Off the radar

I have been off the radar for the past month.  The children have been high maintenance, and Matt and I are feeling the strain of parenthood.  Our house has become very messy; we’re having trouble keeping up with the laundry; I haven’t been taking any pictures; emails remain unanswered; I have been on the edge of tears for the past two weeks; and we have been getting into a lot of fights simply due to stress.

But the pressure is starting to let up.  Damian had two teeth come in, and he was fussing a lot.  The constant fussing and crying was very wearing.  It was like he developed colic at seven-months-old.  But the teeth have come through now, so we have some respite until more teeth start coming through.

Parenthood is not for wimps.

August 29th, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

“Off”


Matt and Lily
26 October 2005

We’re still going back in time, but not as far.
This is a picture of Matt and Lily
from October two years ago (Lily is ten-months-old
in this picture). We still had the Jeep at that time,
and it was a real b*tch to put the top on and off
the Jeep. So we would often just leave it on or off.
Even during a cold snap, we would just leave the top
off if it was already off. So Matt would have to
bundle up like this to drive to work. (He is wearing
the Jay “Snoogans” cap that Gene gave me
when we were toying with the idea of dressing
as Jay and Silent Bob for Halloween.)

Matt and I are usually, what I call, “on.”  We are synched up with each other and the day runs smoothly.  It’s like the final scene of Shrek 3 where Fiona and Shrek are taking care of the kids together, effortlessly tossing bottles to one another, smiling.  That is what we are like when we are synched up.  Our day is an unrehearsed yet coordinated ballet of housework, childcare, cooking, and recreation.

But then we get out of synch.  We’ll be “off.”  This is very annoying when you are used to being in synch with your partner.  I never know how long we will be off — sometimes an hour, sometimes a day.  It is almost always precipitated by an argument or one of us being in a foul mood.

But I recently discovered a way to get back into synch.  We stop whatever child-centered family activity we are doing and hold each other.  It takes about five minutes of hugging, perhaps a little talking and smooching, and then we are synched up again.  We’ve only tried this technique twice, but it has worked both times.  It’ll be interesting to see if it has 100% success rate.

Matt and I were “off” this morning, but he had to rush off to work.  If we’re still “off” after he is done for the day, we’ll have to snuggle back “on.” 🙂

August 17th, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Hobby-time!


Lindsey, me, Kelsey, Justy, and Bruce at Seaworld


Justy, me, Lindsey, and Kelsey in San Antonio

Still no new piccies, so more peaks into the past.
Both of these pictures are with the cousins and from at least a decade ago.
Awhile back, I saw a photo spread in a magazine where supermodels picked
their favorite picture of themselves. Cindy Crawford has had amazing beautiful
pictures taken of her, and yet she chose a picture that was just a normal
snapshot; it was not taken by highly paid photographer, and she wasn’t made up
by a professional make-up artist or clothed in designer clothing. It was just
a snapshot of her and Richard Gere laughing together. And she had written,
“This is exactly where I wanted to be and exactly who I wanted to be with.”
That sums up all our personal favorite photos, doesn’t it? The ones that spark
happy memories and remind us of people we cherish.

I tidied the house yesterday.  It looks very nice.  This doesn’t sound significant, and yet it carries much more weight than it seems.  In all marriages, there is division of labor.  Each person has to pull their weight in the labor that comes with the upkeep of living.

My responsibilities during the weekdays in order of priority: 1) watch and nurture the children; 2) run the household (keep the house clean, pay the bills).  Matt is our sugar-daddy.  His responsibility during the weekdays, all silliness aside, is bringing the money into the house that pays for the food and the bills, etc.

These duties aren’t set in stone.  They change as our situation changes, but this is the way we have our shared life duties divided at the moment.

When I’ve taken care of all my duties, I’m into freetime!  This is when I get to work on my hobbies.  If the house is clean and the children are asleep, hobby time!  And my new current favorite hobby?  Romance podcasts!  Heh heh, I finally get to start working on my idea. 🙂

And finally, a little bloggy shout-out to Shelrie.  Thanks for visiting.  It was really nice seeing you.  And for any who read this blog and are wondering what she’s like these days, she’s still the free spirit she always was. 🙂  She just got dreadlocks, is starting Texas State next week to get her doctorate, is deeply in love, and does aerial silks as a hobby (she’s very fit — much more fit than most people I know).

August 16th, 2007 | Podcast, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Routine is good, reprised


Ben and Lindsey


Me and Kelsey
I haven’t taken any pictures recently, so I decided to post some of my favorite pictures
from the past until I get some new piccies. These are pictures from Lindsey’s birthday party
from more than 10 years ago. Lindsey is 16-years-old now and Kelsey is 18-years-old,
just to give you an idea of how long ago these pictures were taken.

Everyone is gone.  It’s just my little family again, and it feels so nice.  We have been out-of-routine for almost two months now.  I’m ready to get back into a routine.  When we are out-of-routine, we don’t keep up with our money plan thus we overspend; we don’t keep up with our health plan thus we eat badly; I personally don’t get to work on any of my hobbies which fulfill and sustain me.

I like it when my family visits, and I like visiting family, but I am now ready to just be with our family for a little while.  I’m happy things have calmed down.

Now, to balance the check register and untangle the money mess we created…

August 13th, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 2 Comments -

Happiness in gym showers


Lily put cat ears on Damian.
Oddly enough, they really suit him.
05 July 2007

If someone had come up to me and said, “Gym showers are one of the happiest places you can find,” I would have thought, “What a bizarre and quite probably untrue statement.  Gym showers?  I imagine they smell like feet.”

And yet, it is true!  They don’t smell like feet; they smell lovely!  They smell like soap, fragrant shampoo, clean bodies, and happy people!  Two days ago, while I was showering after my workout, a young woman was just singing away in her shower stall.  And even though she had just a normal singing voice, her song and her general happiness lit up the whole shower area.

Why so much happiness in such an unlikely space?  I think it’s because gym showers are full of people who have just finished their workouts.  I’m told that the happiness you are feeling after a workout is caused by endorphins, but whatever it is, it makes gym showers a very happy place.

By the way, the ladies’ locker room at Lifetime Fitness, in general, smells very nice.  Matt said that the mens’ locker room does smell like feet, but in the ladies’ locker room, all the women put on such nice-smelling perfumes or body splashes or (as in my case) powder after they get out of the shower.  I don’t know if this statement is true across other gyms, but it’s true for my gym.

I’m going to make a potpourri sachet for my gym bag to keep it from smelling like sweat, and asked Matt if he would like one for his gym bag, and he said “Only if it smells manly.”  And I asked, “Do you mean like patchouli?  No lavender or rose?”  And he answered, “Yes.”  And that, my friends, is why the ladies’ locker room smells so much nicer than the mens’ locker room.

August 11th, 2007 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Culture in the home


The kids and I on the swing
01 August 2007

It’s very commonplace to hear about the “culture of the workplace”: what a particular workplace culture nurtures and what it destroys.  But no one discusses the culture that a family creates in its own home.

I was thinking about this because the culture in our home was not strong enough to hold up against the addition of an eleven-year-old and his video games and fast food.  Cody joined our family for a week, and instead of him being incorporated into our family culture, our family life morphed around him.

Our routine and our habits have no strength, and I think that’s because they are in their infancy.  We, as a family, are trying to get away from fast food so when someone comes in that regularly eats fast food, it’s easy to fall back into old habits.

We’re still evolving the culture in our home, and, in time, when people visit our home, they will walk into the world that we created with our children.  Hopefully  it will be filled with kindness and laughter… and healthy food. 😉

August 10th, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Difficulty


Lily
Lincoln, England
17 July 2007

Today was hard… very hard.  Today was hard because of children.  I’ve had Cody for the past week, so I’ve had three children for a week, but you must combine the three children with a week’s worth of junk food and video games.  Today I hit my breaking point.  Today was… well, not a happy day.

My mom will keep no living thing, not even a plant.  She wants nothing to be dependent on her.  Now that I have two children, I completely understand this.  No more pets after our current three.  I have reached the limit of how many things I can care for and still be able to care for myself.

And I’m not fond of video games, or junk food for that matter.  Both of these things, used habitually, make you ill.

Today was hard.

August 9th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Forced creativity


Cody and Damian on the swing
01 August 2007

So G. and D. (to use their nomenclature) made a wager — they both must write a blog entry so many times each week for one year or lose some nominal amount of money.  I like the wager because I get a tiny update on their life almost every day — a little note (sometimes just a small paragraph, sometimes an essay) tacked on the web bulletin board saying “hey, this is what happened today” or “this is what I was thinking today.”

And of course the wager — the idea of posting almost daily by requirement — made me start thinking about posting daily and not just when the muse comes calling.  Sometimes my posts are very mundane (“Matt and I went to HEB today.  We ran into Sarah Q.”) and sometimes I try to write something a little more poetic or meaningful — something that creates feelings or ideas.

What if I was required to post daily?  What if I had to force creativity?  Thousands of writers do that daily as their career.  But could I?  Would it be enjoyable to read or would the posts soon become dull and banal?

And, finally, is this the worry of every writer and would-be writer?  If I’m forced to create, will it be dishwater?

August 6th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Stolen moments of time and the evanescent quality of coffee


Lily
Lincoln, England
20 July 2007

I have been meaning — wanting… desiring — to write a blog entry and to start working on my podcasting idea, but I am constantly derailed by children and a messy house.  I’m always playing catch-up in my own life, but never actually catching-up.

What have I been desiring to blog about, you ask?  Why, the evanescent quality of coffee, of course!  Matt really likes Donna’s coffee when we visit Conroe, and I have tried to recreate that coffee here at home, always coming close but never quite succeeding.  And I figured out why the other day.  It’s because we are away from home, relaxing at a lakehouse, and someone is making Matt coffee.  So there is a mood — an ambience — brewed into the coffee which I cannot recreate at home.

Coffee commercials try to sell this ambience.  The actors are always in the mountains or in front of a cozy fire as they sip their coffee.  It doesn’t show them corralling children as they dash out the door, trying not to spill their coffee all over themselves.  So when you bring your Folgers home, it doesn’t quite feel the same as you felt when you watched the commercial.  But, of course, you can say that about most commercials.  Are they selling a product or a feeling?

Hmmm… my paragraphs are long in this entry.  We were taught in journalism to keep your paragraphs short.  I’m not quite sure why, but I assume it is for readability.  It might be due to short attention span as well.  I don’t actually know why they have that rule.

Hah!  I posted!  And the children aren’t even awake yet.  Now to just start working on the romance podcasts…

August 3rd, 2007 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 1 Comment -