The Fallacy of Time

Time is a funny thing isn’t it?

Always elusive; intangible and present.

Always continuing, despite the moments that feel too long and the years that pass too quickly.

It amazes me how long a minute can be and how short a month is.

It does not stop its steady pace, often conflicting with our own perception of significant moments.

I am sometimes lost between fleeting moments of beauty and impossibly long moments of difficulty.

Emotions can work like a time machine, as anniversaries of events can transport us back and make us feel that we are reliving it.

That’s what deja vu is isn’t it? The reliving of a memory except it’s time travel going forward, remembering something you have not yet encountered.

Time is a schedule, a measure, a constant count.

Time itself never changes, but it has the ability to change everything.

And that is the fallacy of time; for in its essence of consistency, it never accounts for the ways it stands still, moves too fast, and transports us back.

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Familiar Roles

This feels familiar, as though I’m tracing my footsteps, falling back into a place I’ve known in the past but haven’t visited in a while.

I have become rusty at being in the real world, because as  time passed and seasons changed, my son and I have been creating our own.

It has been a dance of intensity and beauty and I know that we are still only at the beginning.

But the separation is slowly happening. I know we are both finally ready.

As my son expands his world into preschool and friends and independent play, I dust off my “grown up shoes” and try to remember how to walk in them.

This year, I am the Parent Council Chair at my son’s preschool. And my goodness gracious, to those of you that told me to run away when this was offered to me last spring, I owe you a big apology because I really should’ve listened. This job is more of an undertaking than I realized. I had told myself I would not get caught up in it, but as I become more involved and aware of the behind-the-scene action at the school, the more I want to be a part of it. I may be new and I may not want to spend the next year of my life stressed out with this work, but I think I really have a chance to make a difference here. I think this position was put in my path for a reason, and as much work as it is going to be, I also think it’s a blessing. I have done leadership roles before; I have played this part of organizer, brainstormer, care-a-little-too-mucher. I know I can do it again.

I also took a chance this year. A chance I have not dared to take in a long time. I auditioned for a big Christmas production put on by a local church. Most churches do Christmas productions, but apparently this production runs like a Broadway musical. It is an original script each year and the story is told through song, dance, and theater drama. Over 200 people auditioned. Auditions involved dance, vocal, and dramatic. Only 50 people were invited to call backs and 6 women were being considered for the female lead. So here is my big news: I got the lead! Performance used to be a huge part of my life, but I have not performed since 2008, right before I found out I was pregnant.  My skills are a bit rusty, but I am oh-so-ready to bring performance back into my life. There will be costumes, there will be lights, there will be make-up, there will be me trying to learn choreography and lines…and there will be that little piece of my soul that gets fulfilled by being on stage.

I am not sure how all of these pieces will fit back together as I balance motherhood with bits of my previous self, but I know that they will. I am also fighting my own guilt with the fact that I have chosen these roles rather than choosing to return to work. I try to get my Parent Council work done while Noah is in school and all show rehearsals will be at night. These two new roles, though not paid, will still allow me a lot of time with my son. For now, I have decided to feed my soul rather than my bank account.

So as I re-introduce myself to the world of paperwork and pull my dance shoes out of the back of the closet, I also prepare for the beginning of what’s next and pray for guidance into this next round of “new normal.”

(If you will be in the Richmond area around Christmas and are at all interested in attending these performances, you can visit this site for more details. http://gloriouschristmasnights.com/)

The Curse of September 1st

September 1st is a hugely significant date for me. It is the date of my son’s birth. So while I feel like this should be a joyous and celebratory day, it has been overshadowed with unsettling events since 2009.

September 1st, 2009: The day my son was born. Also the day I had an extremely difficult labor experience resulting in an emergency c-section and a two and a half hour separation from my son after birth. Due to my exhaustion and an almost overdose of medication by the hospital staff, I do not remember meeting my son.

September 1st, 2010: My son’s first birthday. Though we were able to have a celebratory day with family, it was also extremely emotional for me since it was the anniversary of the difficult day he was born. The day of his party was also our very first trip to the ER with him and his first diagnosis of croup.

September 1st, 2011: My son’s second birthday. We had his party in late August, and the day of his party was wonderful. But on the day of his actual second birthday, we were in our home with no power and received an IRS audit and an $11,000 bill for a surgery my son had that insurance was refusing to cover.

September 1st, 2012: My son’s third birthday. This year, we held his party on his actual birthday at our home. And the curse might have been broken! The party was adorable, my son had fun with his friends, and after the party we enjoyed a relaxing day at home visiting with family.

He did wake up on September 2nd, 2012  with a 101 degree fever, though…

Maybe the September 1st curse will be broken in 2013?

The Third Birthday

After eventful first and second birthdays, and a lot of planning for the third, I had high hopes that this birthday party would be perfect. This year, his birthday fell on a Saturday, a perfect day to host a party. So on September 1st, we hosted a yellow birthday party at our house. Here is the big reveal; Noah’s third birthday party!

This year his birthday was all about his favorite color; yellow. Throughout the summer I diligently planned, bought, and made yellow items. We covered our home in yellow decor and invited his preschool class over for some fun. We were able to celebrate with my mom, sister, and brother-in-law, too.

The Yellow Birthday Party

Mommy, Noah and Daddy

The Invitation

The decor: kitchen chalkboard, living room streamers and balloons, entry table with pictures of Noah at ages 1, 2, and 3 and favor bags and birthday hats, dining room decked in yellow

Dining room. The food was all yellow: bananas, Goldfish, cheese, pineapple, doughnuts, popcorn, and yellow cupcakes and candy.

Beverage station featuring lemonade and lemon water, striped straws, and lemons. There are also homemade cookies shaped like the number 3 in the cake plate for each child to decorate with yellow frosting. Close up of homemade birthday banner.

Cupcakes and candy jars.

Cupcakes with yellow striped liners, yellow cupcake flags, and the number 3 candle, looking out into the back yard.

The back yard ready for the yellow party

The birthday boy.

Party details: my artsy shot, striped straws and lemons, the three cookie cutter and yellow icing…all of the 3 cookies were eaten!

There are a lot of pictures of all of the children and family at the party, but I’m not sure they would like being included on a blog. The children played outside on the swing set and I had set up bowling, bubbles, t-ball, and a yellow bucket of toys. They had a great time playing outside and decorating number three cookies. We all enjoyed singing Happy Birthday to Noah.

Happy Birthday Noah! Blowing out the candles and making a wish.

Look at that beautiful three year old.

The favor bags. Cat not included. 🙂

A boy and his balloons.

After party cuddles

Mommy, Noah, and balloons. My favorite yellow birthday party picture.

The Yellow Birthday Party was a great success. Noah had a wonderful time and I was so happy to host a party at our home for his friends. I think the third birthday was the best one yet.

What Do You Do All Day?

This afternoon, one of the neighborhood kids stopped by. She does that occasionally, and she is very nice and good with my son. Although her visits are always unplanned, I never mind them.

Today, as she was telling me about how her year is going so far in 5th grade, I mentioned that my little guy just started school, too. She said, “Oh no! Aren’t you lonely?”

I politely said, “No, it gives me time to get things done.” To which my son added, “Yeah, when I go to school Mommy eats and drinks and cleans.”

And then she said, “What do you do all day?”

I told her a brief overview of our schedule, saying, “Well, after we wake up I drop him off at school and then come home to do some cleaning. After I pick him up we eat lunch and have quiet time and then play outside for most of the afternoon. Then it’s time for dinner, bath, and bed.”

She just nodded but I kind of felt like I was being judged for not doing enough. By a 5th grader.

So, here’s the breakdown of what I actually did today. It’s probably going to be really long and boring, so you can stop reading now if you like. I guess I need to write it down as much for my own sense of accomplishment as for needing to tell the story.

8:00 AM: Wake up Noah. Brush his teeth, get him dressed, get him downstairs and set up with a cereal breakfast. Note that getting a toddler dressed is not as simple as “getting dressed.” It involves a lot of coaxing, hands on work, and sometimes bribery.

8:30 AM: Return back upstairs to get myself dressed. Which means throw on something somewhat presentable and put hair in a ponytail.

8:45 AM: Gather up all needed supplies and go out to car to put child in car seat. I had packed his snack and school bag the night before.

9:00 AM: Drop Noah off at school. Drive to Starbucks.

9:15 AM: Go to grocery store.

10:00 AM: Get gas.

10:30:AM: Return home, unload groceries. Do dishes, start a load of laundry, scoop the cat litter, straighten living room. Notice that the china cabinet is leaning a funny way and rearrange its contents.

10:55 AM: Head upstairs to do some cleaning. Which involved: putting away all toys, dusting all surfaces of Noah’s room, making up Noah’s bed (which takes forever), vacuuming his entire room including baseboards.

Then I moved on to the bathroom and since I was in an organizing mood I re-organized all of the upstairs bathroom cabinets including wiping them down, designating things to other places, and throwing things away. Then I dusted all bathroom surfaces and the upstairs hallway.

Moving on to our bedroom, I put all of the clothes in the closet, made up our bed, dusted, and vacuumed.

12:20 PM: Quickly run downstairs, grab keys, and go pick up my child.

12:35 PM: Arrive at school to an excited toddler and listen to his stories about school and soccer. Drive us home for lunch and to let him watch one episode of “Peep and Duck” while I also try to cram in lunch in between switching the laundry load, making Noah’s lunch, and sorting through his school bag.

1:20 PM: Read Corduroy to Noah. He requests, “Again, Mommy!” We read it 3 times.

2:00 PM: After 3 stories and much arguing from the toddler I finally get him to lay down for quiet time. (We are past napping.)

2:20 PM: Noah decides he is done with quiet time and jumps up to play. I reluctantly get up.

I’m not sure of the rest of the time-table for the afternoon, but at some point the mailman comes and we read the mail. We play with leftover yellow birthday balloons. (Yellow birthday party pics coming soon!) We line up magnets. We pretend to fix computers. We have a chasing session. We also go upstairs briefly to get a book (I thought) but instead the toddler sees what I have done to his room and promptly unmakes the bed and arranges his blankets into some kind of fort on the floor. Sigh. We cuddle. We laugh. We marvel at the size of my son’s poot and I wipe his bottom. We vacuum the living room and I switch laundry again.

Around 4:00 we have a snack and then decide to go outside. That is when we run into our neighbor and she comes over to play. She plays with us while we ride tricycles, take a neighborhood walk, swing, slide, and ride scooters.

5:30 PM: Neighbor leaves and we come inside for dinner. Except that transition results in a MAJOR tantrum screaming fit and we do not actually make it inside until 6:00. Ridiculous.

6:00PM: Toddler has a personality change and says, “I will be nice now, Mommy.” What the….?

6:30 PM: I serve a lovingly prepared meal of hotdogs and grapes (for Noah) and a Healthy Choice microwaveable meal (for me.) Cooking is not my thing. I also prepare my son’s snack for school tomorrow.

7:00 PM: I put the toddler in a bubble bath. We make “party decorations” with wash cloths and play with a toy shark and lizard. I wash his hair and we sing silly bath time songs.

After drying off and putting on pajamas we brush teeth and cuddle up in my bed to read Corduroy one more time. There is no trying to get him in his own bed on nights when Daddy isn’t home. We also read Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See and an Elmo book. We then get all snuggled up, I turn off the light, and my little guy drifts off to sleep.

8:00 PM: I leave the toddler and come to my computer to catch up on email, which involves a lot of correspondence I need to deal with for my new role of Parent Council Chair at my son’s preschool. I alternate between working on that, checking Facebook and Twitter, and trying to catch up on blogging (which I am terribly behind on.)

8:55 PM: The toddler wakes up. I comfort him and am able to return to the computer work after about 15 minutes.

9:30 PM: The toddler wakes up again and this time does not settle easily. After rocking, singing, and getting him water he finally drifts off into a deep sleep right before 10:oo.

Before I can settle at my computer again I go to let the cats in that have been left outside in the rain that just started. Oops. They are ok. Just a bit wet and mad.

Now, after 10:00 PM, I am finally hoping to get caught up on Parent Council emails, some blogging, and some social media. I hope to be asleep by midnight.

Of course, this isn’t the way it is everyday. There are some days when I clean other parts of the house or run other errands or go shopping. There are some days I pay bills or make house administrative phone calls or deal with some pressing paperwork issue. There are some days when I choose to actually take some me time while Noah is at school. After today, I am hoping tomorrow might be one of them! There are some days when my husband is around. There are some days Noah does not have school and we do play dates or go to parks or the children’s museum. There are also some days I actually get adult interaction.

But most days, this is a good description of my life. This is currently day 11 of no husband home to help. He is a medical resident and his current schedule is a stretch where his shortest shift is 12 hours, but most days it has been 16. Either way, it means he’s gone before we wake up and home after we are asleep.

I don’t mean this to be list of complaints. I love getting to spend so much time with my son. I love that I am able to have such a clean house. I love that I can go get Pumpkin Spice lattes. I love evening walks and cuddles with my little guy. But days like today are the perfect descriptor as to why my life is both elating and exhausting.

And that, my friends, is what I did all day.

How did you spend your day?

Animal Problems

We are having animal problems.

Sunday, I decided to do some yard work. I did some weeding and blew off the driveway, but the biggest chore was cleaning off the deck. As I was gathering up the toys and sweeping leaves, I noticed a squirrel. He was not moving, but he still looked very much alive, just laying on the deck. After closer inspection I realized he was already dead, but there were no bite marks to indicate that the cats had gotten him. It was like he just fell down and died. He really just looked as if he was lying still.

Monday night, I let the cats out as usual. They have become keen on night exploration since we have moved into our house. I always call them in before heading upstairs to bed, as they come quickly, usually ready for a rest themselves. Last night, only one came back. I called and called for the other one but eventually had to just go to bed.

When I woke up Tuesday, I called for her again, but still could not find her. I decided to go outside to look for her, but by the time I fed the toddler, got him dressed, and convinced him to go outside, it was 11:00 AM. We looked around for her in the front yard, and then as we were heading to the back yard I noticed something moving in my car. It was my sweet kitty. I got her out immediately and ran her straight inside to food and water. She did not eat or drink, but she was purring and seemed fine. Monday night, my husband had gone to the grocery store. She must have jumped into the car while he was unloading groceries. That means she had been in the car for over 12 hours! I am just so thankful that she is ok.

It soon dawned on me that a cat locked in a car for 12 hours also meant that there was probably cat poo in my car. It did not take long to spot it (with the helpful “Look, Mommy, cat poo!” from the toddler) and so I began cleaning. I spent 45 minutes scrubbing cat poo and pee out of my car and then left the windows open so the smell could air out.

The toddler and I continued our day which included a walk. We made it home just before it rained, but forgot that my car windows were  open. So now I have a wet car that smells slightly like cat poo.

Late in the afternoon, the rain cleared. The toddler and I were sitting in the livingroom when we heard a loud THUD and saw something briefly on the window. We ran outside to see a small bird on its side in our front flower bed, obviously stunned by its recent encounter with our window. I tried to shield the bird from being touched by my son as he peppered me with questions to satisfy his curiosity of ‘why.” I used a stick to nudge to bird into an upright position. Once on its feet it hopped away, but it was obviously quite injured. His breathing was labored and his couldn’t move more than three small hops. We observed him for a while, and finally decided to go inside. When we went out to check on him a few hours later, the bird was gone. I can only hope that he regained his senses and flew safely away.

Here’s hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. Because if we have one more day of animal drama, we might have to move.

*When I am not dealing with animals, I am learning more about how to give my son the best education possible. If you are interested in reading some progressive ideas about education, enter to win this book!*

I Like

I Like…

honesty

cat purrs

toddler hugs

showering alone

sleeping next to my son

dancing in the living room

chai tea lattes

cupcakes

FRIENDS re-runs

sleep

getting lost in a book

feeling confident in real life

remembering to sing

laughing

seeing beauty in myself

seeing beauty around me

reminders that I am blessed

the way my son lights up my life

the way rain sounds on the roof

pajama days

social days

girl’s nights

Broadway shows

wine and dessert

walks in my neighborhood

hearing other people’s stories

sharing pieces of my own

living in the present

looking forward to the future

not dwelling on the past

being with friends

being with myself

being a Mommy

introspection

a busy calendar

a flexible schedule

a clean house

an empty laundry basket

a full tummy

new clothes

a freshly made bed

anything pink

staying up until midnight

photo-journalistic style photography

fall weather

conversations with my almost three-year-old

day dreaming

writing

hoping

Five Years of Marriage

Five years ago, I woke up in a hotel room next to my sister and my two best friends. My other best girl friends were sharing the room next to us.

I spent my morning giggling with my girl friends. I took a leisurely shower and then had my hair and make up done in our room. I remember the make up artist saying, “You are so calm! You could do this everyday!”

I felt calm. I felt good. I was excited and happy and surrounded by the people I loved. I was ready.

After a calm day of getting beautiful, we headed to the event location.

I put on a white dress.

I sipped some champagne.

We took some pictures.

And then I got married.

As my mother in law would later describe it, my wedding was 98 % perfect.

And it was.

We had an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception. We danced the night away and I was in the midst of so many people who had shaped my life.

In five years we have lived in three places, celebrated a graduation and worked multiple jobs, become parents (to cats and a baby), and endured many ups and downs.

Five years changes a lot of things.

But nothing will ever change the fondness on which I look back on my wedding day and reflect on the beauty and excitement that the promise of that beginning held.

So, today, my husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage with a massage, dinner, and a night in a fancy Richmond hotel.

Cheers to celebrations, beginnings, and the accomplishment of five years of life intertwined with the life of another.

Fireworks, Cake, and Sleeping

Rather than bore you with a long story about how we spent our Fourth just hanging out at the house, grilling, playing outside, waiting on a Verizon worker to come fix the cable line that had fallen in our back yard, made a cake, and then walked about a mile and a half to go see fireworks, I will just show you our Fourth of July pictures.

(Click on the pictures and they will get bigger. Obviously, I do not know how to correctly add pictures to wordpress. But I did learn how to make photo collages with PicMonkey.com!)

Pretty cute, huh? We tried to be very patriotic this year. I even tried to explain to my son why we celebrate the Fourth of July by telling him, “The Fourth of July is America’s birthday.” He looked at me quizzically and then responded, “America’s not here right now. But we can still eat cake.”

This week, my little guy has also gone to summer camp. I have had every morning off for the entire week and it has flown by!

In other news, tomorrow is my five year wedding anniversary. Because we co-sleep and just due to life in general, the hubs and I realized that we have not slept together in almost three years. Not in the 50 Shades of Grey way, but in the just me and him in a bed kind of way. So tomorrow, my sister and her husband are coming down to spend the night with the toddler while we go have dinner and stay in a hotel. It will be the toddler’s very first night away from BOTH Mommy and Daddy. I am a little bit nervous! But I am also super excited about sleep. Actual, close your eyes, and wake up when you feel like it instead of when a toddler jumps on your head sleep.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is planning a great weekend!