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Still Here

Some times I write.  Every day I think about writing.  It’s a way to get thoughts out, sorting them into an order that makes sense to me.  I relate ideas with emotion on a scale of intensity.  If it’s important enough, I can feel the ache in my bones to push forward.  If I feel not much at all, well, perhaps it’s time to let that idea go.  And so, life moves me forward based on feelings and emotions.  I’m driven by passion.  Without the anchor of my husband and his inability to live life this way, I would be a wreck.  Thank God he brings me out of the clouds.  Thank God I can lift him up into them.  Things balance out nicely that way.

I have so many blogs floating around the internet.  There is one as I journeyed through my life as a new mother.  There is one about raising a child with Aspergers, living with a husband with Aspergers, and figuring out the role I play in that; it was about dealing with labels as something useful and defining instead of smothering and limiting.  I’m sure I have more that I started, perhaps with a post or two, yet I can’t remember the url nor what I wrote there.

Then there was this blog – these tales of our first adventure with homeschooling our oldest daughter.  This was before we knew much other than school was a pain in the ass for her.  She was bright and emotionally off when she was at school.  We have come so far since most of these posts were written.  Then we were the parents of a little girl, a preschooler, and a baby; now we are the parents of those same little girls quickly approaching their teen years.  With the exception of the youngest, they have moved from baby dolls to lip gloss, from jeans and t-shirts to knee high boots and skirts.  They spend hours in the bathroom taking showers and fixing their hair.  They drive us insane emotionally instead of physically.  One minute they are happy and laughing as they recount time spent with their friends, but the next they are crying and claiming that their friends don’t like them.  Boys are becoming cute, movies are getting less animated, and they adventure into interesting foods instead of the same bland things expected day after day.

One thing in all of this certain despite the changing times, the mood swings, the laughter, and the increasing expense of their shoes as they grow into adult sizes:  These girls are turning out okay despite the unbelievable amount of worry I put on my shoulders trying to figure out where I might be going wrong.  I’m pretty sure the weight of the world will always come back to me no matter how many times I throw it aside, brush off my shoulders, and move forward.  My laces remain tied.

We still homeschool.  Although I never felt quite adequate enough to do this job, I have come to terms with this being our best option, and I have ceased to worry about what is next.  I’m learning more and more each day the trick of living in the moment – not drinking too much caffeine helps.  Some days homeschooling feels like bliss.  The kids are growing and learning in ways that they could not otherwise.  Our family feels happy and our home feels comfortable.  Then there are the other days that feel like I am living in a prison.  I think about what I am sacrificing for myself as a woman:  I could go back to school, have a career outside of the home, and do all of those things that the world tells us a respectable woman should be doing.  There are days that I am so incredibly proud of my husband and his success that comes from his giant brain and hard work.  Then there are days that I feel unbelievably resentful that I stay here in our personal life while he gets to tend to an alternate one outside of these walls.  Every single day I am grateful to be married to a good man who loves his family no matter what unexpected mood swings are involved in living with this many women.  At least he has the dog…and the cat.

Here I am.  Here I will be for a while.  I should be writing.  I give away thoughts in bits and pieces on Facebook because I have to deposit thoughts somewhere.  If I don’t they get backed up, out of order, and confusing.  I am a stay-at-home mom, I am a Christian, and I homeschool my kids.  (Absolutely NONE of that means that I am a lame excuse for a woman who is living a life subjected to the restraints of a man and children.  I’m just…me.  I’m just…normal.)   Most of what I do with my time is take care of my family – an unpopular notion in modern day society.  Yet, I do it with unrelenting and incredible love.  Love is what I have to give, and all of that passion has to go somewhere.

Cool Sneakers Never Die

 

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The author of this site has moved.  You can find me at June Wears Sneakers.

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Hello, Dashboard.  Greetings, Blog!

I have missed you!  Please forgive me.  I have been seeing another and his name is Facebook.  I have to admit that I used him as an outlet when you seemed too daunting to come home to.  I often pushed my complex thoughts onto him into short little snippets of what would make a rather good blog post given a little more time and attention.  The problem:  Facebook isn’t nearly as understanding, nor as compassionate as you.  After all, he is an outlet for the whats, but not the whys.  Since I am a “why” person, a compulsive “over-thinker”, I need you, Blog.  While Facebook is fun, you’re my therapy.

Blog, please forgive me.  Please accept me with open arms.  After all, to return to “Removing the Staple” can only mean one thing:  we are home schooling, again.  (I suppose I need to change the tagline.)  How about we start anew?  No long explanations for now.  I’m certain in due time you will get the gist of why exactly I am returning, and you will surely even get some kicks out of my successes and failures at this.  After all, what a whirlwind it is to home school!  It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs.  I haven’t formally started our year and I have already threatened to enroll the kids in private school numerous times.  What I love about you, blog, is that you listen.  I can type out all of these ups and downs, and, by the end, you somehow make me feel less like I am one office visit away from strong mood-altering medications.  If only there was a magic June Cleaver pill.  

So…say…blog…um…will you listen to me every now and then?  Will you be my June Cleaver pill?  Our relationship used to be so therapeutic.  

Love,

Caroline

______________________________

Seeing the layout of my wordpress.com blog again after so long is both exciting and scary.  Am I moving forward, or stepping back?  A little bit of both I suppose.  I can sit here and type out a lengthy well-hello-again post to explain myself, but there is no point in doing so.  Years ago (OK, I admit it:  YEAR ago) I was immature enough to really care what everyone thought about why I was doing what I was doing and how I was going to go about doing it.  I would base a portion of my successes on the response of others.  If they thought positively, it meant I was doing everything right.  We eventually all learn that the only indication of doing home schooling (amongst nearly everything else) right is the positive response from within your own family.  Did Jackson and I make the decision together?  Yes.  Was it in the best interest of the children?  Yes.  Are they happy about the decision?  Yes.  Will it work?  I sure as hell hope so!

We sent them to school…came home…sent them back…and are coming back home.  The year wasn’t terrible, but there were certain things that bothered me – things like the fact that my children seemed less like children and more like tiny robots being conditioned not to obtain knowledge with enthusiasm, but to obtain acceptable standardized test scores.  I won’t even go into some of the discussions I had to have with my then 5 year-old about kissing boys “in the dark…without parents watching”.  NO, IT WASN’T MY CHILD WHO KISSED “IN THE DARK WITHOUT PARENTS WATCHING”.  Just those words coming out of her mouth was enough to make we wonder exactly what children are learning at home.  It isn’t their school work, but for heaven’s sake, it is our job, home schooling or not, to teach them values.  Kindergarten is rainbows and teddy bears NOT Justin Bieber and Teen Disney.

Before I go into too much of a rant (and because the kids are on summer break and at 9:15 AM it is due time to get off the computer and turn off the TV), I will end here and thank my blog for being so easy to come home to.  A trusted secret password that I will never forget was all I needed to put myself back into order this morning.  Plus,  I now get to check the mental box on my  list of things to do this summer that stated “start blogging again”.  After all, without this form of therapy, I will most certainly lose my mind on this roller coaster.

______________________________

Oh, and Blog,

Thank you for your therapy.  With it, I most certainly won’t start every day of the week in pearls and a party dress, but perhaps I will be able to handle more of the children’s antics with a sweet smile on my face and wide eyes as I ask, “What’s the Beaver up to now?”  

 

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The Final Post

So…um…hey…do you, uh, come here often?

Yeah, me neither.

A cheesy pick-up line I used.  Pathetic, I know.  I’m sorry.  It’s sad for me to visit this page.  It is a part of me that I left behind, and I also realize that I may have left some readers stranded here as well.  Blogs are funny like that.  They sort of become this house where your thoughts, ideas, dreams, and feelings become a lot of little stories.  It’s fun to have a place to deposit these stories, and actually have people read them.  I didn’t get many comments on this blog, but it was funny that I would hear from people every now and then that they loved reading my blog.  I would say nonchalantly, “Oh, yeah, thanks!”  As if I was totally used to hearing this so much that I just expected people to say it.  In actuality I was thinking, “OH MY GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN!!!  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING MY LITTLE BLOG BECAUSE IT REALLY IS LIKE THE GREATEST THING GOING ON FOR ME THAT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH CHANGING POOPY DIAPERS AND TEACHING MATH!”

In case there are people here that read my posts in hopes that I would have led you to some great realization about homeschooling, I am sorry if I led you astray.  I often heard of people reading my blog because they were thinking about homeschooling.  That is why when we decided to…gulp…send our kids back to school this year, I sort of stopped writing on here all together.  I just didn’t know what to say.  I knew I would have to move out of this house, but instead of closing things off I just ran away from it, worried that I would greatly discourage someone from making a wonderful decision for their family.

When we decided to homeschool it was because we were having a rough time finding some sort of balance with our daughter being in the environment of the public school system.  If you have followed this blog, then you are aware, and I won’t repeat myself.  Why we sent them back into the same school system is because of the development we felt Jane had made over the course of her 1st grade year spent at home.  She grew and changed so much in maturity.  We helped her find ways to cope with perfectionism, intense emotions, and helped to channel her intensity into positive, exciting things.  So, I held my breath, sent her to school, and it wasn’t easy.  It still isn’t, but it’s getting better.

Annie is in kindergarten.  She LOVES it.  This is my child who did well learning with me for a short while, but then just spent most mornings playing while I got through Jane’s work.  In the meantime, we were lucky if Molly wasn’t hanging from the chandelier, or raiding a medicine cabinet.  Luckily I made it through the year with Annie’s brain still in tact, Molly alive, and Jane a much different, less anxious, and more confident kid than she was going into it.  I call that a success.

So far this year has been good and bad.  Like I said, Annie LOVES school so much, and school loves her.  We have to work on ‘doing her best work’ because she often likes to rush through things, but she is an ideal student.  She sits, she listens, she makes friends easily…she is just…well…Annie – my little sweet-girl who just seems to float through life with such wonder and excitement, but thankfully with the ability to contain it to some degree when necessary.  She likes to make jokes and laugh.  She likes to draw funny stick figures doing funny things.  She likes to play on the merry-go-round, and loves the “girl tree” her and a group of friends claimed on their first day of school.  She is just a breath of fresh air.  I love that about her.

Molly…well…she displays many of the same characteristics as Jane.  She is incredibly awesome.  I love her and her spirit just as much as I love Jane’s similiar spirit.  She is INTENSE…crazy INTENSE…like in the way that all toddlers are intense, but times TEN.  The rate at which she takes in new information, the way she explores, the way she does nearly everything is so above and beyond the norm.  It’s exhausting, but familiar.  I have been here before, and this time, I am trying to just ease up on it a little.  I really am okay just stepping over her when she is having a tantrum.  If it is in them middle of Target, I just keep shopping like there isn’t this micro-beast wailing to-and-fro, moving the earth with her screams.  And, this time, I honestly don’t give a crap what people think about it – so unlike I was with Jane.  My problem then was that I followed too many guidebooks and how-to’s.  Now, I just get through the store then sit on the floor and share a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the beast while we watch Calliou and smile at each other.  🙂  Those times are nice and lovely.

I wanted to just stop by and give you a new address since I have picked up and moved and all.  I may have left some neighbors behind, clueless as to where we had gone to.  It’s not really an attempt to up my number of house guests at my other site, but just an attempt to say, “Sorry, come on over if you ever feel the urge to visit.”  There will still be similar posts on there.  My, oh my, the issue we face with school, and, yet, the wonderful things we find there, too.  It’s not all about school, the kids, and maybe there is more me over there, but I still think it’s fun, somewhat.  Gosh, I just sounded conceited.  Oh, well.  I am feeling that this entire post really sounds like an attempt to get in touch with an old fling.  I guess that’s another great thing about blogs:  you either read them or you don’t.  There aren’t any worries about obsessive, pathetic messages left on an answering machine begging you to come back.

Hope time has found you well.  And, as always, thanks for reading this blog.

Here is a link to my new address:

http://carolinamarie.wordpress.com/

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The Vortex of Life

Despite the cold that seemed to even bite beneath my clothing as I stepped out this morning, and despite the snow that still lay in clumps surrounded by icy patches and clear patches revealing damp concrete, today was rather enjoyable.  I often wonder if it is just me – perhaps I suffer from some undiagnosed disorder of the psyche – or if other people experience such differentiation from day-to-day.  It’s never a mood swing of gigantic proportion; I never wake up one morning swinging on the opposite side of the pendulum which would reveal a more serious defect of the psyche.  However, there are these slight variations day-to-day in how I am able to handle stress, and stress in a household with three small children is just inevitable unless you are Michelle Duggar, a woman whose peaceful demeanor makes everyone else seem like they are on the brink of a nervous breakdown. 

I’m certain I have established to my readers how much I adore being with my girls, but have also shared how they can drive me crazy from time to time.  Such conflict is impossible to avoid when you spend massive amounts of time around one another.  “It’s their age!”  Isn’t that what the more grown-up than I say?  “They will outgrow it, then you’ll miss it.”  Perhaps they are right about that.  I’m certain I will miss the expressions on their little faces – Jane’s big round eyes and smirk when she is explaining something, Annie’s crooked smile when she is caught being mischievous, and Molly’s little curls that fall playfully around her ears.  Then there are the things I won’t miss such as the common scenerio of walking through the kitchen and unexpectedly stepping on the edge of a wooden block.  The painful disruption of this mishap always causes me to lose focus on my path to doing “very important Mommy things” that I always seem to be in a very big hurry to do.  After all, “very important Mommy things” leaves absolutely NO time for tripping over blocks!  I also can’t say I will miss the good hour it takes at night just to readjust for a new day – like picking up the toys, again, and again, and again so that the kids can wake up and scatter them AGAIN!  Although, in the back of my mind somewhere I know that for now it’s not so bad.  In that same place I know that it’s a small price to pay to for a sort while be able enjoy a hug from Molly whose arms when reached around my neck only leave room for her little hands to grasp one another.  I know that it’s a small price to pay for just such very generous rewards.

Back to today – my very enjoyable day.  These are the unexpected types of days I love the best.  I’m not sure exactly what it is that helps the world seem to shift a bit, but it’s very noticable when it happens.  It seems that most days there is this feeling of being caught up in the center of the vortex of life; even though you seem suspended in air, all the while watching things spin around you – responsiblity, to-do lists, meals to make, things to clean, dolls to sew, places to visit, calls to make, parties to plan, six little pairs of shoes to tie, three coats to put on, snacks to pack, etc, etc, etc. – you are in actuality moving at such a fast pace that by the time you tuck your own self into bed at night, you wonder where the day went and what happened while you were there.  Then, by some grace of God, the cosmos seem to align just right.  It’s not that all of those things that have constantly been spinning around you just stop all of a sudden; in fact, they never really stop at all.  It’s just this feeling that instead of being suspended and watching it all move around you, you are able to move harmoniously with it.  As a result everything seems to slow down a bit.  As the blur surrounding you comes more clearly into focus you’re able to pick and choose what to stress out over, and what to let go of.  On days like this, even while spinning in that vortex, you’re more likely to notice a smile, a laugh, or a gesture over the chaos of things like getting everyone out of the door on time. 

Today as we visited the library, and as I was already fortunate enough to be experiencing just such a good day, I felt more at ease as Molly attempted the usual toddler-ransack of the bookshelves – commonly leaving in her wake a scene from a home that has just been searched by the FBI for money and narcotics.  However, instead of quickly picking her up and hurriedly gathering her mess into a more organized mess only suited for the skills of a trained librarian, I calmly headed her off on her path to what seemed on this particular day to be nothing more than normal toddler destruction.  Instead of being suspended in the vortex of library shelves, Annie moving around, and Jane’s loud talking from aisles over, I was able to focus on where I was at that exact moment in time.  I was able to look at Molly, at the wonder on her face, to speak to her as I scooped her up, and to briefly lay claim as to why we don’t throw things from the shelves.  The mess she left in her wake – which really wasn’t any different from any other visit to the library – didn’t seem as big as it had, say, the week before, or the week before that.

Two hours we spent at the library today versus the short forty-five minutes my stress levels usually max out in.  As a result, the girls were able to play the computers a bit, put on a puppet show for a waiting grandfather, and I was able to read through a short book in the childrens’ section as I strolled Molly around into a short slumber.  As a result of my calm nature, the children seemed to be more at ease and less argumentative.  I have never doubted the effects of grown-up stress trying to move children along at grown-up speeds.  I often wonder if my vortex is a result of being caught up in my parents’ vortex for eighteen years. 

Days like today are the types of days I constantly strive for, but don’t seem to achieve on a regular basis.  I’m not sure the reason really.  It could be a matter of receiving a heftier dose of grace from God, a matter of maturity, or a matter of being able to let more things go.  It’s also more than likely the result of my perfectionist tendencies trying to achieve the unachievable, and the inevitable frustration that causes.  More wise generations – those who are more grown-up than I and those who now contend with the loss of an occasional wooden block to stumble over – would probably say that it is a mixture of all of those things.  Also, in that little place in the back of my mind – the place where I know a thousand messes on the floor is worth a single tight hug from tiny arms – they would also say that it is nearly impossible to achieve harmony within the vortex of life until it’s too late to go back and enjoy the blur of what was once there.

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Today, as I sat unattended in the optometrist’s office, I found a moment’s peace to think about my interest in posting on Facebook.  I’m wondering if it’s a result of being a blogger?  I do have a Facebook page for Removing the Staple; however, I don’t post anything other than new blog post updates on there.  I use my regular Facebook account to post everything else.  I have “liked” a few different blogs through Facebook, and have noticed how the writers of those blogs tend to regularly post random tidbits of information from their Facebook blog page.  It’s simple things of no real importance like, “Maddie ate grilled cheese today for the first time” or “Getting ready to brave Wal-Mart with the wolf-pack.”  I was wondering why they post these comments so regularly and wondered if they post similarly from their personal Facebook page.

I have to admit, I have become quite fond of Facebook.  It’s not that I really get on and post every little tidbit of detail throughout our day such as, “Asthmatic Kitty* let Molly pet him today” or “I’m going to scrape the snow off of my car.”  It’s more like thought sharing for me instead of event sharing.  It’s become a flow of ideas in which I challenge myself to put in as few words as possible – meaning that they would have to be the perfect collection of words in the right order – what my thoughts, feelings, or ideas are about a particular something or another.  As awful as this sounds – yes, and don’t say to the person next to you “HOW AWFUL THAT SOUNDS” as if I don’t already know this – it’s almost like a modern-day form of poetry, but the poetry sort of sucks.  I’m not claiming to be the next Maya Angelou; sadly enough the closest I can come is Shel Silverstein meets bored winterized housewife.  I hate the word housewife.  (*Asthmatic Kitty lives on, but that’s another story.)

Boogers and snot all over the house;

Unfortunately Mother’s a louse.

Roof caving in, floors are sticky;

Our wall goblins come out at night to lick the icky.

(Please spare the corrections.) 

I attribute my ability to think about the appeal of Facebook while at the optometrist to the fact that he didn’t display any giant posters of gross eye fungus to nail bite over until he entered the room to inform me that, “Sorry, my dear, but your eyeballs will shortly leak goo and you will go blind.”  Thankfully, what stood out the most were his various framed degrees declaring his certification as a master of anything and everything eyeballs – which I hate to admit is rather boring in the grand scheme of doctoring.  In my state of relaxing boredom I began to really wonder about this phenomenon of the marriage between Facebook and bloggers.  It’s a relationship that is so harmonious and supportive.  It’s not that most of my readers even come from Facebook, but that Facebook has provided an outlet to figure out how to blog a little better.  When I first started blogging a few years ago my posts were stressful to write.  They were like little short essays that were fun to write, but I stressed over the fact that I couldn’t keep up with it on a regular basis.  After all, it’s not every day that you can come up with a great short essay that not only shares monumental, or life-changing, personal information, but also draws everything together to teach a great lesson as well.  Over the course of Removing the Staple I have learned – for the most part – to keep it simple.  It’s about summing it up, in as few words or paragraphs as possible, with the most creative collection of words.  I’m not tooting my own horn or anything, but all I’m saying is that I have definitely improved in this area a bit.

About all of this complaining I have done in the past about iPhones (even though I still don’t like they way they cause people to disconnect from day-to-day life), Facebook, or the Kindle and it’s lesser counterparts, well…maybe…I…was…eh…being a little hard on new technology.  This is in no way a confession of being wrong about how we need to get out, have brunch with realtime friends to converse with, and sing songs or make silly faces to our kids as we swing them at the park.  All I’m saying is that Facebook has really helped me out as a blogger, and that perhaps some of this new technology has some decent rewards from which I am reaping the benefits.  So, thanks Facebook, and thanks to my awesome real-life, yet virtual friends, who correspond with my tidbits of random information I post on there.

 Friends disappearing in thin air;

wait here’s one there.

What’s that you have to say?

Little Jimmy fell and scraped his knee today.

Poor little Jimmy, let me give him a frownie; 😦

It’s a virtual concern for him and his owie.

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The snow, the cold, the winter, the…gulp…children – it’s all getting to me.  If I have praised homeschooling thus far, please take that into account before reading any of what I am about to tell you: 

HOMESCHOOLING IN THE WINTER

IS THE FREAKING PITS!

Any good parent says, “I love being with my kids.”  This is especially true if you are a homeschooling parent, and, yes, I do love them with all of my heart.  However, I’m not sure how much patience that love has when we are cooped up day after day after day in the house.  Snow drops an inch here or there once a week which nearly immobilizes the city in which we live; not to mention the CoLd – gracious, the freaking COLD – that keeps us from going outside.  As a result I am up against a sort of crayola-style guerrilla warfare.  It starts from the time they wake up in the morning and continues throughout the day.  “She’s sitting on me!”…”She took my block I was going to use!”…”She threw the block I was going to use in my face!”…”Annie’s beating me up!”…”Jane won’t play with me!”…”She’s not playing by the rules!”…and so on…and so on…and so on!  ARGH!  

The phenomenon of my children suddenly hating each other to extremes seems nothing less to me than a possession by the devil himself.  However, more experienced parents keep saying with a little laugh that makes me dislike what they are going to say before the words even leave their lips, “Oh…hahaha…it’s just their age.”  Screw that explanation!  It doesn’t help me RIGHT NOW – I did mention that I was impatient already, right?  I’m beginning to question whether or not this is the result of a serious lack of parental training; it’s all my fault – or better yet, all MY parents fault.  Seriously, I’m all for living for the moment, but when people give me that two cents I really wish I had super powers to fast forward about five years just to see if they’re right (and if I really do lose my sanity before then).

There is also this feeling of disconnection from the world.  We get out to the normal places where frequent visits are warranted merely for our survival (i.e. the grocery store, the doctor, etc.).  We also go to the YMCA on a daily basis; it is my new most favorite place on the face of the earth.  However, at the YMCA I am in my own little world – listening to music and running.  The girls are also at such different ages that they are all seperated into their own age groups which is a GREAT peacemaker – at least until we get back home.  We also visit the library at least once a week which is another place that provides necessities for Mommy-survival:  books for me that don’t involve the humanization of animals.  You know, I wonder if at the ripe ages of four and seven Toot and Puddle ever declared a fight to the death over a desired certain shade of green crayon while squealing at the same time in a harmonious shrill that could level the pyramids of Egypt?  Have you ever wondered what happened to their mother?  I am strongly leaning toward her homeschooling them in through the winter.

Yes, so I’m feeling sorry for myself.  I know.  I’m thirty-two years old for crying out loud! Certainly I can do something other than complain to you about my current state of affairs.  Right?  Well, no, because I have no one else to complain to, and frankly, writing – like running – is a great stress reliever.  Getting it out by writing it down – even if it’s the result of posting on Facebook fifteen-thousand times a day – helps for now.  I need every little bit I can get.

By the way, have you seen the forecast for Sunday and into next week for Nashville?  It’s going to be in the upper 50’s!  That means that life might slowly start coming back together to resemble something of what I remember it to have looked like back in November.  I miss those days of being outside ALL day on a nice day; after all, that is one reason we bought our house.  We have a large and miraculous backyard with a huge shade tree, a swing set, a trampoline, bikes, soccer balls, baseball gloves, skates, tennis rackets, ride-on cars, jogging strollers (yes, I have two of them), and so forth and so forth.  I’m looking forward to the spring – to letting the kids live outdoors while I do things like refinish the antique furniture that has been waiting patiently for my care in our garage for the past few months.  Maybe then life will return to normal.  I will be able to break my addiction from Facebook, internet surfing, finding more new music than I need on Pandora, and sewing (which is great, but not when it seems you can do nothing else).  After all, I have children that are trained to live life outdoors.  The play-dough has seen its last day of fun play in our household.  The crayons have all been used down to a nub.  The Christmas toys – although plenty – are already old.  We are ready for something new, something fun, and something freeing to release us back into the wild.  Hopefully next week is a sign of the dawn of peaceful spring and the end to guerrilla warfare.  We are impatiently waiting.  Meantime – let it be known – my sanity rests in the balance.

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