Saturday, February 28, 2009

In the Garden

I got to spend some time working in the yard today.  I cleaned up a bit in the vegetable garden area.  Since I had surgery at the end of the summer last year, I didn't get it cleaned up very well.  I found a few surprises- namely, some green onions that survived the winter and several volunteer strawberry plants.  The chives are just sending out new growth.  I still have more cleaning up to do, but it felt good to get out and say hi to the worms.

I noticed some new growth on the clematis, too - it must have popped out in the last day or two, because I look at that thing every day many times through the kitchen window, and this is the first time I've seen any green this year.  

The helebores are blooming wonderfully in front.  I can see them from the dining room table.  I love to look at them, especially this time of year when there isn't much else happening in my yard.  It makes me see how important it is to design with all four seasons in mind; the winter can be pretty drab without variety of blooms.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Carkeek Park

I took Annika with me today to check out the Environmental Learning Center at Carkeek Park.  It has been several years since I have been there, and we had a bluebird day to enjoy with no appointments till the evening.


We stopped at the learning center and chatted with a former colleague of mine, Brian.  

The little one and I checked out the taxidermy (Annika liked petting the mountain beaver, squirrel and crow) and then took a walk around the backyard habitat demonstration garden.  It seems that spring is farther along there, since the red-flowering currant is already leafing out, but mine aren't.


Then, since it was lunch time, we drove down the hill to the playground for lunch and some play time before heading back home for a nap.  I had wanted to spend some time walking the trails there, but Annika wasn't really in the mood, so we'll have to come back another time.  It was so nice to be outside for a bit, soaking up the sunshine.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

There have been many days lately when I feel as if I am living my life in several separate categories.  I wake up and do the mom thing, nurturing, organizing, preparing children to meet the world, while trying to get a start on the housework.  If I am able to drag myself out of bed earlier, I get to live in the spiritual category for a bit before the kids get up and I have to switch gears.  I spend a large amount of mental and physical energy organizing, planning, making sure all the details of our lives are taken care of - meals planned, shopped for, prepared and cleaned up; clothes washed, folded and put away so everyone has something to wear again; babysitters called for my appointments; appointments remembered and attended on time; birthdays and holidays made special and unique; trips packed for and planned for; diaper bag packed and snacks prepared for every outing; keeping Gabriel up to date on his schoolwork; always trying to stay one step ahead of the game.  This is my planning category.  It takes up much of my brain.  

Then sometimes I am in the patient category, the one where I am the needy girl seeking healing for my body and mind and spirit.  I am in this role for more hours out of the week than I would like to be.  I switch back and forth at the drop of a hat.  "It's time for PT now, I am the patient; OK that's done, I'm the mom again."  I resent being in this category.  It causes me a lot of frustration.

Of course, I can't forget the wife role.  Though it seems as if this part of me gets short-sheeted way to often.  I want to make the marriage category more prominent this year.  It is tough to get out of the habit of not protecting that space.  Most days, my other roles clamor so loudly for attention that by the time they are satisfied, it's late and I'm tired and put off being a wife.

The crafty side of me manages to get some fulfillment most days.  It is greedy, though, and always wants more.  I feel like I stop being a mom or a provider when I sit down with arts or knitting or something like that.  It feels selfish.  But satisfying and calming.  There is another side that I am trying to carve time and energy out for, and that is the career category.  Writing, hiking, creating a web site, teaching - all these things need to be done at some point during the week.  How do I make enough time for this category?  While still meeting the needs in all the other roles?

The thing that is getting to me is that everything has to run smoothly in the schedule of the day for me to feel successful in pursuing each category of my life.  And though I hate to admit it, I am not the most disciplined woman in the world.  I try to stick to routines to make life smoother, and yet constantly feel as if I am trying to get caught up in those routines.  

I have realized that it is hard to be a mom and a perfectionist at the same time.  I have been feeling that same panic I fought in college, where I tried so hard to be good and do the right thing, and that panic tempts me to shut down, to give up and shut others out, to berate myself for not being able to get it all together (I mean, everyone else has it together, right?).  It's exhausting to fight against those demons and exhausting to keep up with everything to try to keep them at bay.  I think I need some of my children's super powers LOL!!

There must be some way to find a balance - to be able to fulfill the parenting role while still being true to myself and my own pursuits.  Maybe there is a better way to merge all the categories and roles I try to create.  It's a lot to think about.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


There are some days as a mom when I wish I had a Paying Job to go to, where I could leave whining and tantrums and messes and poop and futility behind for a few hours (at least, that's the fantasy). We all know why the Terrible Twos are called that, and that Three is worse than Two in some respects. I will also admit that my daughter is easier than my son was at this age, but sometimes I wish we could skip right to Six.

My daughter kept asking me today if I was mad.  Well, yes, there were several times I was mad today.  For instance, when I got out of the shower to find that, while taking care of her own breakfast, Annika decided that she didn't want any more yogurt to go with her agave nectar, she would just have the agave nectar plain.  She ate half the bottle.  At least she used a bowl and spoon.

Then she would not choose any pants or shirt to wear.  She wanted to go naked.  She didn't want to wear underwear or a diaper.  I managed to compromise with her and let her go around in a diaper until it was time to take Gabriel to school.  A bit later she decided she wanted to go outside to see the airplane flying over.  Temps were in the 30's .  I told her she wasn't dressed and she couldn't go outside.  Her response:  I'll get my blankie to keep me warm!  And rubber boots!  Well, that didn't last long.

Lunch is always interesting, because she only wants PB&J, and she wants to make it herself.  I opened a brand new jar of peanut butter, and as I was messily stirring the oil into it, she stuck her whole hand in the jar and grabbed a handful.  Oil was dripping off her fingers all over.  I hastily reached for a wash cloth, but I wasn't quick enough.  She wiped it off on her clothes.  Nice.  That's going to leave a stain.

She wouldn't take a nap.  She fought with her brother.  She pooped in the tub during her bath.  She pooped at the Dr's office, immediately after she denied needing to go poop.  She dumped all the crayons out of the box and colored in one of Gabriel's books.  She doesn't want to wear a diaper but won't go potty in the toilet so she can wear underwear.  She wants to wear her backpack to take Gabriel to school, but then hands it to me to carry after only a minute or so.  She won't wear her hat on a cold morning, but heaven forbid I should try to leave it at home - I'll hear about it then! 

It can be so lonely and demoralizing being a mom.  Some days feel like I'm in a battle zone, in the trenches, trying madly to keep my sanity.  Or that I'm walking on eggshells, hoping beyond hope to avoid a confrontation because I just don't have the energy to fight her.  Not all days are like this, of course, and I am trying to learn to not take things so personally.  I think I've relaxed a bit since I went through this stage with Gabriel, and I notice more little moments to enjoy along the way.  I've learned a thing or two in the past few years, like validating emotions, letting her have appropriate choices and deal with the consequences, and even how to take care of myself.  But I still hope tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Adventures in Knitting

I've been following several blogs recently of women who knit. They are talented and prolific, and last November I started yearning to be able to knit, too. I told myself that after the craziness of Christmas I would learn to knit. I got a book from the yarn store and some needles and yarn, and found an easy pattern on the internet. After making a practice swatch, I began a scarf. Here is what it looks like so far:

My second project is for a friend of mine who has a new baby. I made my first hat.

It was fun! I am learning so much from this, and oh my, it is addictive. I enjoy going into the yarn shops, though my hubby is a bit shocked at the expenses. I've discovered Ravelry. And my kids are clamoring for me to make them something. I might just have another project or two up my sleeve....


We got a new kitty on Saturday. Grandma has moved recently, and one of her cats needed a different place to call home. We've been keeping her in the office with the door closed so that she and our other two cats can get to know each other. We let her out sometimes to explore when it's safe. She is younger than our other two, and more spunky. She gives love nips and scratches; hopefully this will calm down a bit once she settles in. She's claimed a spot on hubby's chair. She is so pretty with her multiple colors.