Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Wondering

Why is it that as soon as our Turtles started sleeping through the night Vivi started getting up four or five times?

Why is it that, after a freak white-water rafting mishap ten years ago, I needed to sacrifice a molar to the oral surgeon four days before Thanksgiving?

Why is it that other people tell you how sweet and curious and polite your three-year-old is but you, the mother, rarely see that behavior at home?

My husband says that all this is just Murphy's Law.

Why is it that I forgot that the rug cleaners were supposed to come at 8:30 this morning yet I still managed to have on decent pajamas and a polar fleece jacket thick enough to cover my braless state?

That, my friends, is really good luck.

Today, like most days, I am thankful for my good luck. Sure, it's not lucky to be getting up frequently at night, to have a crater-sized hole where my molar used to be, or to have to deal with a really cranky kid. BUT if I never had the good luck to meet my husband, I wouldn't have all of the wonderful things that I have in my life now.

Like this:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cleaning Lady

I grew up in a very small house with five siblings, two parents, a dog, and tons of stuff. We had one bathroom and a tiny living room. The house was always a disaster and the noise level rivaled that of a rock concert. It was 1200 square feet of overstimulation and I have no idea how I survived it. My heart races a little now just thinking of it.

You see, I am the type of person who likes things a certain way. I need quiet to clear my head. I need to know where my things are. I need to have my bills paid on time, my children bathed semi-regularly, and I need to have the house in a condition that is clean and presentable. I have tried embracing the chaos that rules my every day but it is a fight against who I truly am-- a type A control freak who thrives on routine and feels more comfortable in a library (ahh... quiet! systems! organization!) than in her own freaking house (noise! chaos! filth! boo...). I get the joke the universe has played on me with these twins and a pre-schooler but it doesn't mean I have to find it funny.

So what is a gal like me to do? My husband suggested that we get more help "with the kids" but the reality is I actually enjoy my children most of the time. What I don't enjoy is mopping the floors and dusting. I want to be able to play with my Turtles and not be thinking about how I should clean the floors because they are on the cusp of crawling. Frankly, I want to be rid of that burden and since I don't have the capability to just let it go mentally, we are hiring a cleaning lady.

She comes tomorrow to inspect the place and give me her rate. Naturally, I spent the weekend cleaning. I wouldn't want her to think that we're a bunch of exhausted slobs who can't manage their messy children now can !?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Handmade for the Holidays

There are many blogs that I peruse on a semi-regular basis. I like to read about other mothers' trials and tribulations, particularly those who have multiples. I keep up to date on friends' travels and other adventures. I have a few blogs with health and environmentalism bents that I enjoy and of course, there's no shortage of craft and sewing tutorials to keep my hands busy. Being relatively new to the whole blogosphere, it's a real thrill happening upon something that makes me laugh or makes my life a little bit saner or more "green."

A few weeks ago when I was reading The Crunchy Chicken blog, I found the perfect way to approach the holidays this year. With her "Buy Hand" challenge, this blogger asks that you do one or more of the following:
  • hand-make your gifts
  • buy your gifts that are handmade by someone else (like from Etsy or a local craftsperson)
  • buy it used either at a thrift store, yard sale, Craigslist or Freecycle, etc.
  • buy tickets, memberships to museums, or another non-tangible item
  • barter for your gifts
So I went ahead and took the pledge. This takes all the things that I love (the holidays, my family, crafting, and being conscious of my impact on the environment) and rolls it all into one.

As I've blogged about in the past, December has a way of getting out of control very quickly around here. I have five siblings and my husband has three. Combine that with some very generous grandparents, Santa Claus, and eight nights of Hanukkah and all of a sudden we have one bleary-eyed pre-schooler tearing through wrapping paper without any clue of how to take it all in. It truly is an embarrassment of riches. With the Buy Hand challenge, I'm hoping to emphasize the process and love that goes into the things we give and make it less about the stuff. I don't want to deprive the grandparents and aunts the joy of giving my girls' gifts, I just want to take a step back within our little family. Since we'll be home for the holidays this year, it should be a lot easier.

But how to do it? First, I've turned our dining room into my crafting room which gives me a place to go. With everything already out, it makes it easy to sit down and get to work after the kids are in bed. So far, I've whipped up leg warmers, rattles, bibs, fairy wands, snack sacks, a "memory" game out of paint chip cards, and various other doo dads for the girls' stockings. We'll round them out with some used board books for the Turtles' and a video for Vivi.

With the gifts from us, Vivi is getting a scooter from Santa (found in great condition on Craig's List for $15) and a homemade canopy/reading nook from Mom and Dad for her new room. We are in the market for a used BOB duallie stroller which will be the Turtles' and our gift to each other. (Take that crappy ol' New England sidewalks!) I'll probably let Vivi pick out a used book or something small from a local craft fair to give to her sisters and her dad. That's it.

Any night after 7:15, you can find me in the dining room getting my craft on. Why not come on over and join me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Done

Vivi's room is done and the girl is all moved in. I'm no Martha Stewart but I did put on my crafty pants (with the elastic waist) and let a little acrylic paint fly. Then, because that wasn't enough and I needed another way to channel (increase?) my stress, I decided to sew her some curtains. Alas, the final product:









Still working on the curtains to the Turtles' room so stay tuned.

Mama Rage

I don't seem to be lacking in anger these days. This home improvement project has me stressed beyond belief and I find myself barely able to keep my mama rage in check. I am exhausted to the core from eight months of little sleep and I have little patience for the usual shenanigans that come with having a three-year old in the house.

This morning, Vivi intentionally woke up one of her sisters. Just one. For those of you without twins, one baby awake in the morning while the other sleeps is pretty much a guarantee that there will not be one moment that day when they both will be sleeping. Not one. The rage that erupted from within me after Vivi's transgression was disgusting. A full-on volcano of anger and issues spewing forth with little warning to anyone who happened to be around. I am ashamed of myself. Three-year olds are expected to do annoying stuff like this so why the hell am I the one acting like a child?

To top off my nasty mood, my husband called me a control freak. My husband, who never says a mean word about anyone, actually called me that and so I swore and threw a People magazine at him. It would almost be funny if I didn't feel like I am desperately clinging to my sanity.

If there is nothing that exists in my life that is calm and peaceful, how can I expect my mind and mood to be too? Or is that just a requirement for being a sane grown-up?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Almost There

After a month of dust, drywall, lead, and tears, the end is in sight for our home renovation project. Hot damn! Of course, the cost will be more than double what we expected but unexpectedly doubling things seems to be what we do.

Vivi should be out of the basement and into her new space by Sunday. The ceiling needs to be painted and the room could use a thorough cleaning but other than that it is ready to go. I've got some crafty ideas up my sleeve which I hope to have time to implement, not the least of which is making her curtains. We'll see how that goes. Until the final unveiling, you can get a look at the room here:


The Turtles' room still has a ways to go. To combat the lead paint on the floor, it made the most sense for us to install a brand new floor on top of the existing one. That will go in on Saturday. We could have just ripped out the part with the paint but that would have meant we would have needed to remove the built-ins as well. Since we had just shelled out a bunch of money to rebuild said built-ins (in the pre-lead discovery period), I was a wee bit unenthusiastic to go that route. Here's the room as it stands now:


I'll post final room pictures in a week or so. Let Operation Basement Exodus begin!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bad Sign?

Is it a bad sign when last night at dinner I offered Vivi juice and she said, "I don't know, Mama. Does it have protein in it?"


Is it also a bad sign when my husband greets the day by saying, "Only about 1000 more days until they [our girls] are all in school!"?


Well, when you put it that way. At least one Turtle didn't seem to mind.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Code Words

Saturday mornings around this place are pretty standard. My husband watches the kids while he talks to his father between 8 and 9 a.m. There's usually a lot of noise but I manage to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep during this time. Then, as his conversation finishes up, my husband gathers his checkbook and co-payments from the week and prepares to head off to the bank. Vivi accompanies him with the sole purpose of getting a lollipop and I get to ease into my morning with one less child in the house. It's been a pretty good system overall.


On Halloween morning, things took a different turn with this conversation:

Husband: "I am going to go to the b-a-n-k by myself because she [Vivi] will get plenty of candy tonight."

Me: "Good point. Are you going now?"

Vivi: "Daddy, where are you going?"

Husband: "I am going to take care of some business."

Vivi: "I want to go with you!"

Husband: "You don' t even know where I am going. I'll be right back."

Vivi, near hysterical: "DADDY!! I want to go to the B-A-N-K!!!!!"


As Vivi turned from toddler to preschooler, we discovered that she was picking up on a lot of conversations that weren't meant for her ears. She was never a child to miss much but when she recently called our eccentric neighbor "Crazy J," I knew I had to keep my less than complimentary opinions to myself. Or, at least wait until well after bedtime.

So much for our code words.