Monday, May 9, 2011

If You Give A Mom a Day Off (In the tradition of mice and cookies...)

Today I have a day off! Yay!  April was a crazy (good) month with Work, Birthdays, Easter and the Youth Choir Tour so "me time" has been in very short supply.  This is not a new thing, all Moms know that Personal Time is not something we can count on.  I have been looking longingly at my backyard pool as the weather has become warmer, but I have yet to put on a bathing suit and sit myself down beside it.  I probably won't jump in for another month or two, but I do like that taboo covers a variety of desserts!  So..Will I make it to the pool today?

There sure is plenty to do around here and I seldom have the luxury of being at home to do it!  I think I'll just take out the chicken for dinner first.  When I take out the chicken, I want to grab the recipe to make sure I have all the ingredients.  As I look at the recipe and notice I am missing a couple of items, I start a grocery list (I can go on the way to pick up the kids..later).  While I am making a grocery list, I better check to see what staples we also need.  Now that i have my list made, I should go through my coupons to see if I have any I can use.  When I grab the coupon carrier out of the drawer I realize the drawer is a wreck!  It will only take a second to straighten it up!  Once the drawer is straight, I take the coupons to the kitchen table to look through them. Oh!  Look at that, there are no napkins in my awesome IKEA napkin holder, I'll just grab some from the pantry.  While in the pantry I see food, so naturally I must eat something!  I unwrap a "chewy bar" and bring the wrapper to the trash..Ugh!  The Trash can lid is gross!  Let me just get a clorox wipe from under the kitchen sink and clean that up.  While at the kitchen sink I see there are some dirty dishes in there.  There's just a few, I'll put them in the dishwasher.  When I open the dishwasher, guess what?  Yup, It's clean.  That's ok, it only takes ten minutes to get it all put away.  Now that the sink is empty, which NEVER happens, let me give it a good scrub.  Wow!  That looks great, but now the rest of the greasy messy kitchen looks awful!  Well, I'll just wipe down the counters, then I'm done!  Hey, this looks really good!  Except now the fingerprints on all the stainless are really obvious, well, I have a rag out so no biggie.  Kitchen looks great, but I still have to check out those coupons real quick, then I'm done!  Oh, but first the dogs need to go out.  while I let the dogs out, I walk by the pool..."almost there!" I say to my lounge chair.  When the dogs come back in I see a flea on one of them, ew!  I get out the flea comb and drown that bugger in some dish soap!  While I have out the comb, I'll just check the other animals, then I'm done!  A dozen fleas later I put away the comb in the laundry room and see that I have stuff that needs to go in the dryer, and guess what!?  Yup, there's already dry stuff in there.  No biggie, it will only take a few minutes to fold, put the wet stuff in the dryer, then I'M DONE!  I walk back to the coupons, grab the ones I need, attach them to the grocery list and realize I'm hungry again..look at that, it's 2:30, just enough time to grab a late lunch and go pick up the kids, great. Guess I'm done.

In reality I am forcing myself to go, with blinders on, to the pool and not move for at least two hours!  If you did not love on your Mom yesterday, even if you could only do it in your heart, take a minute to do it now!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I think I get it now.

All these years, especially these years since I have accepted Christ, I have been living under the assumption that I pretty much had a handle on things.  No, I never thought I was even close to perfect, but I admit that I did think I was pretty darn good most of the time.  Smart, Kind, Generous, even usually courteous.  Open to growth even.  I know that there's something about me that rubs some people the wrong way.  I figured it was an inhibition issue (usually tied to my mouth).  I prayed about it.  I asked God to help me know how to change.  I refer to myself as a work in progress... without actually making any progress.

I sit in judgement of unkind, impatient, unforgiving, rude, arrogant, selfish people while I should have been falling on my face from the pole in my own eye.  Yes, I even nod my head in agreement when that post/ speck story comes up, thinking of the "other guy" all the while.  

Scales have been falling from my eyes this week.  I am so grateful for a God who is the giver of infinity chances.  Who I know loves me even when I am unlovable and have been a sorry excuse for a lover of his children, especially those he has entrusted to me: My husband, my kids, my family, my friends.  Please join me in praying that those scales will not grow back.  That I really will stay open to growth.  That I will remain a workable lump of clay as long as I have a breath in me.  I have a lot to make up for as I go and I hope that I encounter grace as I do.  The beautiful thing is that, though I don't deserve it, I know I will encounter that grace because I have been so abundantly blessed with amazing people in my life.  

If you are one of those amazing people (and you probably are if you've cared enough to read this) then I hope you will be patient with me as I strive to grow, and to care for you as I should.  I am so grateful for you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

            Things have changed a lot in our family over the last couple of years.  Unless you or your spouse is involved in an economy proof enterprise, the same is probably true for you. 

Many things are different.  What we do with our money.  Mostly, we penny pinch.  Clip coupons.  Eat everything in the fridge and pantry, even if it’s not out favorite.  Rely on hand-me downs and consignment stores and the like to cloth our kids.  Live simply, most of the time.

What we do with our time.  Mostly we work.  Used to be my husband worked and I stayed home with the kids and worked at being a good Mom.  Usually I was Home Room Mom at at least one of their schools, sometimes both.  I went on all the field trips.  I read stories to their classes.  I over-donated whatever was asked for, be it cupcakes or money.  I even home schooled for a couple of years.  If you know me at all, you may think the shopping was the toughest thing for me to give up, and it IS hard, but this was the most painful.

The change that surprises me the most though, is the blessing of the “broke-ness”.  God has blessed us in so many amazing ways during this season that it will have to have it’s own blog entry.  We have learned humility.  We have learned Priority.  Best of all, we have learned Family.  We “stay-cationed” this summer and rather than spend money on amusement parks, we spent it on board games.  The trend continued into “real life” and we have a regular family night now.  My daughter and I are sharing a Bible Study.  The television is taking a back seat.  We are getting to know one another.  Our relationships are growing deeper.  My marriage is growing stronger.

Last night we got out the Christmas trees.  Last year I picked up a second one through “freeshare” ( because I wanted to let the kids have one and I wanted one of my own that I could decorate all pretty and perfect the way I like it.  As I watched the kids decorate the tree last night I wondered what in the world I was thinking?!   They hung ornament s we have collected over the years, many they made with their own hands, and I thought “This is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen.”  It is full of memories.  It is precious.  I wouldn’t trade it for a dozen Perfectly Decorated, Color Co-ordinated “Southern Living Tree of the Year” trees.

I do hope things get better for us and all the other families who are struggling.  I also hope that we take to heart the lessons we’ve learned and don’t have to be taught them again.  I am so thankful for being abundantly blessed with an amazing family and so much love in my life.

Happy Thanksgiving! (anybody need a Christmas Tree?)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm so confused!

Everyone says how tough the Middle School years are, and I agree.  I can still remember those times and some the amazingly stupid things I did.  Thankfully, I am old enough to also have forgotten some of them!
            Now, though, I am the Middle Aged Mother of a middle schooler and I think this might be worse.  Not only do I get to deal with the emotions and “logic” of my 7th grade daughter, but sometimes I get to do it while experiencing a pre-menstrual / pre-menopausal hot flash!  Good Times!

            I also used to be pretty cool.  Not always cutting edge trendy, but “cool” enough to wear the right clothes, say the right things, dance the right dances (yes, I wasn’t always a Southern Baptist!).  Now I am hopelessly embarrassing.  As if all my body fat, including that under my chin, dropping 6 inches wasn’t enough of a blow to my ego!  I actually asked my daughter for fashion advice last week.  When did this happen!?  I should have known when she stopped letting me pick out her clothes at age 5!

Today added a new twist I wasn’t ready for though.  I picked up “the girls” (daughter and niece, also a middle schooler) at school today and stopped at the grocery store on the way home.  While in the store I got that “being watched” vibe from a normal enough, nice enough looking man of about my age and when I looked, noticed he was smiling in our general direction.  In years past, I would have thought maybe he was smiling at me, and been a little flattered that I can still occasionally draw attention.  Today I couldn’t tell.  Was it me, or them?  Should I be flattered?  Or repulsed?  Or was he just enjoying seeing us all have a good time laughing our way through Publix?

Sadly, this is one blurry line that won’t clear up if I would just relent and put my glasses on.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Whether this weather or that weather

I grew up "Up North" but I'm not one of those Florida transplants that complains about the heat.  I came here on purpose.  I kinda like the heat.  As long as there's a body of water or an AC close by, the heat is really OK with me!  At my age I should know better, but I also like to be tan.  Not enough to bake in an electric tanner like I did in my , um, earlier youth, but enough to suffer a little for tan legs that hide such a wide variety of "less then attractive" features that insist on residing there (the "Thigh Master" under my bed is a liar!)

Love the summer I do, but when the pool water turns to a chilly 70 degrees I put away my shorts and sundresses and start to look forward to the things of Fall: Open Windows, Fresh Air in the House, Telling the Kids to "Go Play Outside!", Sweaters, Fun Scarves, BOOTS!!!   Yes, sometimes it's all about the shoes!  I do miss the pretty crunchy leaves of the North but not enough to also suffer winter for them.

Winter..Bah!  I get uncomfortable just looking at a picture of it.  The only great thing about winter weather is snow, and that's only fun if you're a kid or on vacation.  My kids, being Florida born, have never experienced a real snow, and I feel for them, I really do.  One day I even hope to be able to afford to bring them somewhere snowy, for vacation, but I sincerely hope I never have to live in a snowy region again.

There is only one other in Florida we call it "Allergy Season".  I have friends who suffer horribly through this and it is the one Northern season I really do miss, up there where they call it "Spring"!

But that's a long way off, or at least it seems to be right now, so today I'm going to throw on some boots, and, being smoke free for a whole day and a half, go outside with the kids and enjoy some fresh air!

Happy Fall!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ew, Ew That smell!

A word about my blog's name: Yes, I'm just that vain! Seriously..My Grandmother, who I loved tons and tons, used to sing me "Row, Row, Row your boat....." (which is funny because my maiden name is Rowe) and instead of "merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily" she would sing "Melanie, Melanie, Melanie, Melanie" now I get to think of her whenever I post, which I love to do (think of her).

This is dedicated to my two friends who think I'm funny and should write a blog, so that you know who to blame if they're wrong!  Thanks Jeanette and Brooke!

I joked with Brooke and Jeanette that maybe I would consider blogging if I ever had any "extra time" on my hands, thinking that would never happen!  Two kids, 6 pets, a husband, a house, church, a time, pssshhh!

Do you know how much time smoking takes up in your life?  I hope not, so I'll tell you.  If you smoke a pack a day (not that I did , but if YOU did) that's about 10 minutes a cigarette, times 20.  Add in the time it takes to "de-louse" with gum, mouthwash,  Febreeze etc. and it's easily 2 hours a day.  Guess what?  Today is my first full day without cigarettes so I have a little extra time on my hands!

One of the challenges of not smoking is not eating every time I want to smoke.  I returned to work about a year ago following 10 years of being a stay at home Mom.  My work is active so I have lost a little weight and I AM vain enough to be enjoying wearing a smaller size.  Since I am a bit of a compulsive kind of girl, I need a new compulsion and I think I may have found one!

I have been weaning for the past week and so some of my senses are slowly returning: Taste, Smell, Breathing.....The smell one is the kicker here, not that I'm knocking breathing, that's definitley going to be great, but that smell gets everywhere!  Though I didn't smoke in the house, I did live in it with my smelly self and it seems like everything I touched smells like smoke now!  This is war!  I started today with the sheets.  All of them get bleached.  I didn't just wash my hair today, I dyed it, so it has that "new hair" smell!  Yesterday I got an industrial sized bottle of Extra Strength Febreeze..anything that won't fit in the washer is getting it!  If I hugged your kids lately, you might want to hide them for awhile, I might just catch a whiff of my old self on them!  I have Febreeze and I'm not afraid to use it!

Pray for me!!