Friday, January 31, 2014

My Minions

I absolutely love it when my kids dance with the Minions on Despicable Me. They try to sing their songs in the language and it's hilarious. If you don't know what the Minions sing like, listen up:

Mom, Interrupted.

Like I keep saying, being a Mom is seldom predictable. I was mentally counting on being able to catch up on overdue housework and errands today.... but that hair-do fell flat as soon as Butch Cassidy started puking yesterday evening. Poor thing was violently ill; couldn't keep a sip of water down until well after midnight. Normally on a Thursday night, I go for a run or do yoga, catch up on shows I cant watch with the Herd present, and basically do whatever I please, while The High Roller plays cards with his friends in our game room/garage/whatever-we-need-it-to-be room. Obviously, that much needed break didn't happen... instead I took care of Butch Cassidy and tried to edit some of my writing... while Transformers played on TV. And while I was working, I realized that I was mad. So I started dissecting what could've made me mad, and why I felt that way.

Then it dawned on me.... Oh yeah... I'm a Control-Freak. 


Being a Control-Freak has been my arch nemesis in life, directly or indirectly, for as long as I can remember. Although having a houseful of kids has taught me that I, in reality, control very little, old habits die hard. Just when I think I've got a better grip on it, it yanks the rug out from under me.

There should be a Tweve-Step Program for people like me. 

 Superficially, I was upset that my child was sick and that my other kids would probably catch whatever he had and also be sick... which, in turn, meant more double-overtime for me as a Mom... But it also royally ticked me off that I couldn't do anything to change it. All of my plans and my semi-break (peace and quiet while folding laundry) that I needed after a week of EVERYONE being underfoot had vanished. I felt like the Coyote alllllllmost catching the Roadrunner, only to grab empty air once again. Sigh.

So far, the best solution I've found is to concentrate on what I CAN control in the situation. Like my attitude, or focusing on ways to make the situation more tolerable. People who have grown children always remind me that these days won't last forever, and to enjoy them, so that's exactly what I'm trying to do. Even though I can't control the circumstances of the day, I CAN control some things.

My energy and patience are nearly tapped out....But I'm going to go for broke by putting all of the remnants of "Good Mommy" left to use and snuggle my kids.

And remind myself that the plans I had were probably not that pressing.

And count down until Herd bedtime so that I can have a drink....

Glenmorangie Lasanta 12, neat, to be exact.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cabin Fever Has Struck

Beginning yesterday afternoon, everyone started snarling at each other... You can tell that everyone needs to get back to their usual routines. The High Roller needed to get back to work... Kids needed to get back to school and their friends... And I needed some quiet and breathing room. I can't clean up something without a Herdmember destroying it in record time... The house even has a smell of captivity and dirty clothes... So I was horrified when school was canceled once again for Thursday. I now can sympathize with my friends who regularly endure snow days and school weather cancellations... It's fun to spend time together and have a break from the grind, but all good things must come to and end.... Unless the ice has other ideas. At least the High Roller went back to work... So he won't have the caged animal look when he comes home... And he's promised to take the boys to the arcade when he gets off work... But only if they have completed a list of chores. I tryi to find the motivation to force them to do it... But I just want to blog and play on Twitter and work on my Gaelic lessons... But no one will let me. I'm waving my white flag... Please melt this ice, Mr. sun! At least I'm looking forward to my run this evening (hopefully won't be as frigid as the other night) and doing more writing. I'd never thought I'd say this, but I'm not looking forward to the weekend.... At least the weather is supposed to be warm and sunny, so I can keep everyone busy outside. Or lock them out so that they have to keep themselves busy. 
I attempted to do a semi-fun activity with the Princess this AM while Butch and Sundance were holed up in their room... They had stolen my new pack of gum and chewed it up before I even got out of bed... So she and I made teddy bear Toast! 
As you can see, she had a blast.
LLLis getting so much better at doing her Letter "zuzzle", as she calls it. She needs very little guidance on getting the pieces in the correct order, and can identify most of them by name. Sundance has been working with her, and it's paying off! 
It's so amazing to see how far she has come in the past six weeks. In early December we had her adenoids removed and tubes placed in her ears! because she had serious speech delay. She wasn't talking nearly as much as her older siblings did at that age, and the words she DID say sounded very odd... Nasal. I also noticed she was lip reading a lot, and didn't respond with her back turned, sometimes. I had asked her pediatrician about intervention, but she didn't think it was necessary yet.... So I took her to an ENT myself. He scheduled her for surgery the next day, and I'm so glad we did it. 

This morning, my good friend (we will call her Hot Mama) called me to come over with the herd to play with the kiddies in her care, so we all got to have a play date of sorts and a break from the monotony of the Herd Dome. It's so good to have an understandingfriend that I can discuss my crazy Bipolar issues with, kid rearing situations, and know that I'm not being judged. True friends are far and few between, and I'm glad I have her for one! 

Renewal in Running

Today, for the first time in quite some time, I felt a firm sense of resolve in my heart. This was so exciting, and I recognized it for what it was.... I was determined to go running. That disciplined feeling of direction... Knowing that you WILL do something and that it matters. This motivation has been missing from my life for quite some time, and it's extended to much more than just my running life... I'm finally feeling like I WANT to do things... Not just half-heartedly start and abandon them.

The lack of motivation is tied closely to my depression issues... With the paradox being that the less I feel motivated, the less I do... Then the less I do, the less I feel motivated. It's a lose-lose, and I've fought many battles to pull up out of the death spiral of inactivity. I sit there KNOWING that I should do something.... That it WILL help me... But powerless to actually force myself up and out. Usually a random spark of some kind.... Whether it's inspiration from something I've read, or something Someone else does... That gets me going. Once I feel the amazing rush of adrenaline, I'm heading back up and I feel that old friend of mine return... Determination.

I was excited about this run all day long... Anticipated it... Got nervous occasionally that my motivation would escape and I'd feel like a failure for not going. Or that the run would go horribly and my fragile reemergence in the running world would be crushed. It's amazing how something that makes me feel so strong and empowered has the potential to bring me such misery, too, if I don't perform positively. 

I made sure that I had my running clothes on when my husband came home from work.... He knows what that means, it's like a declaration of some kind, and once he's seen me in those clothes I feel like I have to back that up. It's some sort of self-imposed accountability... Even though he doesn't necessarily know that he's a part of that. He's the one person in the world that I'm seriously concerned with pleasing.... I want to make him proud. Even though, deep down, I know that he's proud of me for just being me.... Just existing. To cop out makes me feel weak.... Like a loser. And I always want his respect as a strong, determined woman... For some reason acceptance isn't enough.... It's too passive to satisfy that need in me. I want his earned respect. 

So I headed out... Gingerly, as I always do, for the first tenth of a mile, then I began to find my rhythm. It felt great outside.... Starting to thaw out from the utter frigidity of Tuesday night. Energy was good, legs felt strong but a bit fatigued from starting back earlier in the week. I pushed my distance up to 2.5 miles and completed that in 27:45. I'm not pushing the speed... Just going for a brisk but comfortable pace, and running without stopping to walk. Thought about all kinds of things on the run... While I do listen to music, this is my time of solitude. No one wants anything from me... This is my time. I can always feel the solitude crack like wine glass every time I return home.... The cacophony of my household fills my senses... And I'm usually treated to a hero's welcome... Even though I've only been around the neighborhood. Maybe the kids sense that just getting out the door is a battle for me at times... Or they think that their mom is awesome for running... Or that they're just relieved I'm home so they can sit with me on the couch. Whatever the reason, I accept it gratefully. 

Running is like renewal of the spark of life within me. Can't wait to see what path I set ablaze.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Fun

Since we never EVER have snow, I've been trying to remind the kids to do all of the things that you can only do in snow. They've had a blast throwing snowballs... Making (sort-of) snowmen... NOT sliding on the ice patches that cover our driveway... And of course, we made Snow Cream.
It was so much fun... And tasted soooo good. LLL refused to give her cup back for an hour after she finished her allotment... Just kept scraping the sides with her spoon and licking the remnants. THAT good.

A lot like an Icedream from Chik-FIL-A. I added Whipped Vodka to mine and it tasted like a piƱa colada. Yum.

I played outside with the younger three Herdmembers outdoors while the High Roller worked indoors on business and Butch Cassidy went down the block to play.
We played in our backyard with some sweet neighborhood friends.
It's so crazy to watch Sundance and the little girl across the street, J, play, now that they are both six years old...

When her parents and our family moved on this street, J's mom was very close to giving birth to J, and I was about a month behind her in delivering Sundance. It's been amazing to watch them grow up together, and as siblings have been added to both families.... Such a blessing for the kids to have people they can always talk about their childhood with. 

There are some street friends from childhood I still think about and talk to now, and those memories of adventures and misadventures are fun to relive. Like the time my friend and I decided to make a cigarette (we were about nine or ten) out of a piece of typing paper, and stuff with with leaves and pine straw. She inhaled, I lit the thing... Fire ensued... We got it handled before anyone knew. I've never seen black smoke pour out of someone's mouth like that before though, and it hope I never do again. Need to ask her if she remembers that. But I digress!  
LLL did great as long as she stayed away from the ice... Which wasn't often. She's a glutton for punishment, I think... I only slipped once... Okay twice... And I didn't like it a bit. She kept going back for more. Most of the time she liked to sit in the kiddie chairs with the snowman in the neighbors' yard.

Im being bugged to go get more snow for snow cream, so I will write more later!


Finally, at about 4PM, the big white flakes began to fall at our house.

A little neighbor boy came over and knocked on the door, wanting the Herd to come outdoors, and so the process of cold-proofing the kids began. I was soooo excited to see that ALL of the cold weather gear I organized in their rooms a couple of weeks ago had been scattered to the four ends of the house.... So the treasure hunt was underway. Piece by piece, I prepared the boys, the Princess, then LLL with whatever I could find. They looked like mismatched ruffians, but at least they were warm. And cute. :)
While I was getting the Herd ready, the High Roller got dressed and headed out with them so I could get dressed. Finally, we were all outside. Like thirty minutes later. It was beautiful!!! The kids were playing with neighborhood friends, and we got to talk to our neighborhood friends, who were also outside, for the first time in forever.
It was so nice! It made me think about how God gives us just what we need when we need it... We've had Holidays... And weekends... But those all get full because we pack them full of plans. And plans are nice, but not necessarily relaxing. On a day like this, there's nothing you can do but go with the flow, relax, and enjoy each other. Plans and scheduling are a man made invention.... Not God's. I currently have a bucket outside collecting snow for snow cream! Let's hope I collect enough . 
The kids had so much fun attempting to make snow angels and throwing snow teach other.
We were all trying to catch snowflakes in our mouths and getting them all stuck in our eyelashes. Good memories. Now I'm drying a massive amount of wet clothes and warming up people with blankets. Hoping they go to bed early! 

Snow Day 2 9AM

Thankfully, for the kids' sake, there's still plenty of snow on the ground. I'm forcing them to clean their wrecked rooms before they can go outside, though... Because I'm mean. Butch Cassidy had me all excited about sliding around and jumping on the snow-covered trampoline... Then I remembered that giving birth to four kids then jumping on a trampoline is not a good idea. Dangit. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

3PM Update

So far, our area has had a pitiful showing in the way of snowfall.... Mostly ice and a few rooftops with snow dusting... Or sugar sprinkles, as Sundance observed. We've had to resort to other means of entertainment, since there's currently no snow for us to play in, we are doing laundry (aren't I the coolest mom EVER) and watching music videos on the TV via YouTube. Popular requests, thus far, have been "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin, "Little Red Riding Hood" by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, and Michael Jackson's "Thriller". The all stand still when the scary ending of Thriller comes on...
Dance party with the Herd! 

Burns Night with the Herd

If you know me, you know that I'm in love with my Scottish heritage and all things relating to Scotland.... And I'm raising my kids to embrace their heritages as well (My Scots and the High Roller's Lebanese roots). When I realized that the Burns Night Who is Robert Burns, anyways? I was originally supposed to attend with my local St. Andrew's group was a DRY affair.... No Whisky at a Burns Night or any Scottish celebration is sacrilege in my opinion... I decided to make my own Burns Night at home... It was an opportunity to teach the Herd something and have fun... And celebrate Robert Burns properly (with drams of Scotch).

 The first order of business was to obtain a Haggis. As some may not know, TRUE haggis is illegal in America, because sheep lungs are considered to be not meant for human consumption by the FDA... But there are a few companies in the USA that sell "approved" haggis. However, I wasn't willing to pay the $50 of combined shipping and retail price for it to arrive on time at my home, so I decided to improvise. I scoured Pinterest for recipes, and finally found an easy, organ-free recipe that could be cooked in the crockpot... Much like a meatloaf. And I had everything at home that I needed to make it! So I used ground deer and lamb, along with an egg, various spices and oats... The Princess helped me prepare it :) Want the Recipe?!
She even mashed it up with her little hands and helped me from it into a loaf, so that we could slice it theatrically at supper. I also baked Gluten free Shortbread (it's delicious but a complete pain to make) for our dessert and mashed tatties for our side dish. (Potatoes)

The Kids all colored Scotland themed coloring sheets that I had printed out for them while I briefly told them about Robert Burns and why we celebrate his life and work.
Butch Cassidy and the Princess wore their various articles of tartan...
Sundance was in one of his prickly moods and didn't want to dress up. I don't push that kind of thing. LLL wore a balmoral cap for awhile but decided she didn't want it after all. Thanks to one of my favorite college professors, Dr. Bob Evans, I used a video of a cartoon reading Burns' Address to a Haggis for the kids to watch... And it was designed so that you could turn the character into a picture of a real person...  Tried to make it into a picture of Butch Cassidy but it wouldn't cooperate. So we just watched it plain :) First we said the Selkirk Grace, then ate. Supper was enjoyed by ALL....
A very small amount of the "haggis" was left... And LLL demanded to eat its leftovers yesterday.... Nothing cuter than a two year old saying "aaaaggggeeeese".
I drank my Jura Single Malt and read "A Red, Red Rose" aloud (my favorite Burns poem).
We listened to the Chieftains Long Black Veil Album and traditional pipes music. We had a great time, and I'm so glad I did this.... Even though I feel ridiculous for a lot of my crazy ideas, sometimes. Hopefully they will all have fun memories from these nights.Who is Robert Burns?

Rebirth in Running

For some reason, the rare winter storm's snow inspired me to go for a run tonight for the first time in two months. Longest running hiatus ever for me. I've been in a weird funk that's left me very unmotivated, so when the compulsion hit me to go for a run, I acted on it. It was COLD. I've run in colder temperatures, but I think the ice and snow everywhere made it even colder. A damp cold. I forced myself to push start on my watch and sprint off. My legs became sore pretty quickly, but it was a good sore... The kind that lets you know you're alive and that your body is working hard. Anytime I've ever taken a running break of any kind, that first run back's pain is an affirmation that I'm still a runner and that my body CAN do this... And also a sort of penance for neglecting myself and the roads for so long. The cold burned my face and lungs... My hands became rigid with stiffness from the cold... But I pushed on and reveled in the experience. It was strange running on icy roads... My legs had to work harder to keep traction and remain stable. I'm not sure if it was this struggle or the cold that made my legs feel like lead after a mile, or maybe both, but I'm just glad I didn't let this snow leave without me going for a run unit. I've regretted not running at all in December. Christmas time is usually my favorite time to run... I love looking at all of the Christmas lights and the cool crisp air... I feel like I've wasted it this year. But maybe I've done exactly what my body and soul needed me to do... I've trained so hard for so long, and not allowed myself to heal from the changes and losses that I've experienced... Maybe this was just a time to recover as it all caught up with me. Running has changed a lot for me since last Spring when my running partner moved out of my life. The dynamic of fellowship and support that I held so dear vanished almost overnight, and it left me reeling. I'm still not completely over it... And I don't know when I will be, but I am working to give running a rebirth in my life. I'm ready for it to evolve with me into whatever I need it to be... I just know that I do need it. Ran two miles, non-stop, in my neighborhood at 7 PM with 25 degree air outside. Looking forward to the next journey. Pray I stay motivated and inspired.

12 PM Update

Natives are getting restless. If I get asked about when the snow will arrive one more time, I might let them wait outside so they can see it as soon as it gets here. If this hysteria continues to escalate, I WILL be pouring the Single Malt Scotch early. It's a snow day, right? We DO have tiny icicles...

And the High Roller is home. I think he might be more excited than the Herd about the wintry weather. I'm about to let you in on a secret: Due to the fact that life moves insanely fast over here, and I have resigned myself to the fact that things get down when they HAVE to get done... A Homemaker Triage of sorts (I need to make a flow chart for that)... I have not nagged and thrown enough fits to get the High Roller to take our love Christmas Tree to the dumpster yet. It's been living in its stand on our back porch since January 2. So, when he got home from rescuing Butch Cassidy from school, he took the tree out in the yard to get icicles on it.... For the kids of course ;)
I was even going to get in the spirit of things and make the godforsaken Martha Stewart Ice Orbs, but I must've thrown away all of the water balloons in a junk purging fit.  Oh well. If they're lucky, and we actually get snow, I may make them Snow Ice Cream. I will spike mine.



I'm bringing it to you LIVE from the Herd's living room! Noses have been pressed against the windows all morning, and so far, there's been no rain at our house. But it's coming. The big interstate interchange is already closed due to ice, and strangely, tons of crazy people are still out driving in it, and subsequently, wrecking in it. As for me and the Herd, we will stay put. Butch Cassidy just came in from early dismissal, so now we wait. Some less patiently than others. Check out the Princess... Think she's ready for snow? I'm excited to see what LLL thinks of it- first snow of her lifetime.