Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jack of all trades

We recently joined a small little church here in Indy called Indy Alliance. It's a hip little church with no more than fifty people all between the ages of 20 and 40. We sing old hymns by candlelight and get upset when Christianity is too closely tied to right wing politics. Oh, and everyone gardens! Really, literally, everyone.
I love how quaint gardening is, and I love the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables. We had dinner over at one couple's home and she made almost everything with ingredients from her garden. Delicious! So, of course, I begin dreaming of my own little garden. Nothing too big. Just some tomato plants maybe some potatoes maybe a cucumber or two.
Then the picture of our tomato plant from this year creeps into my head. We were given a little sapling from my friend Carrie. She had too many. I bought a topsy turvy tomato hanger and some soil. I planted it, and then realized there was no where to hang it. It got thrown onto the porch table until my father-in-law came home with a shepherd's hook. The hook fell over after we would water because the plant weighed too much. The plant was again thrown on the table. Mother Nature watered it for a month, and the plant did its best to grow towards the sun. Then August came and even Mother nature neglected it.
Here is my point. I have four kids. I have a photography business. I'm taking time to write this blog. I have no more time left. Becoming the Jack of all trades isn't feasible. I'm not going to be able to grow and can my own food, sew funky clothes, be the coupon queen, cook awesome meals, knit sweaters, take awesome photos, make my own laundry soap, make my own baby food, cloth diaper my children, write witty blog posts, lead children in fun learning activities, bake, etc, etc, etc. Most of these things I have tried in the past. The cloth diapering lasted as long as we could afford the service that picked up the dirty diapers and dropped clean ones off. The crocheting lasted about three rows into a scarf for Julian. The tomato plant attempt above was my third try at growing tomatoes.
I do take good photos, though. I do write witty blog posts. I do make awesome meals. Well, according to my daughter, I'm a food genius. This blog is to remind me to leave the gardening to all those hipsters at my church.

The Social Network

Earlier this month, Stephen won some tickets to see Social Network, a movie about Facebook. Besides having a fabulous time with our friends, the Dilleys, I was prompted by this movie to blog about Facebook. Have you ever heard anyone say that Facebook was a waste of time? or that they were taking a break from Facebook in order to focus on more important things? I've heard quite a few people say this, and every time, I can feel myself become defensive. Because I like Facebook!

I joined just after I quit American Funds and began staying home with my two kiddos, and, truthfully, it's been a big part of helping me stay sane and happy as a stay at home mom. Stephen and I have only one car. I take him to work twice a week. In those two days I do all my schleping; grocery shopping, piano lessons, MOPS, library, playgroup, miscellaneous errands, doctor's appointments, etc. In the three days I don't have the car, I am a bonafide STAY AT HOME mom. That means that I don't see or interact with any other adults from 9am-6pm (not wholeheartedly true right now while I'm living with the in-laws). Except.... on Facebook.

Now some of you might say that you don't have time to interact with others. You have too much to do managing a house and parenting children. That's true, there is always work to be done. My house could always use some cleaning (my car, too!). My kids are usually in need of my attention.
Reading another blog today, I found the perfect way to describe what Facebook provides for me. It is my water cooler. Even full time working men and women get a little bit of time to interact with others during the day. Facebook is my way. So here's to technology and to 20 somethings changing the world and to mother's of small children staying sane.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Staycation 2010

Our vacation to the beach didn't happen this year. We stayed at home waiting for Maggie to arrive. In an attempt to fill our need for a vacation, I sort of planned a "staycation". The idea was on my mind for awhile, the planning kind of happened last minute, but what's new there. I thought we would head down to Bloomington to see Alex & Meagan. Stephen's mom was given a free night at a hotel in Seymour that she blessed us with. The hotel was new, had a breakfast bar and an indoor pool. Julian told us, literally twenty times, that he didn't want to leave "this place" and wanted to stay "six nights". This staycation ultimately included swimming, mask making, pizza eating, street walking, uphill hiking, bed jumping, and a little bit of kite flying. It was pleasant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Julian is four!

Julian is four. He loves super heroes, his baby sister Maggie Lu, LEGOS, STAR WARS, tortellini, playing with his cousin Gabe, jumping on people and jumping off tall objects, making Schroeder laugh, reading any book having to do with Halloween, going to Grandma & Grandpa's house, Mario Party, snuggling with Mommy, eating toast for breakfast, playing outside with D'arcy, stealing sips of mommy's mountain dew, Woody & Buzz, playing on daddy's iTouch, and Cowboy Boots.
He is slowly embracing the idea of learning his letters so that he can one day read those STAR WARS books that look so exciting at the bookstore. He attends MOPS with me twice a month and Mom's Day Out once a week. I'm told that he is a good talker for his age. You might think he's never met a stranger until the moment when he gets shy, lowers his face, and hides behind me which happens on occasion. I love when he comes into my room, finds Maggie, touches her face and says "I love you. You are so precious." This happens at least twice a day.
In the past year he learned to ride a bike, and amazingly stopped sucking his thumb...cold turkey. He's a big boy, but sometimes we forget that he's not quite as big as D'arcy.
I'm so thankful for the four years of hugging and loving him, and look forward to watching him grow and learn and turn five!

When in doubt, stick your tongue out!


Monday, October 11, 2010

How to take a family portrait with four kids six and under.

Here's my recipe for taking a family portrait with four kids six and under. Go to your quaint local ice cream shop. Dress everyone in their favorite graphic tee. Set up the tripod and ask your brother-in-law (thanks Jason) to press the shutter button. Give everyone (not the six week old) an ice cream cone. Enjoy your cones.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I was telling Stephen the other night that at that moment I felt most connected and attached to Schroeder. It's easy to connect with Schroeder because he's just down right cute 95% of the time. He is currently in my favorite stage. The "I talk but I don't talk back" stage. My interactions with him mostly consist of cuddling him when he's taken a tumble and revelling in his newest life discovery.

Maggie is mostly a lump. We are still in bonding mode, still getting to know each other. I take care of her basic physical needs, marvel at her smallness, and try to get glimpses of her emerging personality.

D'arcy and Julian aren't babies anymore. They require two moms. The mom who instructs and inevitably disciplines and the mom who steals a moment away from molding them and just enjoys them for who and what they are at that moment, silly, innocent, dirty, etc. I have to be the molding mom and the loving mom. And while I understand the importance of both, I find it difficult to be both.

What's my worst flaw as a mother? Well, I never seem to have wipes on hand. Ask anyone who has offered to change my child's diaper (mom, sister, etc.) Even if I buy them they seem to be in the other room, out in the car instead of in my purse, or just dry as a bone. I would be feeling pretty good about myself if this was my worst flaw.

Nope, In my assessment, my worst flaw is that I yell. Yelling can be effective when your kid is heading down the driveway towards the street, you know, when you need to get their attention quickly. I yell at those times, but I also yell when a quiet, stern bit of instruction would be more effective. It's not only that I yell but also what I yell. One of the things I've found myself saying in recent years is "What part of _______________ (fill in previous instructions) did you not understand?" When I look at my kids faces afterwards, I've thought, well I might as well just have told them they're stupid.

The other night while eating dinner, my daughter came over to me and said, "Mommy". tap tap tap "Mommy". tap tap tap "Mommy". tap tap tap....
All while I was trying to listen to the conversation that Stephen was having with his parents, Julian was babbling about something, and Schroeder was whining about eating his dinner. After the forth "Mommy", I turned to her and yelled, "STOP SAYING MY NAME!"

Everyone in the room fell silent. I expect to get some sympathy from all of you moms out there who have heard that word one too many times in a given day. D'arcy fell quiet, and I reminded her that she should say my name once and then wait patiently for me to turn my attention to her. We've been over this. She apologized.

Later that night, I felt sad that I had spoken to her that way. I went upstairs to take one last look at my sleeping kids. It's easy to enjoy them when they are asleep. Their angelic side is so easily found when they are lying still. I gave D'arcy's still chubby cheeks a kiss.

When she came into our room the next morning, the first thing I did was apologize. D'arcy's beauty is so apparent every time I apologize because she is so quick to forgive. She gave me a hug, and I realized how easy it was to connect to my kids. It simply takes an I love you or an I'm sorry.

So that's my game plan for being a mommy of four. I'm going to try to keep track of four "molding agendas", try to execute them with a minimal amount of yelling, try to steal a moment to let them know I enjoy them (messy face and all), and throw in an I'm sorry when I inevitably screw up. Check in with me in twenty years to see how it works out.