Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Word of the Day

Whew. I can feel the beginning of the school year bearing down on me like a freight train. It's coming, and I know I'll be grabbing hold only to be slung around until after Christmas time. I can't believe I even mentioned the word Christmas. Shew.

I have been thinking a lot about all that this year will hold, and the best way to tackle it in order to keep at least of shred of sanity for all of us. The word that comes to mind is DISCIPLINE. Oh discipline, how you mock me. I'm going to have to keep myself and the kids fairly regimented (while trying to keep grace, fun, and spontaneity in there too!) In reality, the kids are sort of naturally regimented as it is. I, on the other hand, notsomuch. Especially not this summer. I'll admit. It's been pretty nice to not decide what I'm doing until the last minute, and change plans, and be lazy. This is not my normal attack on life at all. But I think I just needed a minute of being type B, you know?

But. My minute is up.

The first thing on the list is a schedule. This summer I have laid in bed every morning until the very last minute. And on days when we don't have summer school kids, the last minute = however long Emily can stand being in her crib entertained by Drew. Poor Drew. He's been in charge of his own breakfast many mornings. Today he had pretzels. Yep. Pretzels. I opened the bag with one eye open and promptly handed them to him. And then I closed the one eye and went back to sleep. Kinda makes you wish you were my kid, huh??

So, my goal for the school year is to get up and be ready before the kids get up. Let me just say this: not excited. This also means I'm going to have to make myself go to bed at some sort of decent time. In the past this has not been a problem for me as I was always asleep by 10:00 at the latest. But this summer I've just relished the night time so much. There are books to be read, and shows to watch, and pictures from the internet to pin to a pretend bulletin board. Sigh. There are just not enough hours in the day. Sadly, I am not one of those people who can thrive on 5-6 hours of sleep. I've tried many times to be, and it never works and usually results in my getting sick. Lame. So early to bed and early to rise and all that jazz.

The second thing on the list is meal planning. Just recently I let go of this weird expectation I had on myself that dinner had to be something fancy. Why would I have this expectation when I have a preschooler and a toddler?? No idea, but I did. I've let it go and resorted to serving things that are simple and my kids like. I try to give them something new every once in a while. Still, it helps to have things written down at the start of the week. I need to do this for breakfast and lunch on school days as well.

The third thing is keeping our things organized. I have no doubt I'll start the year off with a bang in this department. The discipline will be in keeping up with the system and making sure things stay tidy. The rubber will hit the road on this one around the end of October. Keep your eye on me. I'm a mess.

I have all sorts of lists and things running around in my head constantly right now. As I've mentioned, not a ton of time to get them down on paper. It will have to happen soon, though, or my head might explode, which really isn't going to be helpful.

The new regimen starts Monday. I know I'm going to need some practice before the curtain rises.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Taking it Personally

“There is no event so common place but that God is present within it, always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him.” - Fredrick Buechner

Earlier this year I read Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts". This book is life-changing. And I don't mean that in any sort of metaphorical way at all. I mean, if you read it, and apply the lesson Ann seeks to teach, it WILL change your life. When you spend your day looking for things to be thankful for, it changes everything.

I spent a good many weeks doing just that. Noticing everything. Seeing everything as a gift or word or touch from God. And then one day this tiny, nagging though crept into my mind. "You're being ridiculous. That single purple clover in your yard is just a flower-nothing more." It seemed every time I felt that nudge of the holy, I would chastise myself for being silly. To be honest, I don't think that tiny thought originated with me. I think the Enemy takes issue with my efforts to embrace all of life.

So one night I was scrubbing the floor hands and knees style. I know. This is shocking in and of itself, but I really do DESIRE super clean floors. If I had time (or a maid) they'd be hands and knees clean all the time. Anyway. I was scrubbing the floor and listening to some Beth Moore devotionals on CD I picked up at the bookstore. To be honest, I can't remember what the main point of this particular devotional was, but in it she was describing a sunset she saw on her way home. And she said, "Sure, maybe someone else in my neighborhood needed to see that sunset, but here's the thing girls, we get to take it personally."

We get to take it personally.

The lone purple clover in my yard-I smiled the instant I saw it because I just felt like it was a message. If I am honest, I still have to work to chase away those thoughts of doubt when I have those moments all day long. When I walk outside and the sun is going down and the light in my yard looks mellow and peaceful and I feel Him. When I stumble upstairs feeling sad and frustrated, pouring my heart out to him so it doesn't spill out all over my family, and as I look out the window, I see a lone dear in my backyard-in the suburbs. When a walk along a trail of modern art turns into a moment of surrender and worship.

I can doubt. I can chalk it all up to chance. I can deride myself for being silly or for grasping. Or I can choose to see Him. I can choose to pick up my day's manna. I can choose to believe He sees me. And knows. And cares.

I can take it personally.

The Long, Long, List

The beginning of the new school year is fast approaching. I think I may have mentioned before that I always view the start of a new school year as more of my "new year" than January. It's just one more reason it's handy I'm going to be a teacher, huh?

So, in preparation for the "new year", I've made a list. It's a doozy. Quite ambitious, but definitely things I'd love to get taken care of before I go back to work. Well, work outside of my home that is. I have been a little occupied with a house full of little people this summer!

At the end of last year (with the purchase of my $20 TV cabinet at the yard sale) I moved a little table in my laundry room. And suddenly (just like with the pillow in the family room) I had a whole vision of what the place could become. I started using it as a "mud room" and I use the term lightly. Please do not picture something scrumptious from a Pottery Barn catalog. But, I did move our shoe basket in there and hung up the kids backpacks in there. This summer the little table has served as a launching pad for all things swim related. It's working, and I really want to make it even better.

I present to you Project #1-Laundry/Mud Room.

My first order of business is to paint it. I have wanted to do this for such a long time but the task has seemed overwhelming. You're shocked, I know. It is just so rare that something would be overwhelming to me... There are some holes in the walls and some dry wall anchors. I've just decided some of the holes may get patched, some may not. Because, if the holes are what are holding me back, then that's ridiculous. Still, painting in there is going to be a task. Before I finish painting it, it will have to be cleaned out. Which is probably going to lead to my needing to clean out some cabinets and pantry. See???? Sheesh. Anyway. I've decided just to start, and do a little bit at a time. For starters I'm trying to choose a paint color:

"Honeydew" by Behr is currently in the lead, but I don't feel 100% yet. I've also been on Pinterest (do you know about this??? If you don't, you should. It's changing my life. Ok, well, not really, but I am super in LOVE with it!) If you click the hyperlink, it will take you to my page and you can see what other ideas are brewing for the Laundry Room.

I'm deeming Mondays as Project Update days here at Toddle On. I know-it's dangerous to make such a bold statement when I can barely bring myself to blog regularly. Imma try, though, ok? If you have any great laundry room/mud room ideas you can't live without, let me know! Preferably with a link to a picture so I can pin them right onto my board!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And That's the Tooth

Remember that time I told you I'm a procrastinator? Yeah. If I could win an award for it (preferably a monetary award...) I would definitely win.

I have a certain and real phobia of all things dental. I did not have good experiences at the dentist as a kid. I had braces and I can still feel that goo dripping on the back of my tongue from when they make the molds of your mouth. I just gagged thinking about it. I hate everything about the dentist and have determined it is the largest sensory onslaught you can experience. Sights, sounds, tastes, smells, PAIN. Yeah. I have issues.

So, I've avoided the dentist for an embarrassingly long time. And I won't tell you how long because, well, my pride. There came a point when I thought about toughing it out, but when I thought about how much shame I was going to have over the state of my teeth, well, it was just one more fear to try to overcome. Any of you thinking about ditching me as a friend yet? Because, WOW.

Finally, a tooth in the back expressed its displeasure with the lack of professional attention it had been receiving. The tooth expressed itself by causing me excruciating pain. Keep in mind I birthed two babies sans pain medicine. I wanted to just cut my entire head off. Perhaps get a new one. It hurt. And when I was at Walgreens at 4 a.m. looking for something, anything, to help, I knew it was time to wave the white flag.

The next morning I called a local dentist and they were fabulous and accommodating and nice. When the kind doc took a look he let me know it was going to take some major doing to take care of all the pain, but he figured out a way to work me in that day. I mean, for a dentist he was such a nice fellow. He also gave me some tips about how to cope. I decided against IV sedation, much to my sadness, both due to cost and complication of driving and the kids and blah, blah, blah. I decided I could do anything for around 30 minutes to an hour. He suggested I bring my ipod. It was a very fabulous suggestion.

Let's just say it was intense. I won't be telling you the exact nature of my procedure, because, well, my pride. But, suffice it to say there were times when I turned the volume on my music WAY up. And tried to keep down the nagging need to swallow. The spittle vacuum just doesn't do it for me. Luckily, they gave me some nice pain meds for my recovery and recommended I eat ice-cream. Can do, Dr. Dentist, can do. I go back this week for another check and a cleaning. I'm already working on my playlist...

Just one more place in my life that it's time to take some dang action. I'm grabbing fear by the throat and throttling him. Too much time with him has made me cranky!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Joke's on Me

First, did I actually refer to my "favorite" character in FNL by the wrong name??? Yes ma'am, I sure did. Guh. There is just no way to avoid looking like a schmuck in this scenario. LANDRY. His name is Landry. And I totally know that. It might have been funny if I'd called him Lance like Coach always did. But I didn't. I gave him a completely new name and referred to him as my favorite.

Would it help to say that I had been studying the math portion of my Praxis book? Did you know that math makes my brains turn to mush? Yes, even elementary math.


In other news about the joke being on me, my daughter, the 21 month old, has already developed definite opinions about her clothes. Gooood times. She is super into layering. As in, she screamed bloody murder at me when I questioned her choice to wear two pairs of shorts. At the same time. Topless. We are the very definition of class around here. She changes her shoes around 7 times an hour, and unloads her drawers two or three times a day. And strips. This is all a brand new ballgame for me. I can pretty much still throw any old shirt and shorts at Drew and he'll barely turn away from cartoons and put them on. But, heaven forbid I change diaper brands for her highness. No more Elmo on the diapers? She was not pleased. I have friends with teenage daughters. I'm booking time in their calendar 9 or 10 years from now already. Because, clearly, I'm the meanest mom ever since I won't let Emily wear two onesies to bed. How dare I?

Meanwhile, in the land of Drew, truth has become a slippery attribute. He's trying out different versions of stories fairly regularly, which is a nice way of saying he's lying. A lot. I've been assured it's a normal phase for his age, but it really doesn't help that pit in the stomach of a mom when they think their kid might end up in juvy. The funniest part is that kids are HORRIBLE liars. And they think they are really good at it. He's astonished when I don't actually believe him. Good. Let's just keep him thinking I have amazing mom superpowers. It'll prepare him for when I track him using his cell phone.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Well now.

Did I forget to mention I was taking a little bloggy vacay? So sorry. Actually, I wasn't planning on taking a bloggy vacay, but I did decide to let June be the month of slack. I've been savoring summer as much as one can while rearing two littles and running a day camp. I've just been doing the bare minimum. Nothing too taxing. Or even a little taxing. Because, you know, writing this blog is a real brain buster...

Also, and please don't judge, I got completely sucked into the T.V. series "Friday Night Lights". This is typical for me. I am not, what you describe as, on the cutting edge. I'm always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to trendy or cool or good things. So it is with me and the FNL. What caught my attention is that the series is wrapping up and there are some people to' up about it. I decided to see what all the hoopla is about. I signed up for a free month on Netflix (which expires tomorrow...note to self: cancel netflix...) and watched my first episode. And pretty much that's what I've been doing for the last few weeks. Straight. Kind of a sickness really. But, can I just take a moment and say, I'm not ashamed of how much I love football. Or the South. This show, well, it's the first time in, well, ever that I really wished the people were real. I was fully prepared to get in my car and drive to Dillon, TX, and show up at Coach and Tammy Taylor's door. I mean, everyone else does. I love everything about the show. Crazy old Buddy Garrity. Jason Street and his awesomeness. Matt Saracen-whose little cheeks you just want to pinch because he's so dang sweet to his grandma. Tragic, tragic, Tim Riggins with his perpetual shirt unbuttoning. (I googled him just to make sure he wasn't really 18, because, well, I think he's cute!) And last but not least, my favorite ever character Landon. Seriously. I love him.

You can see by the above paragraph that I have a serious problem. Put your worries behind you. I've seen all the episodes now, and only ONE remains. And in my opinion, they have a mighty lot of stuff to wrap up. They better not leave me hanging.

In the few hours a day I haven't been watching Netflix, I've done a lot of playing and swimming and snacking. We are having a great summer. My little play days are going great. I have a great bunch of kids and it has been beyond amazing to watch God provide this way-always just what is needed.

Lots to catch up on. I'm officially off vacation. This week's productivity equals studying for my first Praxis exam. Did I mention I'm going to grad school? No? My bad. I'm starting grad school this fall. I'm gonna be a real live teacher, ya'll!