Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Snapshot of Life - Feb. 15, 2007

A Day in my Life

12:00 am - I've been asleep for 1.5 hours, but I wake up when DH gets in bed. Go back to sleep quickly.

1:30 - DH must have touched me or something because I'm awake again. Back to sleep right away.

5:30 - This one's my fault - I'm up, I go to the bathroom, and get back in bed but have a hard time going back to sleep. I'm thinking about stupid things, I've had a lot of weird dreams and they bug me. I doze for a while but the real sleep is pretty much over.

6:30-7:25 - I hear random children getting up, banging around the house. The alarm goes off at 7:25 but pointlessly I hit the snooze button - haven't been snoozing for a while but see no need to get up for another nine minutes.

7:30 - Boy #3 comes into my room with a full gallon of milk - he speaks very well now but for some reason has figured out that if he appears with the item he wants me to prepare for him I am much more motivated to action than if he simply came into my room and said "I want a cup of milk." At least he didn't hit me with the gallon like he did yesterday.

7:34 - The alarm goes off again and I lay in bed, trying to calm myself down, because when I sleep badly I tend to be really grouchy. I say a prayer in my head, but realize halfway through that I've stopped actually praying and was reviewing the assignment for my photography class. Doesn't do much to improve my mood, due to guilt.

7:36 - I go downstairs to find all the kids camped out in front of the tv, which is just fine with me except that Boy #1 needs to leave in 14 minutes and hasn't had breakfast yet. When the tv is on, it takes priority over everything. I harass Boy #1 into getting ready for school. I realize that I have it pretty good because all of my friends have a huge ordeal every morning getting their kids ready for school, and mine pretty much do it themselves. Looking at these small blessings takes away some of my grouchies, and I apologize to Boy #1 for getting mad at him. He apologizes to me for watching tv before getting ready, and all is well.

7:38 - I open the silverware drawer to get a cup for Boy #3, and find two spoons covered in peanut butter, the remnants of Boy #3's pre-bedtime snack yesterday. He likes to eat peanut butter straight, on a spoon (or two). I had wondered where they went to, I was hoping he had put them in the sink, but this is still surprisingly responsible for a two year old.

7:40 - I ask Boy #2 if I can make him a bagel for breakfast and he says yes. No fights over breakfast mean it's going to be a good day. I look out the window and see that it's snowing a little. Which would be fine, except that Boy #1 has lost his coat ... again. And there are no sweatshirts or anything to be found either. I'm trying to decide how to handle this - be a good mom and buy him another coat (assuming there are any at the stores which are now full of swimsuits and easter candy) or let him suffer, as this is not the first time he has lost his coat, and maybe having to stay in at recess will teach him something.

7:50 - I say prayers with Boy #1 and he is off to school, coatless.

8:00 - Boy #2 polishes off his breakfast and Boy #3 comes up to eat, which means it's a very successful morning! They watch their favorite tv show, Curious George, on PBS - the same episode gets repeated 4 times during the day, and they (including Boy #1) would sit and watch it all 4 times.

8:27 - Curious George is over, so the fighting starts - Boy #2 and Boy #3 want the same lovesac to sit on so they start kicking and yelling at each other. I convince Boy #2 to go upstairs and get dressed for school.

8:38 - Boy #2 gets some of his valentines treats out from school and finds a bouncy ball on a string. I don't know if NASA has come up with a word to describe the infinitely short amount of time between when a kid gets a new cheap toy and when it breaks, but that's instantly what happened. Boy #2 throws himself onto the floor in frustration (loudly) and I say "before you freak out about this, why don't we see if we can fix it?" so he gives me the pieces, I tie the elastic string back onto the ring that it came off of, and hand it back, only to have him say, "I don't want to play with this anymore, I don't want to break it again." So cheap toy becomes item of value so high that it can't be touched, which means that one day we'll be cleaning out his closet and I'm just going to toss it. I hate cheap junky toys like that.

8:48 - time to shower before kindergarten starts

9:02 - I come downstairs to find Boy #2 and DH arguing about whether Boy #2 can wear a sweatshirt or has to wear his winter coat, because it's snowing out. I keep my mouth shut about the fact the DH's older child left the house in just a t-shirt today. No need to bring that up, right?

9:04 - 9:20 - A sulky Boy #2, wearing the winter coat, gets dropped off at kindergarten and a non-sulky DH gets dropped off at work. I come home and have a bowl of cereal while watching the Price is Right. I totally kick butt on that show. Most days Boy #3 watches it with me, and we both cheer when people win, it's very cute! But today Boy #3 requests Curious George (the movie) which we just bought a second copy of, due to the fact that he stepped on the first one and broke it in half.

9:20 - 10:10 - Respond to some work emails while TPIR is on. Get this - during the showcases, the first guy obviously has no clue what he's doing -he tries to bid 250,000 and when Bob questions him, he reduces it to 60,000, firm. So the second person wins with a bid of $1 . I love that show.

10:20-11:20 - Read the newspaper, answer a few more emails as they come.

11:20 - Finally go back and finish reading dad's latest novella (ha ha) - I get to the part about making bread and boy that sounds good. It's gray outside today which let me tell you does nothing for the mood. It does everything for the sit-on-my-butt-with-the-laptop tendencies I have! I grabbed a pile of cookbooks to look through and maybe I'll cook something just for fun. Last week I made pumpkin bread and the kids thought I was the most wonderful person in the world. I haven't done a lot of cooking-for-fun in a long time, partly because I was doing the weight watchers thing until sometime before I got pregnant, partly because I got pregnant and miserably sick and couldn't function let alone cook for fun, and partly because most of what I make could aptly be compared to "casting pearls before swine" in which the pearls refers to my cooking and the swine refers to my children. I actually came to a decision a couple of weeks ago that I would stock the pantry with kid-friendly food and then just make 2 servings of something delicious for dinner and let the kids fend for themselves. About two days after that resolution, however, we found ourselves eating fish sticks for dinner and the kids were so happy that I abandoned my resolution. DH says that one day my boys will be on their missions and telling their companions about the wonderful cooking their mom did, but frankly I'm worried that they will have so burned me out by the time they can appreciate my food that we will be eating fish sticks right up until they leave for college.

12:15 - Boy #2 comes home from kindergarten with his friend, Ammon, who he carpools with. They eat lunch at each other's houses a couple times a week, and apparently it's our turn. It's great, though, because that makes the second conflict-free meal today. Ammon is such a good boy, the 8th kid in the bishop's family and just a great influence. He doesn't have a lot of friends, because there aren't many boys his age (he's older than Boy #2, but in the same grade) so his family is happy that Boy #2 plays with him. I'm waiting for the day that they decide Boy #2 isn't a good influence on him after all. I've got my bread rising, so this is more productive than I've been in a while. I go downstairs and find that Boy #3 has dumped a basket of dirty laundry on the family room floor and is jumping in it like a pile of leaves, which leaves me no alternative but to do some laundry.

12:15-1:45 - Wasted time, watched an episode of Alias, switched the laundry, watched the kids. 12:45 - Boy #3 brought me a football and his blanket and told me to "Come on!" and took me upstairs so he could take a nap. Boy, I love that kid. He played in his room for probably an hour, but when I checked on him later he was asleep on the floor. Boy #2's friend Josh came to play, and Anna and Ben from across the street came over for me to babysit. And Boy #3 fell asleep with all of that.

1:45 - 2:45 - Nice chat with mom on the phone. It's cool when family members are as much fun to talk to on the phone as your friends. Finally the bread looks like it has risen enough, I must have done something wrong because I used rapid rise yeast, which must mean "takes three times as long."

3:15-4:00 - What looks like a potentially good Judge Judy gets interrupted by first a phone call from DH and then Anna and Ben's mom coming to get them. Then my friend Susanne brings over the tape of American Idol that I forgot to tape from Tuesday night and we talked at the door for 15 minutes about kids birthday parties. So now I'm watching People's Court, while I reply to more work emails.

4:00 - 5:00 - Spent 45 minutes with a particularly angry Boy #1, going over his math homework. We had parent-teacher conferences last week and his teacher showed us a rather precipitous drop in his scores, so we've been going over his homework with him a couple times a week. I finally told him to leave with half of his work still to do, but I couldn't deal with the attitude for one more minute. I remember hating math when I was his age, and a lot of his problems are similar to mine, like being so messy that you get stuff wrong, etc. Does parenting get any easier??

5:00 - 5:45 - Cooking dinner. Tortilla soup, but we're out of tortilla chips.

5:45 - 6:15 - Go out, pick up DH. Boy #2 doesn't complain getting in the car, I couldn't have asked for a better day with him. Drop them off at home and run to the grocery store to pick up a few things, including tortilla chips and salad for tomorrow's ward dinner. Pass by the candy aisle without buying anything, pretty much unheard of lately. Could be because the leftover valentine's cupcakes from Boy #2's class are sitting like lead in my stomach. :)

6:15-6:45 - Dinner with the family. Again, most people ate and there were no meltdowns. Bread turned out delicious, and more of that was eaten than soup by the kids, but hey, it's food.

6:45 - 7:10 - BAck to the homework with Boy #1. He redid about 12 problems, and got most of them wrong again so we sat together and did it. I'm really glad I waited until after dinner because he wasn't nearly as surly as he was before, so maybe he actually learned something. The other boys are playing semi-together, Boy #2 gave Boy #1 a piece of gum just to be nice (for all he loves his candy, he is very willing to share) but Boy #1 left it on the couch and Boy #3 ate it. And by ate it I mean ate it.

7:10-8:00 - The kids started horsing around with lightsabers, which you know isn't going to end well, so after about 15 minutes and one lightsaber to the eye (Boy #3 aka Darth Vader) DH put on a video and the kids watched for a little while.

8:00-8:10 - the nightly battle of the scriptures takes place. The biggest complainer is Boy #2, who (my guess) really just needs to go to bed, so he shows it by throwing a nightly fit and tonight was no different. Occasionally this behavior is punctuated by Boy #1 pointedly looking at the clock and sighing, because we are cutting into his stay up late time. But we're doing it, there must be some points in it for that.

8:15 - 9:30 - It's craft night with the relief society and I go, even though it started at 7. It was fun, my friends were there so we could hang out and talk, but I should have left a half an hour early because someone came who really makes me uncomfortable - she's nice and a good person but says some things that are so inappropriate that it makes dad in his least tactful moods look prudish.

9:30 - 11 - get home and return a call to the counselor in the bishopric over primary. We discuss a potential replacement teacher, and I'm not thrilled with the suggestion, but I'm going to try to have an open mind and pray about it. This is one of the things I dislike the most about my calling. I get off the phone, finish doing the dishes, and DH and I watch The Office and Scrubs.

11:00 - I finish writing about my day, I'm about to go upstairs, read my scriptures and go to bed. It's pretty late for me, and I might regret it tomorrow, but I also really hate giving up my free time once the kids go to bed. I get as sulky as Boy #1 when he misses his stay up late time. It was actually a better day than some I've had recently, and I think a lot of it was due to the fact that I was writing down how I spent my time - kind of like a dieter who keeps a food journal. So thanks for listening, don't know if any of this matters to you guys, but it helped me anyways. :)

Snapshot of Life - Feb. 16, 2007

7:35- get up after the snooze, actually slept really well, too bad I didn't go to sleep until 11:30, I might pay for that today. Check my email, read about my sister-in-law’s day which was really interesting. Go up stairs to get Boy #1 ready for school, find out that the reason the house is so cold is that someone turned the heat off on the thermostat, which of course everyone denies. I'm ready to get out the fingerprint kit and do some CSI work, as this is not the first time this has happened.

7:50 - Boy #1 leaves for school. Boy #2 agrees to half of a ham sandwich for breakfast, of which he eats half. (well, the original sandwich was more like 3/4's of a sandwich, but I'm not smart enough to do those fractions.)

9:08-9:45 - Leave a couple minutes late to take Boy #2 and Ammon to school. Drop DH off at work and go to the pet store to buy the replacement filters for Boy #1's fish tank.

9:45-10:00 - Clean out the fish tank, which has been desperately needed for weeks now, change the water, replace the filter, clean the gunk off the sides. It's really not hard work, I don't know why it doesn't get done more frequently.

10:00 - Waste time reading Google News, when that's exhausted I check Audible to see if there is anything new that catches my eye, nope. Head over to Digg because there is always something good to read there. I'm not disappointed, and do that until 11:10. Andrew and Spencer from next door come over to play with Boy #3 while their mom goes shopping.

11:15 - I'm watching an episode of Alias on the laptop while the kids play with the star wars toys downstairs. I am brought two star wars transformers that have been half transformed and they need me to turn it back into a ship. I realize, in my disgust for all things girly, that maybe Polly Pocket isn't as bad as transformers. At least Polly Pocket is self-explanatory - I can't get these stupid things to fit quite right. But the kids are fine with that anyhow.

11;22 - the kids bring me up our lego star wars video game and I notice there is a website on it, so I check it out. It's all done in flash and very graphic and theoretically fun, but all I want is to know when the next one is coming out, so this annoys me. I go back to watching Alias.

11:45 - Kelly comes over to get the twins, mentions she is on her way to the store so I say she can leave her kids if she picks up some groceries for me. She thinks thats a fantastic idea. I continue watching Alias while the kids play on the trampoline and then eat some hot dogs for lunch.

12:15 -12:45- Kelly comes back again right when Boy #2 gets home and takes the twins plus Boy #2 over to her house to play Lego Star Wars on her xbox. It's the sequel to the game we have, and as you know the kids can't get enough of that game. More Alias.

1:30 - Davey (Josh's brother) comes over to be babysat, easily the easiest kid to watch ever. Boy #3 and Davey play nicely for a long time.

2:15 - I am asked to pick up the older kids from school, the first time this school year. I load Davey into Boy #3's carseat and Boy #3 into the booster, which he loves. He also loves locking the door with his toes, so everytime I try to open his door it is locked.

2:30 - I walk in the door and check the phone for messages. Before I can listen to them, the phone rings, the business line. Turns out to be a guy from Denmark who was charged for an order he didn't place. Apparently someone got his paypal info and charged $111 at our store to his account. Yikes. I have to look into this. The guy tells me the phone call is costing him $2 per minute. As if I needed more pressure.

2:40 -3:45- I'm on the phone with Paypal because their website stinks and it's really hard to find what I need. Besides, this feels serious and I want to talk to a real person. When I get to said real person, they won't give me any account-specific information because somehow my name is not on the account. The account that I set up. The account for the company that I half own. The account that I know more about than DH does, because for crying out loud, that's my job. But she tells me the great news that because we sell an "intangible" product, we aren't covered for Seller Protection (which would theoretically pay us for this transaction). Instead, I issue a refund to the poor guy who this happened to, and cancel the sale in our store, so if by any chance the criminal plans on downloading the files (which i doubt) and hasn't yet, he won't be able to.

3:45 - I send some emails to paypal trying to get some fraud resolution, but I'm probably out of luck, meanwhile People's Court is on. Dumb guy opens his door into incoming traffic and sues the driver who hits him.

4:00 - Still dealing with the Paypal issue, flip to Ellen who is listening to messages people leave on her answering machine. Just for kicks, I call her number and sing her my OB tampon commercial jingle that I remember from 7th or 8th grade. I also sing a mean Freedent commercial from about the same time. This is the reason I won't make it to Jeopardy, this is the less-useless information that is taking away from the useless information that Jeopardy requires. I'm only fit for Deal or No Deal now.

5:30- Kelly calls and asks if I want her to take my salad over to the church since she's taking hers right now too. I say sure, and fortunately, I've actually made the salad already. The ward party starts at 6:30, but Boy #1 is at a friends house from school and I can't remember where he lives, and in a stroke of particularly bad parenting, I also don't have their phone number. If this person turns out to be a psycho-child-killer and I'm interviewed on tv and have to admit that yes, I basically had no idea where my son was or who he was with and had no way to get ahold of him, I think they'd put me in jail. I had told Boy #1 to call me so I could pick him up, but that didn't happen.

6:00 - My guilt is assuaged somewhat when the mom of Boy #1's other friend, Jacob, who is with Boy #1 at the unnamed location, calls me to ask if I had the friend's phone number, because she couldn't find where she had written it and couldn't remember where the friend lived either. Which means that if both of our kids are victims, I won't be the only one skewered on national television. She says that she'll drive over there and get the boys and bring them back. A few minutes later Boy #1 calls and I tell him to go home with Jacob's mom and by the way, have Jacob call his mom on her cell phone.

6:30 - Boy #1 is finally home, and I load up the car and head over to get DH from work, and then on to the ward dinner.

6:45 - We're 15 minutes late for the ward dinner, but with mormon standard time, how big a problem can that be? I notice that the parking lot is particularly full, but maybe it always is but we're usually on time and only see it mostly empty. I comment on that and DH says, "Well, it could be because we're so late." I say, We're not that late! And he says "Yeah, it started at 6:00, we're 45 minutes late, I thought you knew that!" So we walk into the completely full cultural hall, where people are polishing off their dessert and I think every single ward member is staring at us. I beg DH to let us just go to McDonalds or something and leave before too many people see what losers we are. But no, here comes a member of the bishopric to greet us, and someone starts clearing off a table, the stake presidency member's wife brings us some silverware (the real kind because they ran out of plastic that everyone else used) and I am too mortified to get anything to eat. Not that the selection was too impressive at this point, but I could not stand to be up in the front of the room with everyone looking at us loading up our plates, so I got food for the kids and just about ran to the table in the back that they've cleared off for us. I really hate being wrong about things, and I really hate being monumentally wrong in front of 200 people. Pride problems? I don't deny it. But I'm so embarrassed and angry (at myself) that I can barely function.

6:55 - The dinner part of the activity is over, the kids are all sent into the RS and Primary rooms for "children's activities" which must mean "let the children run around like crazy animals unsupervised" because that is the de facto scene. The Primary room was more sedate, there were actual adults in there at least temporarily so we took Boy #3 to that room. Boy #1 and #2 can defend themselves just fine, so we let them go where they want.

7:00-8:00 - The adult activities begin which is, like the vast majority of ward adult activities, a getting-to-know-you game. We are at a table with a couple that lives two doors down from us but whose kids are grown so we have just about never spoken to them. (The husband of said couple once got up during priesthood or sunday school to complain about neighborhood kids getting in their yard, which all of us in the cul-de-sac took personally, and some had some really negative feelings about the situation. My kids don't go down there too much so I wasn't so offended.) Turns out they are interesting people. The wife is a seamstress and a fantastic one apparently, she does the dresses for Marie Osmond's dolls and there is a virtual parade of young brides picking up gowns from her.

After about 5 minutes they announce that everyone needs to switch to a new table, and my mood immediately improves because a pile of couples come over to sit with us. You'd think that past, say, high school, the need for some sort of popularity would go away, and while it mostly has, it is still really, really nice to have proof that people like you. Also, it turns out that I was the possessor of an incredibly valuable commodity -I had downloaded the last episode of Heroes from the internet, the episode that was pre-empted by the Trolley Square shootings and no one else had watched. No one ended up taking up my offer to have a copy of the show, but for a few minutes I was the Hero. (Superpower: Being able to call up the missed episode of a show so no one has to get mad at their husband for not being able to remember to tape a show. Maybe not as useful as invisibility, but causes less conflict!)

8:00:30 - Boy #2 is about 30 seconds past his bedtime, which is why he throws a massive fit on the way home. DH (the Pessimist) laments the long drive home and wishes we met at the stake center instead. Long Drive Home: 2-3 minutes, approx. 1 mile. Stake Center: about 15 houses away, 1 1/2 blocks (unless we cut through some backyards) Living in Orem, Utah: Priceless.

Why I Have Something To Say

In the tradition of my father (courtesy of David Letterman), here is a Top Ten reasons why I feel like I have something to say:

1. I have three sons ages 9 and under, and a daughter (theoretically) on the way. Well, someone is on the way for sure, and while the ultrasound tech said it was a girl, I'm skeptical.

2. I am an LDS woman who grew up on the East Coast, moved to California, then moved to the bubble which is Orem, Utah. Life is different over here.

3. I'm not a kid person. While I have embraced motherhood and love my children, I was never the teenager who dreamed of being a mom. I don't know that I actually ever considered what motherhood would consist of, and the work entailed has surprised me. I was a lousy babysitter, the kind that I would never hire, mostly watching tv and eating all the good snack food that we never had. Most people's kids bug me to some extent, and I don't really care to hold other women's babies.

4. I'm our ward's Primary President. (See #3 for why that matters.) I think I do a fairly good job of it, and love the kids in our ward more than I expected.

5. I passed the test to be on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but failed the interview. I say that as some kind of proof that I might be reasonable intelligent, although that happened 1 1/2 pregnancies ago and I do think my IQ has suffered.

6. I love to read, which gives people the idea that I must be able to write since I have such opinions about what I read. My current favorite genre is true life adventure books, especially mountain climbing. I've got a pile of Everest related books I've just finished, and absolutely no intention of ever climbing a mountain.

7. I'm an optimist who is married to a pessimist. (Well, he likes to think of himself as a realist. But that's what all the pessimists say.) We've both met somewhere in the middle on most things, he isn't quite as fatalistic and I've gotten more cynical on some things, but I still consider myself an optimist.

8. The pessimist and myself own a small business that we run together for the last two years. I work from home and he goes to an office about a mile from our house. We make a pretty great team, and despite the ups and downs of running a business (and there are many!) we've had a fantastic time working together. This might have been the best two years of our marriage so far.

9. I went back to college when I was 28, and 2 months after Boy #3 was born. I went back to take a basic business class, but I bought a year-long parking pass, because I knew if I started going back to college I wasn't going to stop until I have a degree. I'm still 9 or 10 classes away from getting my associate's degree, but going back to school has changed my life for the better. I'm trying to decide whether to stick with business classes (practical) or switch to philosophy (fun). Although I've watched enough Judge Judy and People's Court to breeze through a law degree.

10. I am tired of comparing myself to the "perfect" parents that I see in our ward, in our neighborhood, at the kids' school, and in my friends. My opinion is that if people saw what goes on in a regular family, the kind with some problems and some challenges, some kids that make us crazy and some bad habits, but trying hard to do the right thing, maybe all of us parents can let go of the guilt and discouragement that we feel sometimes.

My secondary goal is selfish - one day I'm going to be one of those adults sitting at the front of the chapel, wondering why it was so noisy and wishing those young parents would keep their kids quiet. I need this to remind me what it was like to be on the parenting front line, during that time of our kids' lives where we are the most important influence on them, the burden and the (theoretical) joy that comes from that. My friend Rachel's mom claims that her kids never fought, a claim that Rachel disputes and uses as proof that we will forget too. In some ways that's good, there are things that I want to forget - the absolute terrifying fear when you've lost your two year old in the grocery store, the exhaustion of months (years!) of sleep-deprived nights, the frustration of losing your temper at a young child who, after all, is the child in this situation and doesn't know better, but you do. I may want to forget those negative things, but the forgetting includes the funny things, the time I opened the cd drive on my computer and Boy #1 stepped on it. The way Boy #2 is the cuddliest thing in the world, and even the worst mood melts when you give him a hug. Boy #3's propensity to sing along with whatever is on the radio or ipod, for example Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" or The Beatles "Yesterday." This blog is proof of what life is really like to be a parent, for good or bad.