My "friend" recently shared this picture with me. It captures my feelings on seagulls perfectly and I'm sharing it with you even though I shudder with horror every time I have to look at it. I'm not sure this "friend" should be trusted anymore...
I spent much of the day on the couch with an off and on fever and scratchy throat - not really conducive for child care. Plus I missed my weekly chat session with my friend where we ignore our children (if there's no blood you're fine!) and talk for 2 hours straight - annoying!
Anyway, I know that everybody thinks their kids are totally amazing (as it should be), and if you read all of my kid posts you're either their grandparents or you are a very generous person.
Today, they really were extraordinary. The Princess did her thing and sat with me on the couch, even telling me to get back to the couch when I got up to switch out the laundry or check my email. Sweetpea...well she wandered around the house chatting happily, talking with me on the phone for a while and stopping by every once in a while to read another page of Dr. Suess.
And then, we played Trick or Treat in the afternoon with The Princess bringing me the treats and then returning to pick them up in her basket which was the yellow plastic sink from her kitchen. All while I was on the couch listening to Sweetpea putter her way through the house. (This is why I'm thankful for a small house. I can keep an ear on her even when she's out of sight.)
This was my facebook post the other morning. "Had to dislodge multiple small (stuffed) animals from my boots this morning before I could get them on!"
A nice reminder of the little ones still sleeping in their cozy beds at home.
Also a reminder of this other time... We hadn't been in Kenya long when I learned an important lesson. I was getting ready to leave the house so I grabbed my shoes and quickly slipped them on. The right one felt a little tight but I ignored it so that I could grab what I needed before leaving.
After walking around a couple of minutes, I finally admitted that it was just too tight and plopped down on the floor to investigate. Pulling off the shoe, I peered inside to see what was blocking my toes.
Two small eyes peered back at me.
I dropped the shoe.
A gecko crawled out and drunkenly walked across the room and out the door while I sat lightheaded and speechless.
How that gecko survived his dizzying ride in my shoe without being squished between my toes (Just the thought makes me shudder. Gecko guts oozing between my toes...aaagggh!) I will never know. I'm just so glad that no clean-up was required!
Lesson Learned: always check your shoes before you put them on! Obviously, I've since forgotten this gem.
I'm feeling bombarded with the fragility of people . We're just doing the best we can, right? At least I hope so.
Depression and exhaustion, anxiety and waves of crap just stirred up and dumped into laps to deal with the best we can. Friends, acquaintances and people I've never even met but have followed their blogs for years and feel like I'm connected in wispy strands of blue ether, all struggling to hold it together, to hold their marriages together, to balance the myriad of responsibilities that are thrown at them.
And I want a guarantee. I want the assurance that it won't happen to me. If I make good decisions, if I'm responsible, and if I give thanks for what I have right now, I'll be able to keep it all.
But I know.
There are no guarantees. Not in this life. I can't stack the deck. I don't deserve it just because I want to. Life happens, people make mistakes, get sick, struggle with everything they have and still can't make things right.
So I have to figure out how to navigate without that coveted assurance. To trust and love, laugh and cry with all of me. All while knowing that I could be ripped in two, but choosing to live anyway. I'm working to use my fear, my sadness, and my bewilderment as a mirror that reflects how good my life truly is right at this moment and to be thankful for it with every cell in my being. And I resent that my joy is tainted by pain and I'm thankful that pain reminds me again how blessed I truly am. And my joy is even more precious because I know what the opposite is.
They were swaddled for so long (9 months for each of them) that I guess it still just feels comfortable and relaxing...The Princess requests a good swaddle every once in a while but those toes are almost poking out now!
Considering December was full of Advent activities, Birthday celebrations and, of course, Christmas, I actually stuck fairly well to my menu.
Which means I managed to find two recipes that I won't be making again (Have you ever had orange chicken that was TOO citrusy? Yep, that was a problem.) Two strike outs - I knew they were coming.
I did find one really good one.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic - Really good and really easy IF you buy the already peeled cloves. That's right, I peeled 40 cloves myself (without the garlic roller because it's disappeared at the exact wrong moment!)...Ridiculous!
So...I thought I'd try something new. You know: New Year, New You!
Because I'm a Pinterest addict (there's probably a support group for that.) I kept seeing little pins for "No-Poo" (ewww! Sounds gross! But wait!) I finally broke down and clicked which led me down the rabbit hole to a whole movement of ditching the shampoo and using baking soda and vinegar instead. "What could it hurt?" I thought. "I will be chemical free and saving money - two things I like!"
After I made Steve promise he would tell me if I started to smell and he rolled his eyes at my latest weird endeavor, I dutifully mixed up my baking soda mixture and then my vinegar rinse, toted the concoctions to the shower, and gave it a try.
Weird, although, since I was scrubbing so hard with my fingers trying to make sure my head was clean with just baking soda, I got a nice head massage out of it. "I can do this for two weeks," I told myself. "Two weeks to beautiful hair and a new, chemical free me. I will glow with natural beauty...I will inspire the world around me...."
People, I lasted 5 whole days and then I TOTALLY CAVED! I couldn't even make it through the transition period. The transition period that can take 2 weeks to a month (I saw one person say up to 2 months. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? TWO MONTHS???!!!!) Until then, the internet kept telling me, just hang on. Your hair will be awful, greasy, gross, not at all like you ever expect your hair to be. But wait, good things are coming, it will be worth it in the end!! Beautiful hair, healthy hair, no money spent on shampoo, no chemicals, peace for the entire world! (I made that last one up.)
I couldn't do it. Instead, I was twitching in front of the shampoo display, reading labels and just imagining the heaven of washing my hair with real shampoo again. Of course, I was twitching so much that I didn't even notice until I got home that I'd managed to buy two bottles of shampoo and no conditioner!
Next up, I'm cleaning my face with a mixture of castor oil and extra virgin olive oil! So far this one is better...but it's only been 5 days...
I've been in somewhat of a frenzy since the start of 2012. Yes, that's not that many days yet, but the start of a new year has opened the floodgates of all that I have to, want to, and wish I could get done...
Basically, this is what simmers in the back of my brain on most days, bubbling over in a panic of "there's not enough time!" every few months.
It's a panic mixed with guilt for not having it all done already with my rational side trying to insert tiny teaspoons of realistic expectation whenever possible. It's the balance.
When I'm in the middle of a project it looks like I'm concentrating hard, really focused on and enjoying what I'm doing. But, if you could take a peak inside my head you'd see that part of it is mapping out the other 100 projects I really want to be working on RIGHT NOW, even though I also really want to work on this one RIGHT NOW! Another section is having an entire conversation about guilt. Guilt for not doing enough, guilt for choosing this project over that project, guilt for concentrating on what I want versus my children (who happen to be happily playing with their toys and not paying me one ounce of attention...). There's also the part that's just super happy to be creating something of my very own.
It's all bubbling under the surface, despite the calm exterior.
And that's not even touching that stack of books I'm dying to read.
New Years Eve. We don't get out in the evening but we spent the morning outside. I love that we can be outside during the winter here. We drove about 25 minutes up the Gorge to Multnomah Falls. It's always beautiful but I think that it's my favorite this time of year. There's so much water that it's like thunder all around you. The mist swirls around you and the moss drips off the trees. It's SO green. Every shade that was ever created blending into new shades as the light filters through the branches.
Afterwards we headed to Charburger for lunch. Charburger isn't fancy but it has history - my Mom and Dad used to drive over the Bridge of the Gods to eat there as newlyweds! With all of my moving around I never thought I'd have little connections like this one.
It was a perfect way to end our year and move into the next.