Monday, October 26, 2009

a foggy Monday

It actually is not foggy outside, though the fog has started early this year.  I will admit that my title of a foggy day is not literal, but figurative.  I have a foggy brain, things are not as clear as I feel they should be.

So instead of trying to make sense while typing, I will post a couple pictures.  Ayla looked so cute yesterday with her boots that I simply had to take a picture:

I love it!  I think this might be one of my very favorite pictures of her so far.  It can go next to Taylor's school picture.  Did everyone get to see that?  Yes?  Oh but you want to see it again?  Of course!  

They are getting so big.  

My kids make me happy.  I just can't help but smile when I see such cute pictures!   Of course they are pretty cute right now too, as they sit together in their PJ's watching Super Why so mama can have a cup of coffee and write on her blog, fuzzy as her brain might be. 

I hate the feeling of living only to wait.  But I am not sure how to break out of it.  At the moment it feels like everything is on hold until we can move.  I still have not let myself get emotionally attached to our house, I am scared to.  There have already been too many glitches and I worry for more to come.  Last we heard they were still shooting for ending escrow on November 20th - but that the seller said he is "still pretty sure we can close by November 30th" which is driving us insane.    Does that mean there is a chance we wont?  Do we need to change our move out day AGAIN?  Will we have time to once we know for sure when closing will actually take place?  When do we start packing?  A week before the 20th?  Two weeks?  That day since we have been hearing all of this last minute?  We were set for moving on the 7th and had tons of help to do, with moving the week of Thanksgiving (or after) it looks like we may be doing a lot of this on our own.  But honestly, I would rather try to do it alone then wait (and pay for) another couple weeks here. 

That, coupled with a little one who is still not sleeping well (and her attitude reflects her lack of sleep) is why I am living in a perpetual fog.  No amount of coffee will lift it.  The gym helps a lot, but I don't have a car most days since we are down to one now.  And saying "let's go to the gym" sparks a huge tantrum from Taylor on getting there ("I don't want to go to the gym!!!") and on coming home ("I"m not done playing yet!!")  Ah well, God give me strength to make it through this season. 

Perhaps I need a list, that always helps with the fog.  First thing I need to accomplish today is laundry.  I discovered yesterday that the bags of extra clothes I was storing out on the patio got soaked in the rain a couple weeks ago...and never dried.  I think I might have gotten one bag fully cleaned, but at least 1/3 of the clothes in it are ruined due to stains.  And even after several full washes with tons of oxy-clean and half a bottle of vinegar they still smell a little mildewy.

Second on my list is to go room to room and try to get things a little better Ayla proofed.  I feel like every other word out of my mouth lately is "Ayla, don't touch that!" It is not fair to her, or to I and it is certainly not good for our relationship.  The house is in such dis-array since we were a week and a half away from moving when it got pushed foreword a month.  So I somehow need to figure out how to organize and put things away before I take it all apart again. 

I apologize everyone, this is by far the most boring and depressing blog I have ever written.  Say a prayer the house will go through faster then anyone could have hoped, and that Ayla gives mom and dad a break and some sleep. 

This too will pass...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from an Elephant

For those of you who have never been to my house - the elephant I am speaking of is a actually a jungle gym.  It followed my Wonderful Husband home one day, and of course he promptly asked "Can I keep him?!?"  One look at that steel trunk and how could I say no? 

The kids love him - oh his name is "Racky" for those of you whom I know will ask.  Taylor named him.  But enough explanation - on to what he has taught me in his time at my house:

When you climb the Elephant there is a rule.  No one helps you unless your life is in danger.  You must climb alone.  Mom and dad are close in case you need help (look carefully in the picture and you will see dad hiding behind Taylor) but you MUST climb without help.  Ayla actually just really started climbing this last weekend. She went from barely being able to get past the bottom rung to making it all the way to the top all on her own. (Could we expect anything less from her?) Taylor had trouble following the first rule of the elephant when it came to her sister.  She wanted to hold her hand, help her to learn to climb - but we as the adults knew that if a three year old weighing in at barely 30 lbs (if that) helps her one year old sister (coming in at close to 25lbs) then most likely both will fall.  It felt to be a spiritual lesson.  Don't we want to hold the hand of those around us?  Be it a "seasoned" mother giving parenting advice to one just starting out, an experienced home-owner telling one who is looking what they "HAVE" to do/say/find; a Christian guiding one they believe to be following the wrong path, I could go on and I am sure you could too.  But no matter how well intentioned the "help" may be, without a parent (or God) close by, the chance of hurt can actually increase.  


Now please understand, I know it is not always this way.  For instance, Ayla does not want help on the Elephant at all.  From a sister, from a parent, from anyone!  She thinks she can do it all herself, she is wrong.  Yes, she is pretty good at climbing up - but she is incapable of getting down safely on her own.  Just as important a lesson as doing things ourselves when we need too, and maybe even harder to accept, is taking help when we truly need it.  We all have been there.  Be it help from God, from a parent, from a friend or trusted spiritual leader, we all need it on a pretty regular basis and we must learn to swallow our pride (or the urge to kick and scream "I want to do it ALL BY MYSELF") and take the hand that is offered.  Trust me, it hurts a lot more if we refuse the hand, fall and have to be caught (hitting one or two bars on the way down) and we will most likely come out of that will bumps and bruises.  

Now, Taylor is very good at climbing the elephant.  We don't even have to be close by anymore.  She still falls every so often, but from the beginning Daddy would remind her to always keep three points of contact and she is very good at that.  So if she falls, she catches herself pretty quick and has not gotten hurt in a long time.   From this I have learned that in life we need to be holding on tight - to God, to family and friends, to our our "lives" and to our unique selves...but there is one other thing.  One very important thing.  You see, I listed four things.  We have two hands, two feet.  Those are our points of contact.  If all four are in constant contact - we will not ever go anywhere.  We may be safe, we may feel secure and sturdy...but we wont ever move and because of that, I will argue that God cannot use us.  I will look at the four things again; God must remain steady.  Without Him there is nothing at all.  But the three other things, friends and family, self, the things we consider "our lives" - sometimes we have to let go for a moment.  It is hard, sometimes physically painful to give up that security, that control.  But in order to move, to ultimately be where God wants us to be, we have to be willing to let go.  When we need him, the hand will be there waiting for us to hold onto. 


Climbing the elephant is fun, it is dangerous, it takes skill and energy.  Because of these rules my kids have gotten balance, security, self-control and strength.  I love the elephant as a backyard toy (and not just because they are tired when they are done!) but because it also gives me peace as a parent.  I have seen them climb, stood next to them to make sure they are steady.  This means when we are at the park I can give them a little more freedom knowing they will catch themselves if they fall.  Knowing that they have the skills they need for safety, for fun and for life (as a toddler that is).  Once we show these skills in life (balance, security, self-control, strength) then we are also ready for a little more freedom.  But funny this freedom - we now know the risks we don't need to take.  The fear is gone for that which we are supposed to do, but we also recognize when something is beyond our skill and is meant for another.  We can set our own boundaries, we can lead and others can safely follow because we have the strength to catch those that follow us if they fall - as long as we still are holding on with our God hand.   

Oooh I smell a poopy one.  Dirty diaper here I come to destroy you!!  Come on, I have to find adventure somewhere right?  If I have a chance I may write more later - never got beyond my theological rambling today.  So until next time, heed the lessons of the elephant - after all, elephants never forget!

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12th and counting...

How long does it take to pack up a house?  A week? Two weeks?  A month? More?  Should I have started already?  Technically we have yet to send in our 30 day notice so technically, even if we get keys to our new house in two weeks we still have 30 days until we have to be entirely out of this one.  So why do I have zero motivation?  I think it is a believing/trusting thing - until I have the keys in my hand and have signed all the paperwork, I still can't entirely believe that we have a house and the whole "house shopping" ordeal is over.  Too many times we were disappointed.  But that is not a good excuse to not do anything period! 

I think I need a list - that usually helps. what needs doing? 

It seems pointless to write "1. pack up living room 2. pack up bedroom, etc."  So where do I start?  I could start by cleaning.  But as those of you who have or have had toddlers know, something cleaned rarely stays that way longer then 1/2 hour at most.  I could work to organize and purge un-needed items.  But most of the un-needed items in this house have my husbands name applied to them and I don't dare touch those things.  After all - if I throw anything away, that is inviting Murphy to come along and ask specifically for that item within the week.  I don't want to be responsible for angering Murphy, he has too much power!  Organizing is also a difficult task while toddlers are in tow.  Inevitably blocks, baby dolls and perhaps a bra or two Ayla has stolen from a drawer will get packed along with whatever I am attempting to organize. Then we are back at square one where there are tears for lost toys and I am looking unusually deflated.  You can't successfully organize while deflated, it isn't possible.  It's true, look it up.

So my list has fallen flat.  Perhaps I need to come at this from another angle.  As the book I am currently reading often states "you must think on the solution and not on the problem if you wish to come up with a answer"  or something to that effect.  Alright - the solution is to have everything unpacked, and for us to be moved entirely into our new house...or is that the end goal?  I am confused!

I think I need another cup of coffee, hang on one moment............................................................................
................................................Ah!  Much better.

Ok!  Now I am ready to take on my day.  First off?  Breakfast for kids and dressed for the day.  Next?  A walk, I always feel better after going for a walk.  Then I will make my list.  I may go room by room and see if I can make a prioritized packing list based on what I can do now, what I can do a week or so ahead of time and what needs to wait until the few days before.   Is this bad?  I need a list before I can make a list?  I think I have a problem!  Then we will have lunch...what should we eat for lunch?  I should put some bread on so we have that in case I need it.  Ok - mind just went blank.  And I was doing so good!  Perhaps that means I need to focus on what I have so far and the rest will fall into place.  This might take all day anyhow. 

On to my children!  What have I learned from Taylor this week?  That cleaning, especially cleaning on her own, is a medieval torture method.  We have tried making it into a pretend game, we have tried rewards, we have tried punishments.  Am I missing something?  It is an out and out battle each and every time.  Anyone have any ideas?  What has worked for your toddlers?  I know that some of it will come in time.  But I am sorry - when there are 4 blocks on the ground YOU DO NOT NEED HELP!  Not getting help results in hysterics and tears and eventually leading to losing toys that are not cleaned up or being isolated until she chooses to do as she is asked.  I know it is a power struggle, and I am proud to state that she has ended up cleaning each and every time regardless of the tactics she chooses to use to get out of it.   But it is usually a very long ordeal and we are both exhausted after.  This needs to change, I just have to find a way....we tend to go through stages.  For a few weeks she will be pretty compliant.  Obeying the majority of the time and rarely needing any sort of punishment.  Then the testing stage starts.  We get about a week or so of multiple tantrums a day...sometimes an hour.  She is hard to live with and the two of us are at odds almost constantly.  Then, I guess once she has learned I am not to be manipulated we go back to another peaceful spell.  Well, we are on day three of a testing period.  I wonder how long it will last this time?

On to a nicer subject, Pumpkins!

We went with Taylor's pre-school to the pumpkin patch last Monday! Her friends were there which she LOVED.  Both girls were in heaven and I could not have asked for a better morning.  Lots of space to run around, friends and of course, lots and lots of PUMPKINS!

The corn box was amazing.  It made me want to create one - though I was thinking that dried beans might be easier to get and would work just as well.  Perhaps we will create one someday, doesn't seem too complicated.  We would just need LOTS of beans and a way to make sure they stay water/bug proof. 


Taylor chose a pumpkin pretty quickly.  A very cute one with lots of promise for a nice jack-lantern in a few weeks!  On the way home, holding back tears she clutched her beloved pumpkin and shared with me her fears of it "getting decayed"   I promised her that it would not get decayed until we could make it into a face.  And after that we could bury it in the ground so it could turn back to dirt, just like her pumpkin last year.  She was ok with this - perhaps we will have a pumpkin graveyard/growing patch in the new house so "decayed" pumpkins always have a nice home. 

Ayla enjoyed the pumkins.  But also loved the fact that she was able to eat as much dirt as she wanted.   Taylor LOVED the hay ride.  Her face was a picture of sheer joy the whole time.  Sadly I couldn't get a picture of that since I was holding an Ayla who was clinging on for dear life!  She was not so sure of this thing moving under her.

Goodness!  Almost 9:30.  My poor patient children have had nothing but milk so far this morning!  Off to create a masterful breakfast of yogurt and banana's.  Love you all and say a quick prayer our house process will continue to move along smoothly.  So far so good - I feel so blessed and can't wait to move!