Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This and that

At this point in the day, a little after 1, when the kids are having naptime/ quiet time, that's when my brain wants to shut down too.  But today I'm determined that it won't because this is my blogging time, and the only time I have lately for it.  I've got my coffee next to me, and I'm going to see if I can't throw together some kind of summer update.  I've been starting and stopping a lot with this post, even though I have all kinds of things to talk about.  Maybe I'm feeling a little discouraged about it.  Sometimes I forget my whole purpose in starting it in the first place -- it's not to showcase my extraordinary writing talent (*eye roll*), but really just a way that I can take snapshots of our life from time to time, that I will get to have forever and pass on to the kids.  A living scrapbook and journal, I guess.  The secondary but also very important purpose, is to give our geographically distant family and friends a window into our lives, and to allow them to watch the kids grow and change along with us.  Those were my two reasons for starting this thing in the first place, but another beautiful thing that has emerged is what it does just for me.  It allows me to step back and take a look at us and be like, 'You know what, we have a great life.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  It may feel like bumbling but we are doing a pretty good job of raising this family, loving each other and making the most of what we're given.'  I love the perspective it gives me.  Over the four years I've been doing this, I've also eagerly followed the blogs of my friends.  I'm sure they had some of the same reasons as me for starting theirs, but I've seen so many of them fall by the wayside.  It makes me sad, but I do understand that there are a limited number of hours in the day and so very many things to do in those precious few hours that we get to decide what to do with.  I don't know where the inspiration is coming from to make me keep coming back, but I know that it is just as much a gift to myself as the occasional pedicure or working out and eating healthy.

Sometimes the perfectionist in me gets so caught up in looking for ways to improve, trying to find just the right way to say something, and worst of all, criticizing and nitpicking everything I've ever written here.  When I hold myself to some unattainable standard of perfection, I find myself coming up short in all kinds of ways, but most of all just feeling so bland, ordinary and uninteresting.  And cheesy.  Like, why would anyone want to read this crap?  But I know better than that.  I know what a horrible waste of time it is to think that way.  I've said it before but I really need to believe it -- the handful of people who love me/us (or at least like us a lot) will love this, and those who don't aren't even reading.  There's nobody to impress.

So here goes..

This week is the last typical week of summer for us, and not only that, but it's our last summer in North Carolina.  Next week we'll be on vacation in Emerald Isle, another lovely spot close by to where we live. Nothing like arriving at your destination after less than an hour, with a car full of groceries!  Delaney will start school the Monday after we get back.  It makes me sad to think of this being the last summer here.  I'm a creature of habit, and the daily habit of working out and then taking the kids to the pool can't be beat, in my opinion.  Now that Tim's home, I don't even have to fit in a big grocery trip -- Tim goes to the commissary for me, and all I have to do is make short produce runs a few times a week.  I know that pools and gyms and Ys and fun summers exist in places other than North Carolina, but I can't help but wonder will I like it just as much?  Another thing: how long will it take me to make friends after we move?  All I did the first few months after moving here was complain about how I lived all alone on a suburban island.  Then gradually I got to know some great people, and so many more who are just friendly faces.  As introverted as I am, I love to belong, and I feel like I belong here.  Have I learned any lessons so as to avoid the pain of getting to this point in whatever location we find ourselves in next?  That I can't say.  Maybe I will just take it more in stride and understand that I have to go through a fish-out-of-water stage before I settle in.  So my goal for this week has been to keep the cranky to a minimum and take a deep breath when Annie asks me for the umpteenth time, "What are we doing (in the morning?  after naps? next?)", and remember to appreciate the here and now.

The girls are taking swim lessons this week.  Delaney is a pretty strong swimmer, but her freestyle needs a lot of work.  It's like watching myself in the water.  I never could get the hang of that.  I think she enjoys it a lot, and I may have her do another session of lessons in the fall, her and Annie both.  Annie is coming along too.  She can jump in and swim without her floatie but she prefers to have it on most of the time.
Tim has been helping me a lot these past few weeks with getting the girls back into the habit of keeping their beds made, and their room and playroom clean.  I kind of let it all go while he was gone, and just didn't want to bother most of the time.  But it is so important to instill good habits and get them to help out more.  Another thing is, whenever we take them to a store they want this or that, and Tim says, "Where's your money?"  They need an opportunity to earn some because we're not just going to give them an allowance which is money for nothing.  I have heard the argument that you should not be giving kids money for doing the things they're supposed to do around the house anyway, and maybe that is true.  But coming up with any kind of system is so hard and we need to start somewhere.  So this is attempt #3 at a chore chart, and we'll see how long it lasts.  I've made it possible to only earn whole dollar amounts because last time we did this I made every star worth 10 cents.  Then I got annoyed at the end of the week when I had to count out dimes.  Now, if one of them earns 29 stars one week, we'll say, "One more and you could have earned $3.  You'll have to try harder next week."  This will allow them to have their own money to buy the little stuffed animals and other little things they like.  Maybe after we've gotten them used to helping out and then seeing the "fruits of their labors," we can then start to figure out a way to get them to give as well.  But one thing at a time.  
I took Timmy for a haircut last Monday, and it's the most hair he's ever had cut off.  I can't believe how it transformed him to looking like such a bigger boy.  He's so handsome and I love seeing his forehead and ears again.  I had grown rather attached to his shaggy surfer dude look, but this really suits him too.  It must also be so much cooler in the heat, although he doesn't seem to care either way.
Tim calls him "Timmy the Turd", and unfortunately he's said it around the girls and they think it's funny to call him that too.  "TimmytheTurd!" "TimmytheTurd!"  Timmy is rather undisciplined and doesn't like to follow instructions, and sometimes tries to bolt out into the street or across a parking lot.  He can also be whiny and demanding and clingy.  You know why, right?  Because of me, of course.  I raised him that way while Tim was deployed.  Sarcasm aside, there does seem to be a connection between his worst behavior and my presence.  Tim will tell me that while I was gone, he was "Timmy the Terrific!"  As soon as he sees me, he starts to cry and want to be held.  He is so needy that I don't know what to do with him sometimes.  Even just holding him isn't always enough.  He says, "Up, up" and tries to climb higher on me and tighten his arms around my neck.  I don't remember going through this with the girls.  By the time they were his age, there was another baby and they quickly grew accustomed to not being the one I was holding all the time.  It also helped that Tim was home at least a good portion every day for the first couple months of Annie's life, and he and and Delaney got to be good buddies.  Every situation is so different that it's hard to compare.  I don't like to admit this and lend any credence to Tim's opinion, but it may be just be the tiniest bit possible that I foster that neediness in him.  I love to lavish him with affection because he's so darn cute.  Perhaps I spoil him with all the holding.  But I hasten to add that I do tell him no whenever and wherever he needs to be told.  The only thing worse than a two-year-old who is whining and crying to get his way is the two-year-old who knows he can always get his way.  I might be encouraging him to be a mama's boy, but NOT a brat.

I'm going to wrap this up with a few random pictures, seeing as how I've run out of things to say and naptime is over.
The beach is so much more fun with Daddy around.  I believe this was taken the same day he rescued a couple of kids out of the ocean.  It really IS good to have him around.
Fun Friday!


  1. Your kids are so adorable and I love following your blog. I blog for similar reasons - basically just to give my kids something to read when they're older and remember their childhood and also to reflect back on what a good life we have - it's easy to get caught up in the negatives, but when I sit down to write, I always try to spin things in a positive fashion because that's how I want to remember my days, my kids and my family.