Friday, June 27, 2014

TToT32: After the Storm

By my husband's calculations, I have slept 26 of the last 48 hours. Since I refuse to calculate sleep hours and prefer to operate based on how well-rested I feel (not quite there yet, but on my way), I cannot verify his calculations. Plus, I think they are somewhat influenced by his bitterness in not sleeping as much, and he's unaware of the hour or two I read blog posts in the middle of every night because I seem to no longer be able to sleep straight through any longer. But I will say I have slept a lot in the last couple of days.

On the surface, I am sleeping off the exhaustion of having three sets of visitors in the last two weeks, two sets back to back. While those guests played soccer in our front yard, I washed bed and bath linens and did quick clean-up of the guest room. We've gone through an absurd amount of fruit and beer in this house in the last week. But still, I wouldn't trade away those visits. It was the first time we got to see some old friends since we moved from Asheville, and it was a breath of fresh hippie air in our house. We talked and laughed about old friends in common and hilarious old stories that are always worth a retell, and we played sightseers in DC.

Our first guests brought us these tastes of Asheville and great joy to my tastebuds (I could (and do) eat that mustard with a spoon),

and our second set included an old friend for whom we owe depths of gratitude for being one of the primary people who got us (both of us, but Brian, especially) through the 2011-2012 school year. I write, without reservation, that this man is among the finest on Earth. Visiting, reminiscing, and laughing with him was a much anticipated treat for both of us after two years.

And, though I generally don't do so well with people in my personal space, sapping my social energies (no matter how much I enjoy their company), I really think I held together quite well. I didn't get snappish, and I wasn't itching for any of them to take their leave. Really quite astonishing.

But even all that doesn't account for my 20+ hours of sleep. As I generally only realize in hindsight, this spring was...intense. We had a lot of big stuff going on. In the moment, it seems like daily life, and you muddle through somehow (as the song goes, though it's not Christmas). You find your ten things of thankful every week (even if that's all you write for weeks on end) and file away all your other ideas (because time and energy are scarce).

And then school lets out and you all of a sudden find you're having a panic attack at an extremely inopportune moment, and think, "This hyperventilation/ugly crying cannot just be because I'm finding it hard to sing Route 66." And then visitors arrive to distract you, and when they go, you collapse and sleep for 20+ hours in two days. And wake up feeling like you just had a massive emotional release after holding it together since March.

So, there's that to be thankful for. Plus, all the ideas I filed away.

And, finally, before the SGV complain, I will dance for them in my new swimsuit, which I found after many hours searching and trying, searching and trying, and I think is a healthy cross between sexy and matronly, if such a thing exists. And I'm baring my tummy in all its tubby glory (because I just prefer two pieces) after reading the prompting of oh, so many mommy blog posts on the indignity of swimsuits and the anguish of shopping for them and the necessity of confidence to just bare all that jiggly flesh. I'd post a pic, but I'll save the experience for my family.

Speaking of, must go pack for our trip to NC for my nephew's birthday this weekend! No rest for the (very nearly) well-rested.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

TToT31: Sometimes It's Just Easy

Well, first of all, and this might seem odd because I am not at all involved, I am experiencing vicarious joy at the thought of Lizzi and Christine taking tea together in Merrye Olde England this weekend. Huzzah for meeting bloggy friends!

Aside from that vicarious pleasure, a lot of true loveliness came my way this week and made for a super easy TToT. Forward!

There's an article on Lefty Pop this week, written by Natalie. Excuse me while I get political in my favorite subcategory, but a court in California made the profoundly poor decision of ruling teacher tenure a violation of students' rights. This is yet another stroke against public education in the guise of improvement. When will we stop teacher bashing and consider problem solving using teachers' teachers' experience and input? Even if you don't live in CA, give it a read. Seriously, do it now. This decision will spread.

So why is that on the TToT? I knew about the decision and wanted to write something but knew I didn't have the time. I am so happy Natalie wrote such an excellent article. It's fair and true, true, true. If you doubt whether I am qualified to speak on this subject, please read this true story of union retaliation in the public school system.

And on to lighter subjects...

On the Myers-Briggs, I am a J, which I understand means (in part) that I am more of a finisher than a starter. Working purely from home has brought out the P in me as evidenced by the numerous unfinished projects that litter our office. Nevertheless, it gave me great pleasure be able to finish several projects in the mending pile. Functional sewing is something I'd like to do well, both from an skill point of view and an economic one. I practice on my own clothing, but this week, I mended several items owned by other family members well. If not the on the first go, then the second with no one the wiser. 

I also got to do some fun, creative sewing too. Years ago, I decided I wanted to make my daughter curtains for her room. I had my father sketch out some animals, and then I embroidered them on muslin ("Muslin curtains give the room such an air, don't they?" said Anne Shirley). But we never got around to more than one panel (and I accidentally used the rest of the muslin on another project), and it's been languishing in a closet since we moved, and I just decided it could become a decorative pillow instead. I had to cut off the pig, but he'll find his home in another project down the road.

Moving on, I noticed on facebook this week that an old high school friend commented about our upcoming 20-year reunion. I had never made it on the reunion list, which is not at all surprising considering my high school popularity, and I was not at all bothered since I wouldn't have gone even if I had gotten more than two weeks' notice, but I have 100% enjoyed snooping into the lives of old classmates without having to have any social interaction with them. Facebook makes it easy to be an introvert.

Gosh, I loved that wedding dress. I worked with a dressmaker on it, and my aunt described it as Grace Kelly-esque.
Oh, and Tuesday was Brian's and my wedding anniversary! At seven years' married, he told me, we are now 60% less likely to get divorced. I find it amusing that he thinks statistics might play a role in the longetivity of our relationship, but sure, 20% does sound more promising than 80%.

I remembered that we decided last year that we would save money by skipping anniversary gifts and going out for a nice dinner. But Brian forgot, haha! So in addition to a lovely meal in a snazzy restaurant, I got a new set of playing cards (I believe in having a set of cards on hand at all times) and a new sundress (in the form of a gift card).

And check out the presentation of my bronzini!

Finally, with Brian out of town for a conference and sitter coming tomorrow morning so I can go swimsuit shopping alone (oh, the freedom and solitude), I am getting much needed quiet time in preparation for a week of company. I am going to love seeing our visitors, but it's going to drain me of all my social juices within hours.

P.S. I've been reading up on Clark's Doctrine this week, and I made an effort to show all three sides in this post. How did I do?

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

TToT30: Floods of Relief

School is out, friends! There is a nearly tangible feeling of relief around our house. That feeling of deadlines met, meetings in the past, and at least a few days of sleeping in ahead of us. Granted, that feeling often goes hand and hand with illness around here (no exception this time), but there's still the sleeping in.

I am a person divided when it comes to the concept of PreKindergarten graduation. What an absurd idea, huh? PreK graduation? On the other hand (that trumps, I am afraid), the children (mine, especially) are just so darn cute in their finery and handmade mortarboards, and why ever question the need for a celebration? End of preK? Let's celebrate! And so, I have a preK graduate! And isn't she cute?

We had yet another Kindergarten orientation this week, but it solidified the choice we made in the IEP meeting last week. It was good to verify that we made the right choice, and the other parents seemed eager to make connections and set up playdates, and all that is very positive.

So now I am looking forward to slower days in which there are no lunches to make and no buses to meet, no endless calls to the insurance company to make, and no painful meetings looming. I hope to find time for my "projects" once again and soon take advantage of that free pass to the pool. And when we're not there, finally blowing up that pool I bought last summer. We have old friends coming to visit and trips planned, and this summer will be a grand adventure!

My parents visited for a few days this week, and I am totally counting that as two because...two parents, you know, and I love when they come to visit. Visits with my family consist mainly of eating, drinking, and game playing, and this visit fit the mold (I feel that should be spelled with an ou, but perhaps that's just Lizzi's influence). I used their visit as an excuse for another rhubarb pie (12 cups of rhubarb makes an enormous pie), we went out to dinner at a local charcuterie, and we played several games of Bohnanza.

Here they are, singing to Leo

They flew home this morning, but I cheered myself with my first solo trip out to run errands in months. Months, I tell you! You cannot fully appreciate the beauty of running errands alone until you've done it with small children. I was so unemcumbered! I got so much done in so little time! It was a beautiful time.

Today is our neighborhood block party, our second since moving here, but we're so much more established residents now. I love that we live in a neighborhood that plans a party in which we all get together to socialize. We have lovely neighbors. I'll be contributing water balloons and a dish that I have yet to choose or make. Must finish this post...

Speaking of the neighborhood, I volunteered to put out one of the farmer's market signs every weekend, and that put me in the running for a free CSA box from time to time. Turns out this was our week! Extra rhubarb (hence the enormous pie) and enough asparagus to keep our pee stinky for days.

Finally, Leo's speech therapist suggested we get him an electric toothbrush to stimulate his mouth. After he conquered his initial fear of the thing, he fell in love with it, and I try to let him carry it around for awhile every day. Turns out it is having some effect! He's been extremely chatty of late and has added four or five words to his vocabulary in the last few days! Who knew?

Now off to fill water balloons and consider to contents of the fridge and garden. Have a lovely week!

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

TToT29: Pictures and Produce

But before I go with those P's, I'll say this: the IEP meeting is over and no longer a dreaded event on the horizon. I made every effort to reinforce my image as a high maintenance but nice parent (I'm owning it), and we really did get some positive information regarding Maggie's academic readiness for Kindergarten. And thank you, thank you to Lizzi and Lisa who both checked in with me. Bloggy friends are real friends.

Aside from that, I am thankful for sunny skies and warm weather and new tricks at the park.

I am thankful for campfires and smores.

And I am thankful for children who, at the very least, will eat fruit. Boatloads and boatloads of fruit. That tiny 21-pound two-year-old can put away an entire cantaloupe or half a watermelon, unassisted (though I usually cut it up).

And for finally giving up on feeding him dressed and indoors. Huge waste of stain remover. Outdoors and naked is the way to go.

And I am finally thankful for this moment of working on my blog post for a blog hop I love, full of wonderful contributors (you!), while I watch my children empty the water table cup by cup, trotting around the yard to water the plants. A Kairos moment.

What are you thankful for?

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