i drove my car home in giddy contentment.
the next morning...after dreaming all night about my perfect new car...i groggily opened my eyes and chad was standing next to the bed.  i'm pretty sure he had been there all night long...waiting for me to wake up.
this is what i heard,
"babe.  do you think we did the right thing?  i mean, buying that car??"
i flipped over happily...
fast forward.
after praying and talking and stomping around like a 3 year old...we agreed that we had to take it back.
that's when the conversation happened.
the saleman kept trying to talk me into a minivan.
and i kept saying, "I DON'T WANT A MINIVAN."
chad kept saying..."but this doesn't even look like a minivan."
and the saleman kept saying, "your a soccer mom."
and then chad brought out the big guns.
"this car can't be an "idol" for you.  i mean, what is your big problem with driving a minivan????  a lot of people happily drive a minivan.  is it pride????"
i thought for a second.  i really thought.  is it pride???
this is how i answered:
"chad.  i need you to hear me.  people dress a certain way.  right?  people dress in a way that represents them.  i wouldn't go buy an expensive pant suit because that doesn't represent my personality.  people decorate their houses in a way that represents them.  i do that.  you do that.  i am not the mom who puts team stickers on the back of my car with my kids names on them or the little stick figures of the dad, mom, and four kids.  i will probably never be that mom.  i am not a soccer mom.  i am a mom who plays soccer.  i am most comfortable and find joy in when the tiniest detail of my wardrobe or home decor represents who i really am.  i find joy in my horse charm on my bracelet and my beach wood candle on my cabinet.  i love to feel at home in my environment.  and a car is no different.  if we are going to spend thousands of dollars on a vehicle that i am going to drive over the next 10 years...i want to love it.  it doesn't have to be brand new.  it doesn't have to be expensive.  but i am not a minivan kinda girl.  and that should be ok."
"i hear you" he said.
"and you're right.  you are not a minivan girl...and that is ok.  let's be patient.  we'll find it."
**** farmhouse sink.
and no honda pilot in the driveway.  for now...anyway.
and it should be said...that if God tells me he wants me driving a minivan...i'll do it.  and i'll be okay with it.
do those things pull horse trailers??

Monday, January 14, 2013

12 years ago...

this weekend has been a series of ups and downs...a perfect representation of real life.
but last night, we celebrated this kid.
he turns 12 years old 10:28am to be exact.
i remember that day...12 years ago, today.  i remember it like it was yesterday.
and this day...the day he turns 12...the first day of the last year before he is a teenager...was the furthest thing from my mind.  but here it is.  and it's hard to put into words how it feels.  certainly there is pride in the growth over these last 12 years:  the physical...the emotional... and most importantly, the spiritual.  and when birthdays roll around, the common thought is,
"what can i do for him?  what can i get for him?  what will make him feel special?  what will make him feel celebrated?  what will make him feel loved?
so...we ask.
"what do you want for your birthday?  what do you want to do to celebrate?  who do you want to be there?  what do you want to eat?  what kind of cake?"
this year...his answer was different.
my questions were met by, what seemed like, indifference.  and i was sad.  and i, somehow took this personally.
"what do you mean you don't want anything????  why don't you want to celebrate with us????  there is NOTHING that you would like????  we all love you and want to celebrate with you...and you're acting like you don't care!!!  don't you realize that this is the last birthday of true childhood for you????  don't you realize what this means to me????  i have done my best to make every birthday so special for you and now you don't want me to?"
geeeesh.  only i could make his desires for his 12th birthday celebration about me.
so...we talked.
and he shared his heart with me.
and i finally understood what he was saying.
"i have too much,"  he said.
"i don't need anything.  and i don't want money wasted.  i feel like i would rather do something for someone else," he explained.
"i want people to give me money.  and then i want to take that money and do something with it for people who need it more than me.  i think of the kids in the hospital that are sick...and i think of the homeless people who live on the street...and i think how unfair it is.  and then i think that i don't want anything else for myself.  i have too much.  and they don't have anything."
and with that...his eyes welled with tears that threatened to spill over onto his cheeks.
i looked into the eyes of my first born child with wonder and amazement...just like i did 12 years ago after they swaddled him and placed him in my arms for our first, quiet moments together.  i fell hard for him.  again.
and last night, we celebrated simply.  aiden made him a homemade card that had two of her carefully pressed and folded five dollar bills in it...the only money she had wadded in her hiding place.  my parents gave him money with generous and humbled hearts.  and i lit 12 candles on his cake.  and at our simple celebration with family...where the only gift given to him was money to donate where he chooses...i realized why i had wanted to give him a gift so bad.
maybe...just maybe...if i could give him the perfect gift...and the perfect would somehow pay him back for the gift he gave me 12 years ago.
12 years ago...he made me a mother.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

she was alright. and so was i.

tonight was one of those nights.  the kind where 8:00 rolls around and you've asked kids to please go brush their teeth and get in bed 3 different times and you walk into a room to find one of them jumping on the couch and one of them watching disney channel while another is trying to get the little mermaid going in the dvd player.  the fourth would notice all of this if he wasn't busy begging to watch another duck dynasty episode.
UK came over for dinner and was patiently sitting in my grandad's chair...waiting for the chaos to come to a halt.  an adult conversation is hard to come by in this house.
chalk it up to potty training...the busy schedule back in effect...or chad being out of town.  again.  or the fact that i'm wearing a menstrual pad the size of texas...(okay...sorry dad.  you really didn't need to hear about that.)  but i was done.  my patience was gone.
after i got them brushed and combed and had effectively lost control when i saw the state of chase's room...i took some deep breaths and told myself that if i didn't simmer down and tuck them in and tell them how much i loved a patient way...not in a i'm-in-a-hurry-to-get-outa-here way...i'd regret it.
so...i walked into aiden's room.  she had a tear in her left eye.  and her voice was shaky.  i sat down on her bed and asked her what was wrong?
she sniffled and showed me her hershey bear's left arm.
"she has a hole in her shoulder."
i took her into my hands and examined her injury.
i said, "would you like for me to stitch her up?"
she nodded yes.
and then said, "but i can't sleep without her."
i smiled and reasoned, "why don't you sleep with him tonight and then i can take him into surgery tomorrow."
she smiled and said, "ok."
we then talked about how we got her hershey from cracker barrel when aiden was 2.  it was close to valentine's day and she smelled like chocolate.  so we named her hershey.  she has loved her ever spite of the fact that i still call her "him."
"she's a girl, mom!!!!"
then she told me that she was scared to sleep in her room because she always heard car doors closing outside her window.  i thought for a second...and then looked into her soft, gray eyes, pausing at the freckles that are splashed across her sweet nose.
"what if when you hear a car door day dream a happy story about them?  like....maybe....the car door is for our teenage neighbor girl. is a boy coming to pick her up for a date."
she giggled.
"he's so nervous.  and his mom and dad have taught him how to open the door for her.  so...he's finally pulled up to her house and he is super jittery walking to her door right now.  and then imagine him knocking on her door and her dad answering it and her shyly walking to greet him.  and then the next car door you hear is probably him closing her door for her after he's talked to her parents for a while and escorted her to his car.  and then you can imagine where they are going on their date!  a movie?  out to dinner?  a school dance or a game?"
she nodded ok and she turned to put her sleepy arm across hershey to snuggle in for the night...and for her happy daydreams ahead.
i turned moon river on and let the music play as i kissed her forehead goodnight.
i read the poem that i framed for each of them for christmas this year and hung by their beds.  she completed each phrase for me.

and she was alright.  and so was i.  because i knew i hadn't let my own impatience steal those moments from her and i.  it's a lesson i hope to remember next time.  because next time always shows up.
when i went back to check on her later tonight...i noticed how tattered and worn her little bear is...where he had been tucked under her sleeping body...every night...for so many years.  and it finally occured to me why i have a weakness for dolls and stuffed animals.  chad often rolls his eyes and practically states, "like we need another stuffed animal" if i happen to come home with another orphan, soft animal that was practically begging me from it's store shelf to bring it home with me.  but i'm telling you the truth...
you never know when one will become "the" one...
the one they just can't sleep without.
i still have mine.

Monday, January 07, 2013

from this day forward...

dissatisfaction is such a joy stealer.  or as they would say on duck dynasty...
"OY" stealer.
i keep hearing a phrase being thrown around these days to sorta put people in their place...or maybe more so to put situations in their place.
"first world problems"
i've even said it myself.  although it is starting to really irritate me.
however...even though something is a "first world problem" as most of our daily problems are...i find myself thinking that the real first world problem is dissatisfaction.  or a lack of contentment.
case in point.
i have been wanting a new kitchen faucet.  you know...the kind that arches up and you can pull the whole faucet part out and spray stuff?  and i wanted it to be the oil rubbed bronze...not the shiny silver that everyone has.  i had been at honey's house and commented on how much i liked hers...and that sweet woman gave us one for christmas.  i was super excited and i couldn't wait to hook it all up.  (or have my dad hook it all up would be a more accurate way of putting it.)
so...the other, dad, and UK were over watching the texans game and we got the new faucet out.
someone made the innocent comment, "i'm not sure this dark faucet is gonna look good with this stainless steel sink."
and that did it.
for the last two days i've been obsessing that i need a new sink to match my new faucet.  and not just any sink...but upon further sink research...i've decided that i need a copper farmhouse sink.  it would be the perfect mate to my new faucet.
however...those things aren't cheap.  and certainly not in our budget.  and not even close to a say...a new vehicle is.
so that's where the sudden dissatisfaction snuck it's way into my heart and mind.  now...i can't just be excited and happy with my cool, new faucet from my grandmother without thinking about how much i now hate my sink.
i'd say this is the definition of a first world problem.  however...more deeply in the is a contentment problem.
am i really gonna let something so trivial waste my brain space?  how many more minutes...or hours...or days am i gonna allow to be stolen from my children because i am looking online at farmhouse sinks?  which let's go ahead and say will quickly become new cabinets and a new, cool pantry door.  dissatisfaction and a lack of contentment are sneaky like that.
so here i am...officially and hereby declaring that henceforth...(and all that stuff)...i will no longer be dissatisfied with my perfectly good sink.  and i will proudly mount my new, dark faucet from my grandmother...(more accurately have my dad do it)...and love it from this day forward.
and i will stop that pesky dissatisfaction demon in his tracks.  and dis-invite him to the party in my heart and mind.  and look at first world problems for what they really are.
so there.
this conversation happened last night in the car...on the way home from a day spent at my parent's house.
ANNSLEE:  "mom?  where's dad?"
ME:  "daddy's in cuba."
COLT:  "i really miss him."
ME:  "i miss him too."
ANNSLEE:  "i want to see my daddy now."
so chad...if you're reading this...we really miss you.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

new happy year

while uploading my pictures...i typed in the date, using 2013 for the first time.  i'm trying to be inspired to embrace the new year and celebrate all of the miraculous moments that it will indeed hold...but it can't really be done by lighting a new candle or hanging a new picture on the wall.  that works for clean the house inspiration.  but, saying goodbye to last year takes pulling out the big guns.  it is somehow harder for me this time.  it's coupled with the kids growing in stature and maturity, certainly.  it's the knowledge that the school year will be coming to a close after just one semester...and that means that i will have a 7th grader, a 5th grader, a 3rd grader, and a little someone going on 4.  it's my grandmother getting another year older in the coming month.  it's time.  gone.
i think that's my favorite part about this journal/picture album in my own little corner of the magical, web world.  at least it's proof.  it's proof that he actually said "that," and that she really did believe "that," and that he thought "that" and she really was that little and wore those old, red sandals.  i don't have to completely let it go.  i don't have to really say goodbye.
the last of the christmas magic is officially over.  we drove all through the night last night and pulled into our driveway early this morning.  we walked into our waiting home.  it had a chill to it.  a chill that suggested that no one had been living here...that it was lonely with just a roaming cat...and that it missed us.  the kids did what they do when we re-enter our lives after a long trip.  they run from room to room, reacquainting themselves with sweet, stuffed bunnies, superheros, and babies that were left behind.  they hit the wii like nobody's business.  they are content.
i usually get right down to business...putting away clothes and toothbrushes and cleaning so that all evidence that we we gone fades away and life resumes seamlessly and painlessly.  but this time, on this particular morning, i layed down on the couch...covered myself with 2 soft blankets until our heat warmed our home...and drifted off to sleep.  i'm pretty sure i said goodbye to the holidays in my dreams, and vividly revisited some of my favorite parts of 2012.  and when i woke up...i was ready.
i'll tuck away this passed year as i tuck away freshly washed vacation clothes.

i'll clean up what's un-kept in my mind as i get the kitchen functioning.

and i'll get us all prepared to start back to school in the last 3 days of our long anticipated vacation.

because i'm a mother.  and that's what mothers do.  i have to be good at helping our kids feel and celebrate and say goodbye and start fresh.  i have to comfort the little one who's lower lip quivers when she says she's not ready for the year to be over. i have to work through the sadness of great being over and the fear of the unexpected and unknown being ahead, because they feel it too.  they may not know how to express it...but it's undoubtedly there.  it's there in the form of tears, and anger, and temperamental attitudes.  and since i have felt it too...and had to make my own inspiration to start the new with a smile and a twinkle in my eye...maybe i can teach them how to as well.
happy 2013.
there.  i just typed it for the second time.
and it was a little easier than the first.