Today is the last day of school, and my little boy and I are hanging out on the couch. He is sick. I have showered. Life is good.
I had thought about drugging him up and sending him to school since his fever was down this morning and it is his last day of school. Next year is a new school…so he won’t get to say goodbye to all his teachers. But he was asleep on the couch when I got out of the shower…so no. He is generally VERY bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning. I can tell something is wrong, and he needs to stay home.
I have been thinking how lucky we modern parents are…how a sick kid just means we get a little extra love and mellowness while it passes. We slow down. We rest. We take care, and everything gets better.
How different it was for the past 100,000 years, when all of our relatives and ancestors had a sick child. Death was not as much of a rarity as it is now. How blessed we are.
PSA Moment: And with great blessings come great responsibilities. We must take care of this earth as more and more of us live to use up these precious resources.
Here I am in a small little moment in my life, and it is beautiful.
Tomorrow we being summer, and I am so grateful we are together still. The time – it flies.
There are officially 3 days of the school year left, and I’m beginning to panic.
I love my children, and I will be terribly sad when they leave the nest…but I like them home and in school.
In the past, our summers have been extremely challenging. It’s my hubbie’s super busy time at work, so I am home with the kids all day…trying to work from home and not yell too much. Then it gets too hot to send them outside…and television and screen limits begin. I have deadlines. The kids yell at each other. Dinner is not thought about. Hubbie comes home and has to pick up the pieces after being fried himself, and most of the time it is all just too much.
A few years ago, a friend sent me a sweet little birthday package around my birthday…which also falls in the summer. I never even acknowledged it. I was so exhausted and my nerves were so fried, I forgot about thanking her for it. And while that’s not the only thing that ruined that particular friendship, I’m sure it was a contributing factor. It’s just not our best season.
And now….3 days left.
I know that thinking about it with George R.R. Martin foreboding doom will not help.
But it’s hard.
Since Mother’s Day, I’ve been asking this kids to think about things we can do together. I don’t work much on two days of the week, so I thought if we had a set of goals, it would give us a sense of shared purpose.
So far, we have come up with:
Trying again to plant a sunflower house. (Sunflowers grown in a circle – kids can play inside.)
Building a platform and ladder in a tree behind our playset.
Picnic and play at our local university gardens. I should say picnic and “hang” probably – I have a preteen you know.
Send momma to yoga class once a week…or more. (My daughter is old enough to watch her brother. This may help a lot.)
Switching kids a few afternoons a week with neighbor friends whose momma also works from home.
Going hiking to local places in the morning – before it gets to hot. (It’s such a good idea…I wish I was a morning person.)
Making homemade smoothie popsicles. We love this summer tradition, the secret is using sweetened frozen yogurt instead of boring old healthy yogurt.
Learning how to swim / increasing swim skills. Both kids have not excelled in traditional swim instruction. Luckily their father discovered the Australian system Uswim – has worked much better and everything you need is there for free.
Figuring out a way to make Fun Friday at home…again I think the boredom of hot days running into each other will best be combated by a predictable schedule that remains somewhat flexible.
MOST IMPORTANTLY – Remember to make an Awesome List together. This practice has helped me through the summer better than anything else. In fact, I should probably start it now. Today, I was a good mom and tried to change my nasty attitude about the fact that summer is coming. Awesome!
To all you mommas who love summer, you inspire me!
Every year on Mother’s Day we go out to eat. We only order off the appetizer menu, and I always have a mimosa (or two.) Then we go buy hanging baskets and annuals for the window boxes and spend the rest of the day outside – provided the weather cooperates. It is always perfect.
This year promises to be no different. I am truly blessed.
Today my hubbie picked up an outdoor cookbook at a terrific yard sale, and on the back page, this was written:
Recipe for Preserved Children
from a Hawaiian cookbook
Take one large field, half a dozen children, 2 or 3 small dogs, a pinch of brook and some pebbles. Mix the children and the dogs together well; put them in the field, stirring constantly. Pour the brook over the pebbles, sprinkle the field with flowers, spread over all a deep blue sky and bake in the sun. When brown, set away to cool in a bathtub.
It made my Mother’s Day weekend even better, and I wanted to share it with you.
So, I’m going kind of slow with my mini-self-renewal program. Read about Phase 1 and Phase 2 if you need to catch up.
Today I woke up to a very sleepy girl, sent her back to bed, and went back to bed myself. She woke up, felt better, and then all hell broke lose trying to get her to school on time. We did. I am still grouchy.
Being a single mom sucks sometimes, and I’ve only been doing it for 3 days. Practically all my friends have husbands who travel, and they seem to do fine. Obviously my thoughts go to:
I am a weaker person than everyone else who manages – I’m terrible.
I would be an awful single mother to my sweet children – lots of other people do it – why do I suck? I’m terrible.
I totally take all my husband does for our family every day (which includes making breakfasts and lunches and sometimes dinners) for granted – I’m terrible.
I’m know I’m not really terrible. I’m human and I have deep dark holes and insecurities and strengths and weaknesses like everyone else on the planet. I also have this pesky brain injury which means I need more sleep than most…which sometimes makes it hard to handle basic chores and work and such.
But something isn’t quite working as well as I’d like it to be, so it’s time to move onto Phase 3 – Checking In. What’s working and what’s not? Making changes without feeling bad about falling off the peace practice wagon.
Gratitude: I can turn a bad mood around like a pro. I can find gratitude in the weirdest things…it’s a gift.
Self-Care: Usually good. I struggle with balance here. Like, is it okay to sit around all day knitting and watching movies if I also do laundry but take a day off from everything else? Last night, I decided that one glass of wine and a movie after the kids were in bed was a good plan…but then the movie lasted too long and I didn’t get enough sleep. Whoops. But to turn it around, lack of sleep sometimes helps me realize what’s working and what’s not. So, that’s something.
I’m okay really, but I want to go deeper….and I know exactly what I need to do.
Oh you fickle mistress – Meditation!
It always helps. Always. Always. Always.
It is always the first thing that goes when life happens to me, and so it’s time to bring it back. It only took lack of sleep and and out-of-town hubbie to make this clear to me.
Mindfulness practices, and there are a bunch, help me rise above getting lost in my own drama. When you practice experiencing an emotion fully – with your eyes closed and no distractions – and tell yourself that you have room for this painful feeling….that your heart is big enough to feel this without cracking…your world changes.
It’s so simple, but it does take practice. Here’s a mini-version of what one of my mindfulness meditations look like. I have to speak my thoughts as they come, which I wouldn’t normally do of course. But I hope this will help you see how it works. Please try if you need it. It is not too hard, and it works so well.
Notes from Brene’s Brown fabulous talk on vulnerability being the key to wholehearted living. Watch it if you have time, it’s about 20 minutes.
The difference between folks who struggle for worthiness – who are always wondering if they are good enough
people who have a sense of worthiness – a strong sense of love and belonging
whether or not they believe they are worthy of love and belonging.
Have the courage to be imperfect.
Have the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.
Have connection with others – through authenticity. They are willing to let go of who they think they should be, in order to be who they are. You must do this for real connection.
Fully embrace vulnerability. They believe what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful. That while vulnerability can be uncomfortable, it is just necessary…the willingness to so something without any guarantees.
Vulnerability is kind of the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.
Our job as parents is to look and say, you know what, you are imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.
I’ll never forget one particular episode of King of the Hill where Cotton’s (Hank’s dad) new wife told him he had to take care of the baby. Her exact words were: I need some me time, to do laundry.
I love that. It sums up so much of the motherhood experience.
Lines between self and family blur. This baby was part of your body and now will never stray far from your thoughts.
The amount of dirty dishes in the sink, dirty laundry on the floors or in the hamper, food in the fridge, weeds in the garden all begin to seep into your sense of self in a new way.
It’s Feng Shui. The state of your home and the way it feels affects the way you feel…and taking care of the home can feel like “me time.”
I am experiencing something similar this week. Yesterday I did 9 loads of laundry and watched a movie. It was relaxing, and it felt good.
Today I have cleaned my office, run errands, made bread, made soap (Lavender Rosemary Mint…should be interesting,) dyed some of my faded black clothes back to black, and took a shower. I’ve even managed to squeeze in a bit of work, and it’s not even 1 p.m. yet. This is an amazing day. I’m getting so much done, and I’m not even mad about it. Ha!
Had I not taken yesterday slow, I bet I would not feel like this now though.
I’m not saying this will always be the case. Moods are a beautiful consequence of brain chemistry which changes like the weather. Certainly next week or even tomorrow the mountain of laundry could upset me.
But that’s okay. Today life is good. Breathing into that now always helps.
I’ve been hesitant to write much about the Boston Marathon attacks for a few reasons.
I’m not a runner. I’ve tried really hard twice to become one, but so far it just isn’t happening. I seem to be a yoga girl. My insight into the suffering of runners and spectators is limited because I’ve never been able to understand why anyone would want to run 26.2 miles by choice.
I’ve been hoping and praying that the suspects were not Arab or Muslim…like I didn’t want to breathe. I was sitting in fear of dealing with yet another batch of anti-Arab bigotry in this country. Now that it’s been discovered that they are Russian Muslims…well…it is what it is.
I felt I couldn’t say it much better than Mr. Rogers and Mr. Oswalt did.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world. - Fred Rogers
You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. … This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.” – Patton Oswalt
But today, I have been thinking more about it. The only thing I can add is: be kind to those around you today.
Originally published 4/5/11 – totally still working! (Also, by far, this post has the most views by far of any of my 400+ articles – over 5000 – go figure?!)
I hate ants. I really, really hate seeing those nasty little suckers in my house. To me, ants in the house means my failure as an adult – unable to keep my home clean enough that ants stay away. I have heard rumors that ants look for dry nesting sites in the spring, especially when the ground is wet. I have also heard that all of my neighbors get them around this time of year. I don’t care. I want them gone.
Being chemical free has its drawbacks, and not being able to immediately eradicate the ants at first sign is certainly one of them. It is possible, that at some point in the past 3 years since my chemical-free lifestyle started, I broke down in tears and did allow the use of chemical pesticides to get rid of the flipping ants. Sigh.
This year, though, I think I may have found the holy grail: Non-Toxic Homemade Ant Killer. And there was much rejoicing!!!
Here is what I did:
Fill one 8 oz. spray bottle half way with distilled water
Add 30 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil
Add 15 drops of Cassia Essential Oil
Ad 10 drops of Clove Essential Oil
Fill to the top with distilled water
Shake Shake Shake
Spray Spray Spray wherever I see ants – even on them.
There are no chemicals at all in this stuff. It is safe to spray. So far, I have sprayed it on wood floors, wood chair legs, dog food mats, rugs, metal doors and painted wooden windowsills.
It has been almost 3 days, and so far they are lessening in numbers quite a bit. I have found that spraying a few times a day in the areas I saw them over the weekend – whether or not I see them right then – does seem to help quite a bit too. I have also found that spraying it right on them seems to make them give up their desire to go on and sometimes they just stop moving right there. It doesn’t kill them on contact, as it’s just essential oils. Still – it always slows them down enough for me to grab a tissue and smush them. Take that! Smush Smush Smuch!!!
The ants hate Christmas scents. Who knew?
My house smells so good too. Take this information and use it wisely my friends.