Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Mama said...

...there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this Mama said.

As I'm sure you can imagine, it's been one of those days.  Sydney woke up at 5:45 a.m. (I was already awake...barely) loudly crying because her nose was stuffy after lying flat in her bed all night.  I sprinted up to the room and whisper-shouted to her from the doorway to follow me.  (She and Lorelei share a room, and I did not prefer for both children to be awake before 6 a.m., expecting me to be in a good mood and to wait on them hand and foot.  No, Sir.)

I like to wake up early, but I like to wake up early and have things quiet for a while so that I can drink my coffee and read in peace.  I don't even like to talk to Chet (sorry, honey).  I know motherhood is a 24-hour thing, but Sydney's early-morning dramatics were barely justified (if at all).  I set her up on the couch in front of the TV with some orange juice, but she wanted to talk.  And talk she did, for two hours until I got Lorelei up too.  I tried to ignore her and just read my book, but that didn't work very well.  Couldn't she just take a hint and let the cartoons rot her brain for one measly hour for crying out loud?!  No, she could not.  And I had a hard time letting it not get to me and snapping out of the funk that I put myself in over it.

And, yes, I realize that when she's 16 and answering my questions with one-word answers, I will crave mornings such as this.

Anyway, I was in a bit of a bad mood all morning, and after I finally wrestled them into bed for naps, I had a hard time deciding what to do with myself during this rare quiet time.  I never want to clean the post-lunch kitchen or switch the laundry during nap time (and many days I don't), and my bad mood made me resist tackling my practical to-do list.  I thought about laying on the couch, putting my feet up and getting lost in one of my books (and dozing...which is what I'm most likely doing on those days when I'm ignoring kitchen and laundry duties), but that didn't feel right either for some reason. 

I decided to catch up on some blog reading, and that turned out to be the right decision.  I read this post over at Jordy Liz Blogs, as well as the links to articles that she included at the bottom, and it was all exactly what I needed to hear (or read, rather).

Obviously, I have much to be thankful for.  More than "much."  But sometimes our perspectives get skewed, and it's nice to be brought back to reality, or to at least know that I'm not alone in the feelings and emotions that come with mothering children (and specifically being a stay-at-home mom).

Thankfully, nap time is a chance for me to regroup, and to start the day over if necessary.  Today, it's totally necessary.
She calls them "gobbles"

Friday, June 7, 2013

21 graces

1. Another 4-day weekend for Chet (the second one in a row!)
2. Taking a day trip to New Orleans
3. The girls enjoying the aquarium
4. A fun, water-themed birthday party
5. Finding two practically brand new rash guards (I like to call them "swim shirts") for each of the girls at the resale shop for $3 apiece

6. Evening family walks to the park
7. Krispy Kreme after church
8. A late afternoon trip to the mall to run off some energy in the air conditioning
9. Raising Cain's for dinner
10. Starting the week off right with a morning trip to the community pool with our neighbor (2 adults+4 kids...ages 3, 20 months, 15 months, and 15 was a bold move for us)
11. Post-pool appetites and naps
12. Running into and chatting with several neighbors during an early evening trip to the park
13. Sydney playing with a neighbor while Lorelei and I take a much-needed trip to the Commissary (she is currently what I like to refer to as my "shaggy child")
Tell me she doesn't look like a 19-year old surfer boy.
14. Adding recommended books to my always-growing "to read" list
15. An evening pool party

16. Another successful morning trip to the community pool (!!!)
17. Compliments from a friend
18. Having friends who are in the middle of a move over for dinner (I'm sure you all know/can imagine how eating out/eating fast food gets incredibly old when you're moving)
19. Mall food court Chinese food
20. Pedicures
21. One last impromptu get-together with friend (from #18) before she leaves for San Diego

I know the "21 graces" posts focus on the blessings in our lives, but please don't be fooled that my family's life is always super fun and carefree.  I know it may seem like all we do is go to the park, eat frozen yogurt, and play with our lovely neighbors (and we DO have the privilege of doing all of those things often), but the truth also is that military life is hard.  We have to take advantage of every second of our time together between deployments (Chet is scheduled to deploy this summer), and sometimes our husbands work so late, that the only way we'll survive the day is by getting the kids out of the house, taking them to the park, and seeking out adults to talk to along the way so that we don't go crazy.  I am confident that we are right where we're supposed to be, but that doesn't mean it's always easy, or fun, or ideal, and I am thankful that Jordy came up with this series to help us focus on the blessings that are all around us.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Syd's Dance Recital

Sydney's dance recital was Saturday, May 25th.  She and I attended rehearsals Thursday and Friday before the big day.  I was interested to see how she would react to the big stage, lights, etc., but she did great (as did all of the other kids in her class)!

On Thursday when we arrived at the theater for the first time, we sat down in the audience while some of the older girls ran their dance number on stage.  Sydney whispered to me, "I don't know how to do that dance."  Haha, poor thing.

I think I mentioned this a while ago, but parents are not allowed to watch dance practices.  So, usually, the first time parents see their children's dance is on stage at the rehearsal/recital (unless the kids are older and can remember the dance well enough on their own to practice it at home).  However, since I had to switch Sydney's class day/time back in April, I had the privilege of being able to film the dance she was going to perform at the recital (she had been practicing a different dance up until April).  She LOVED being able to listen to the music and watch the dance on my phone, and she practiced all the time.  I think that's what really helped her do so well at the recital, as far as doing all of the correct dance moves at the right time and staying on beat (the girl is clumsy, but she can keep a beat!).

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of her at the theater, and we were not allowed to film during the performance (we bought a copy of the official DVD though).  Here are the few pictures I have of her getting ready, etc.

These pictures were from Friday, before the dress rehearsal.  Thursday she just wore her regular leotard to the practice.

Her hair is quite short, so it took lots of gel, hairspray, and pulling to get it to stay up in a bun.


We tried getting her to use this neck pillow to keep from messing up her hair in the car (plus, it wasn't comfortable for her to lean back in the car seat with the bun).  She obliged, but when I asked her five minutes down the road if she wanted to get rid of the neck pillow she said, "YES!"

The pictures below are from Saturday, right before we left for the show.  I realized on Friday that all of the other girls had some sort of cover up for their costumes, so I jumped on board, for fear of...I'm not sure what.  Obviously these pictures don't show her costume, and I don't even have a picture of her with the black crocheted headband and the yellow flower on her head, but I think she looks sweet (and excited) nonetheless:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

April TX Trip

It's been two months, but I wanted to post about the trip to TX for my grandmother's funeral.  Even though the reason for the visit wasn't the most pleasant, it's still always good to visit TX and see family I haven't seen in way too long.

Chet was unable to accompany us this time, so the girls and I set off one evening on our own.  I prefer to travel in the evening, because the girls aren't quite so wound up, and they end up sleeping for most of the trip.  They also don't have any trouble going back to bed once we arrive and get situated. 

We stopped at a Subway in Louisiana for dinner.

A day or two after we arrived, my mom, the girls, and I attended an annual event in Humble called Good Oil Days.

Sydney rode a horse for the first time.

There was a petting zoo, and Sydney wasn't scared at all, even though there were about a million goats all trying to get the food pellets she was given to dole out, and a very hungry deer that was bigger than she was.  Even I was a little scared.  Sydney realized she was in control though, and would only feed a single food pellet at a time to the goats, and soon started withholding food from them altogether.  She preferred feeding the scary chickens (not pictured).

Even Lorelei fed a goat.

We rode a train.

Lorelei fell asleep (this never happens).

And a day or two later we headed to Lufkin for the funeral.  We ate lunch and visited with family before the service, which was really nice, and took some pictures.

This funeral was different than P-ma's funeral, in that Chet was not there to help.  At P-ma's funeral, Chet took Lorelei out of the church service, and Sydney and I stayed.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep them both quiet on my own, and the thought of causing a scene terrified me.  The funeral director must have sensed this (or else he was told that there were two wild children running amok), because before the service started, he led us into a huge room with couches and a television where we could run amok in peace (ha!) and still see/hear the service.  Whew! 
See that blurry picture?  That's what they were like the entire service: in motion.  Notice that Lorelei is barefoot.
After the service and burial, we headed to my other aunt and uncle's house, ate dinner, visited, and took more pictures.  Again, it was so nice to see family.  I hadn't seen this side of the family since the Christmas just before Sydney's first birthday, which means they had never even met Lorelei. 

The girls and I headed back to Mississippi a couple of days after the funeral.  This time, I decided to travel during the day, so we left as soon as we could get ready that morning.  Grant helped us load up and saw us off.

Traveling during the day (alone, without another adult) was a big mistake.  I think it took us 10 hours (instead of 7) to get home.  We just had to stop way too often, and we were all at our wit's end by the time we pulled into the driveway.

Chet and I have learned that the best places to stop when you're traveling with young children is Target and Walmart.  At Target and Walmart the kids can run around a little bit, you can buy food straight from the store shelves if you need to, and you can sit to eat at either the Target food court or Starbucks, or at the Walmart McDonald's or Subway.  And people don't really give you a second glance if you're chasing children around the store, letting them run off energy. 

I did get a few curious/dirty looks when I let them do this though:

But I was beyond caring.  Those people had no idea.

I think this was our last stop before we got home.  The girls were eating Lunchables in the Target food court, and I was downing Easter candy that I had just bought from the clearance shelf at 90% off.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

This half-crazed look on Lorelei's face depicts how we all felt by this point.

And can you believe that Sydney had the nerve to say, as soon as we pulled into the driveway, "I want to go back to Texas!"  Um, no, Sydney.  Now get in the house.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back in the saddle...

Yikes, has it been 17 days since my last post?!  Yes, of course it has.  I've been a bad blogger, so there is lots of catching up to do.  To make sure such a long blogging break doesn't happen again (at least, not any time soon), I have challenged myself to blog every morning this week.  So far I'm on a roll!!

I am almost finished with the clutter-busting challenge.  The challenge was to get rid of 7 things every week day in May.  My last post was May 17th, and I was all caught up then, but I fell behind again for May 20-24 and May 27-31.  The picture above is the May 20-24 picture.  Now, I refuse to bore you by listing everything you see in this picture.  Just believe me when I say that there are 35+ items there, and that, although they appear to be trash that I decided to take a picture of just to fulfill the clutter-busting challenge, all of these items were actually stowed away on shelves or in drawers in our home.  Ew.  I am actually having trouble finding the last 35 things to get rid of.  That's not to say that every single thing in our home has a purpose and we are clutter free...I'm just having to dig a little deeper than I had to at the beginning of May.

Chet returned home from his field training exercise Sunday, May 19th!  We've loved having him home, and the last two weekends have been 4-day weekends for him.  (The weekend before last was Memorial Day weekend, and this past weekend was awarded to everyone for doing so well during the field training exercise.)  Therefore, I deem this 5-day work week "Rude Awakening Week" for all of us.

A more thorough review of my iPhone pictures will help jog my memory as to what we've been up to the past few weeks (I'll save that for another post later this week), but here are a few pictures:
The weather has been decent, so we've been able to spend quite a bit of time outside.

We went to the aquarium in New Orleans this past Friday.  It's hard for anything to live up to the Atlanta aquarium, but we still had fun!

We decided Sydney needed to learn how to stunt while we were playing at the park the other day.  She may look happy, but it's hard to make out the terrified smile on her face.

I put Lorelei's hair in a ponytail this weekend.  She's laying on the concrete because she's performing a segment of Sydney's dance recital routine (she's quite good).

It seems that Lorelei has the same reaction to mosquito bites that Sydney does.  See her left eye?  And remember this?
I'm so glad that pacifier is gone.  She asked if she could have one last night.  Um, no.