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Asthmatic kitty sleeps with the fishes.  He took out our  love seat today.  He’s been kicked from the Brownlee family circle of endearment and understanding.  So, where does that leave me?  Only labeled as the most evil mother in the world by none other than my own offspring – three tiny little girls that will for a short while to come rank me right down there with heartless fairytale stepmothers they have been reading about for the past three or four years.  I have been Disneyfied with the worst of the worst. 

Is it worth it?  Heck, yes!  I know that makes me sound terribly terrible, and horribly horrid, especially to the animal lovers of the world.  For all of you I have one thing to offer:  a free cat.  He may for no apparent reason pee on your bed, your carpet, your rug, your bath mat, blankets left unattended on the floor, or dirty laundry you  have yet to stick in the hamper.  Frankly, I just can’t handle him anymore.  Let’s face it, kids are already gross as it is – horrible I sound, yes, I KNOW, I’m guilty.  Think about it though.  Kids need to come with a disclaimer that reads, “May spontaneously vomit and leak fluid.  May poop out of diaper, stick hand in it, then touch something before you can get to them.  May spill milk, juice, and smear sticky, slimy stuff on table after meals that will turn into a nearly irremovable crust before you can tend to it.  May need a bath shortly after a bath is given.  May ground gum into the floorboards of your Volkswagen…”  And so forth, and so forth. 

On a more positive note – now that I have probably lost the respect of my readers – I really REALLY love my kids more than anything on the face of Earth.  They are tremendously cute, vibrant, and funny.  They love you even when you have a hard time loving yourself.  They cheer you on, give the best hugs, and are honest.  Best of all, they provide a very interesting backdrop and commentary to life that I’m sure I could never again live without.  No matter what they do, I will adore them.  They make me mad, and I still love the hell out of them, even when I’m fussing about it.  I don’t really mind the unfortunate smear of snot on my pants shortly after getting dressed for the day.  I don’t mind scrubbing those crusty spots off of the table (or the green magic marker accident left there).  And even my worst annoyance, when they scream, sCrEaM, SCREAM in unison during a fit of sibling rivalry that exerts the high-pitched, deafening noises only little girls (and dying or birthing animals) are capable of, I still – somehow – think they are God’s most fantastic and beautiful creation (well, other than Christ).

So, asthmatic kitty has to go.  I’m not sure how, not exactly sure when (since that will be Jackson’s duty), but no worries as we aren’t savage beasts who would take a cat into the woods and shoot it.  We also wouldn’t abandon him on the side of the road to fend for himself.  Likely we will take him to the humane society from which he was adopted.  We will become evil villans to the granola animal lovers there.  Unfortunate it may seem, but I don’t really care much.  Frankly, I simply can’t care for the children (whom I adore) and the cat (whom I merely sorta adored) at the same time.  Someone’s gotta go, and I vote for asthmatic kitty; although, the children would disagree.  I’m certain to hear such declarations as, “I’m running away!  I’m moving out!”  And the worst of all, “I HATE YOU, MOMMY!”  All I can hope for is that some day the unfortunate demise of not only asthmatic kitty, but my evil-stepmother label will diminish into a story from the past we will share with laughter once the kids are grown; of course, this would be after those teenage years when they declare that this particular incident in their childhood that I am responsible for only “RU-WIND” their life!  I’m not sure what will be worse, throwing ourselves into the pit of animal-loving piranhas who see people like us as the scum of the earth, or trying my best to mend the broken hearts of my little girls.  I’m thinking it to be the latter of the two.  😦

This past November, when I decided to pull out my hand-me-down sewing machine from my grandmother and learn to use it, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  I have wanted to learn how to sew since I can remember, and it seemed fitting.  After all, my grandmother has been blessed with such talent as has my mother.  My mother has owned a dancing school for 42 years, and I grew up watching her sew not only curtains, costumes, and other theatrical paraphanalia, but she also made dresses for us as little girls. 

I remember sitting and watching her sew as a little girl with such admiration.  As I got older, I never really took it upon myself to learn how to sew, and even felt that home economics in high school was sobering and dull.  Yet, when I saw friends come across with creations of things they had made (bags, dresses, patchwork pants) I was envious of their talent.  I kept that desire to learn how to sew tucked away in my passions until that certain day in November when I decided to finally dust off the machine.

I have gone from making rag dolls to a diaper tote to, now, puppets, and I am not really anything short of obsessed with it.  Yesterday I decided to take these hand puppets a bit further and figure out how to make ballerinas.  Here is the outcome:

So, what is the point of this blog?  Am I writing to show off work, or to discuss the development of a seamstress?  No.  Actually, I’m writing to discuss how I feel that my perfectionist tendencies seem to get the best of me and I end self-defeated.  See, I was really pleased with the first few puppets, but then this one, which I expected to be even better, seemed to lack a certain appeal I was going for.  The tutu isn’t just right, the muslin fabric for the face lacks the character of the cotton stark white faces of the former puppts, and, well, it could just be better.  I find myself frustrated with it, and begin to wonder if a break is needed.  Yet, this is the point I come to with everything new I try; the sewing machine and the ballerina puppet are  just another example. I decide that perhaps this, or that, is better suited for another, and I decide to just give up (by the way, sending the girls to school next year is completely independent of this unfortunate thought process I possess). 

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person.  I give 100% of myself or nothing at all.  If I feel that I will not be good at something, I tend to give it a try then stop when I reach a great difficulty – telling myself that perhaps that particular route is for someone else and not me.  I’m discovering just now – in my early thirties – the error of my thinking, the self-induced cruelty of being a perfectionist.  The outcome is that I am just semi-good at a lot of things, but don’t really have a single thing that I do really well.  This sounds pathetically like a whiny complaint proper for a girl in her late teens, not a fully grown mother of three.  The difference is that at 18 you still have time for self-discovery, but at 32 you have the restriction of responsibility to others – to those you love more than life itself – to be consisent and reliable.

This past year of homeschooling has brought a lot of good things.  Not only has it been a benefit for the kids, but for me as well in my personal life.  I felt like if I could handle this year with success, I could do anything.  I decided that, yes, I am going to learn how to sew, I’m going to run a half-marathon, and I’m going to finish school.  I’m going to do all of the things I always wanted to do without fear of failure, without my ideals getting in the way.  I didn’t think I would come into this quest for – for a lack of a better word – more without a bit of resistance coming from no one other than my own self. 

I don’t even know what it is I’m looking for…searching for…trying to achieve.  Is it graduating from college?  Is it learning how to perfect a craft?  Is it becoming a better writer…an athletic runner…a better mother?  I have absolutely no idea.  However, there is something there.  It’s sort of this feeling of looking up at a really high wooden shelf.  I can’t see what’s up there as I could if the shelf were perhaps made of glass, and I can’t help but let my curiosity get the best of me.  I’m left standing there, a single arm raised as my body is stretched out as long and far as it can go on that side.  I am determined to reach whatever it is on that shelf – to grab ahold of the secrets that rest there.  You see, that shelf has always been there, those things have always rested in the same place, collecting dust from years of neglect.  I have come to this very spot, but have tired quickly from the stretching, the trying – ending always face to face with my own self-defeating ideals.  “Well,” I have always concluded.  “Those things are obviously for someone much taller and limber than I.”

There is something different this time.  Homeschooling the girls this year has brought about a certain vigor.  Not only will I stand here and stretch for as long as it takes to reach that shelf – to reveal the treasures there – I will climb a ladder to get there if I have to, no matter how strong I have to become, no matter how many perfectionist tendencies and ideals I have to shove aside at each new height I reach.

Perhaps the sewing machine, the rag dolls, and the puppets in their semi-decent tutus are just a step closer to reaching something bigger than I could have imagined.  I called my mother last night who kept telling me that it will all come together some how.  “Don’t you see,” she protested, “how it’s all coming together?”  I sort of can.  I like to run, a lot, and I have decided to take it further…much, much further (and farther) than I ever could have imagined.  I am defying the odds set in place by my own ideals that determined anything more and better was for someone else – someone more athletic.  Also, while I love writing this blog and keeping a journal, I have always felt that writing was for someone more talented, more educated, or more creatively blessed.  A thousand ideas I have had for writing children’s books, yet, I have never gone further than thinking about the stories, imagining what lessons they would teach, or how I would want the illustrations to look (favoring the likes of comic books, or something a bit more soft).  My latest idea involved a ballerina in a tutu and a cape, but I’m not going to share that story now.  Without relating the two I started making these dolls, then these puppets that have become ballerinas.  Perhaps the next one I make will have a cape as well? 

 There is no clearly defined path I am following; the roadmaps set forth by the more well-defined travellers in our society have all been written for those 18 year olds who can leap into self-discovery with the age-given right to be selfish with time and goals.  For me – a mother of three little girls who look to me to provide so much consistency and security to remain the same (they even get a bit upset at their young age if I decide to change something as simple as my hair color) – I have to be a bit more careful in the steps I take on my path.  I’m definitely on a road that has been lost by years worth of debris I have been too busy to have time to clear.  Instead, I have just set out a bit here and there, listening to the dried leaves crack beneath my feet, and kicking fallen branches around.  I have made a little bit of headway, slowly revealing a bit of dirt here and there, but never really uncovering with clarity the fertility of the soil.  Perhaps, I’m beginning to embark on that?  I know that homeschooling the girls this year has provided the determination necessary to continue clearing the way, and not only for myself, but for my girls who will hopefully never cease to look to me to never change – to always be me.  In that case, I must go forth carefully.  I must press forward without really changing.  I must develop my craft without straying away from those who matter the most.  I must seek to be a greater version of myself without tiring from the constant stretching, pulling, and yearning.  I know one thing is for certain, I do not want to turn around some day – old and gray, and perhaps bitter and cold – and regret never reaching what is on top of that shelf I have already spent too much time walking away from, presuming that the treasures there were meant for someone more  than I.

I have been thinking about what to do with this blog once our homeschooling year comes to a close and the girls begin attending private school.  Perhaps I could rename it – Restapling?  No, that’s really lame.  I could always start a new blog, or perhaps go back to writing on my old wordpress.com blog called Confessions in Carolina.  The only problem with that blog is that I got a lot of hits from porn sites.  I have no idea why really.  Perhaps because of what the word confessions implies?  I guess a confession is a telling of a sin, which people associate with dirty, sexy things.  Weirdos! 

I can always just keep blogging on here, but then I’m thinking most of my readers are people who are interested in listening to me write about homeschooling adventures and antics.  I would also have to change the tagline, rename…agh, I don’t know!   For crying out loud, this is just a blog; however, it has also become a home for my thoughts.  On one hand moving out and opening a brand spankin’ new blog would be nice, but it would lack character.  On the other hand, staying here would require remodeling the parts that actually give this blog character.  Then there is moving back to Confessions in Carolina, which is sort of like moving into a house that needs massive cleaning to rid itself of all the rodents who frequent there – you know, because stories about breastfeeding infants and a mother entering the world of three children is so freaking sexy.  Gross!

Then, what will I write about?  I’m going back to school, the girls will be in school, and surely that will bring many adventures to write about.  There will continue to be things to discuss; after all, I can’t only share interesting tidbits of information via Facebook – geez, I’m such a loser.  I have taken on more sewing projects so perhaps I could write about that.  Here let me find a photo for you of my latest artsy quest:

Poppet Dollies

p.s.  We know that wallpaper is gross.  We plan to remove it.  I often think that it is a dangerous, evil, cursed background in our dining room that sucks my thoughts into a swirl of magenta and sage, reproducing them into thoughts of aprons, pot roast served on a fancy ivory platter, and having to wear skirts and stockings every day – I would rather suffocate in those wretched vines!)

Not too shabby for teaching myself to sew this past November.  I have taken an interest in making toys for the girls (stuffed, cuddly things).  The girls got a Melissa and Doug puppet theater from their grandmother for Christmas so I bought an animal hand puppet pattern for a $1 at the fabric shop.  I attempted to make the dog, but it turned out terrible-looking.  The same night while falling asleep I saw these dollies in my head and decided to use the head and hand pieces from the pattern to make these, which turned out so much more awesome than the animals ever would have.  I have also ventured into the world of making diaper bag totes which I have gotten numerous compliments on – mostly by strangers I pass by.  Once I have the time to sit down and figure out Etsy, then get someone with photography skills (trust me, ANYTHING is better than what I can take), and make a few more things, I will post them on there to see if they sell.

So, a blog about a mom returning to college life as a non-traditional student, a blog about the girls going back to school, a blog about sewing, or perhaps a blog about running and fitness???  Or, perhaps just a blog like this post; it would be full of random thoughts, dreams, desires, and a narration of life evolving from one stage to the next – children aging, marriage tweaking, the ups and the downs of life as it unfolds in written word.  Who knows?  However, I do hope that I will continue to have as many people visit and experience life from my hindsight (I may be the only one who thinks that is interesting – oh, well) as have since I started this blog at the beginning of the school year.  Worst case scenerio, I lose all of my readers and type into thin air, which sadly enough doesn’t sound so bad.  😉

You’ll have to pardon my lack of pure homeschooling wonder in my posts lately.  It’s not that homeschooling isn’t full of wonderful things, but I’m just not sure how interesting it is to type about what we are doing in math, or how Jane has picked up a knack for breaking apart my sentences – informing me of any verbs, adjectives, and nouns I might have unconsciously spoken.  She will also break out in a sudden “watch me act out a verb” movement such as running a lap from the dining room table, through the living room, around the kitchen, and back again.  (Yes, I am aware such incidences may become a problem once she starts school in the Fall.  Yes, I make a point to say, “that’s great Jane!  Just remember that in school that would be really weird.”  She usually rolls her eyes at me, then we laugh.  I really, REALLY hope she gets it.)

As for Annie, in all honesty, homeschooling just isn’t much of a go.  She was working so well with me when she was still in school.  On her off days she would spend time at the table begging to homeschool.  Now that she is at home I get about 5 minutes before she slowly melts out of her chair – literally.  She starts to sink in her chair, little by little, until eventually she reaches the floor, gets under the table, and dashes off to play.  I could drag her back, sit her at the table, (hot sauce her – YES, I’M KIDDING!), and force her to learn her alphabet like a well-disciplined Mommy Dearest; however, boxing my kid’s ears to teach them something just isn’t my forte.  In fact, that seems very counterproductive; as in, “here kid, you’re gonna learn and you’re gonna like it, or else I’m gonna blobbity, blob, blee, blah!”  I feel that learning, especially at the preschool age, should be fun not pressured.  As an alternative we do things like counting abc blocks as we build towers, use those same blocks to make an abc order train, or build an abc order building.  Other than that we just…well…color…and draw…and make jokes…and enjoy time together.  (Yes, I love to color, and I’m not ashamed.) 

As for Molly – my little baby when we started homeschooling – she has become an accident waiting to happen.  We have not had a child break a bone as of yet, but I am certain Molly will be the first.  She like a baby Evil Kenevil, if that is even possible; I guess considering her age and coordination she is more like Super Dave Osborne.  If we notice Molly isn’t in sight Jackson and I are very quick to ask, “Where is Molly?” or “Jane and Annie, is Molly with you?” or “Are all of the doors shut?…the gate locked?…etc?”  It has happened recently that we have walked into the room to find her standing on the dining room table, fishing pebbles out of the fireplace, or more recently, climbing the backs of the kitchen table chairs like they are ladders.  Luckily she hasn’t made it so far up without us grabbing her that she has actually tipped the chair over, or fallen over the top.  It seems inevitable considering that I am not a superhero and that she isn’t the first child.  Let’s just face it, with the first you lock them up in a secure, sterile safety zone, but by the third they have much more free-range.  Mommy’s attention is split between three children, the asthmatic cat, and the normal day-to-day functioning of a family of five.  Games up.  Mommy’s taxed.  The baby knows it.  All I can do is pray that if she does get herself into a pickle her guardian angel will be there like she has been thus far to wave the red flag of impending danger in my mind.  (Thanks Guardian Angel.  I owe you…yet again.)

So, homeschooling, life…yada, yada, yada (speaking of Seinfeld, then Larry David, then Curb Your Enthusiasm, then Super Dave Osborne).  We have gotten to a point in our year where it seems like homeschooling is very much a normal everyday part of life.  I have even ditched our overly-used planbook system in which I wrote down EXACTLY what we were doing at EXACTLY what time and for EXACTLY how long.  These days I say, “Jane, time to get some school work done.  What do you want to tackle first?”  She then decides between math, english, spelling, etc.  As for the time it takes, she may do one lesson, or an entire weeks worth.  Math may take 30 minutes if she is having fun with it and decides to do more.  Other days the same subject may take only 5 minutes if she is anxious to work a little longer through perhaps history.  The point is that learning is happening in a very well-absorbed and interesting way.  She just…gets it!  It sinks in.  She’s growing.  Her spelling is getting better.  She has learned to count change for crying out loud!  The best part is that she has had a great time getting here and looks forward to where she is going.  I know what you’re thinking, ‘What about when she goes to school?’  My answer is that it will be fine.  It’s not like I have locked her in a dark cellar completely void of human contact for a school year.  We have structure; somehow it’s there.  She’ll adjust well in the school we have chosen.  The teachers and staff at this school seem to truly adore things like Jane’s attitude, her energy, and her very grown-up-like questions and explanations.  Unlike the public school experience they truly seem to be interested in Jane as an individual and already seek to be able to meet her needs with enthusiasm.  This school seems to truly be a blessing.  That is how I know Jane will adjust back into school-life well.

That is all for now.  It is now 1:20 am, which I do not often see; however, I had a cup of coffee at 4 pm.  I broke the Mommy-gremlin rule:  no coffee after 2 pm, or else.  Thankfully this blog has put me to sleep.  Hopefully I can’t say the same for you, dear reader.

Finally (and I would do the little page-break thing about now, but I am actually really tired and don’t feel like it):  Saturday I ran 7 miles.  7 MILES!  It was outside, in our hilly neighborhood, and I ran up each and every one of them.  It was a solid, straight 7 miles of 100% running!  (Okay, now I’m confident that you fully understand that it was…7 MILES!)  When I completed my run I still had a block to walk before I got home.  There were people out, people driving by, and I know I must have looked crazy.  I smiled so big from that 7 mile mark and all the way home, drenched all the while.  Who cares!  7 miles!  I’ll be the crazy neighbor for that.

One last thing:  my friend Kim is coming to visit in March and asked me to do a half marathon with her then.  Of course, I agreed.  I think I can get up to 13 miles by mid-March, and anyway, I looked at this course schedule and know exactly where it is:  from the Titans stadium, down to Shelby Park, and back.  It’s almost humorous to think of running that far; it’s absurd.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  13.1 miles!  However, I am undoubtedly excited about running that distance with Kimmi and wouldn’t pass it up for the world.  She makes me laugh and I’m certain it will be the most fun-filled 13.1 miles I will ever run.

I am my own worst critic; well, as far as I know.  Going back and reading that last post on sickness was painful.  The mistakes were plenty and the boredom level high.  You’ll have to excuse me.  My mind is being reduced to rubble in the house-zoo of sick children while my creativity levels have been squished between the cracks.

Wishful thinking last night didn’t get me anywhere.  Today Annie woke up with the stomach virus in full swing, and after a night of Molly in our bed – Molly’s feet in my face then Molly’s head on my pillow then Molly’s little body viciously tossing and turning against my back – I am not only suffering from severe cabin fever, but I am now extremely sleep deprived.  For a mother of three little girls – one of them with school work to complete – this means a day-date shared between myself and a brewing pot of Chock Full o’Nuts.

Chock Full o’ Nuts: 

Only the Greatest Household Coffee EVER! 

On days like this I wish that we were TV people.  You know, ones that have super-cable with 100’s of channels full of hour upon hour of time-wasting possibilities.  We used to have that cable, but finally rid ourselves of the bill once we discovered that we were playing over $100 a month for the kids to watch Spongebob Squarepants three times a day (back to back) and the 10 o’clock news.  I can’t say I miss it much; although, the occasional day like today – when I have seemed to have exhausted my creativity levels and don’t have the concentration to read a good book – I often think it would be nice to visit those crazy Housewives of Whereeveritbe.  I sort of wonder what Ms. Whatserface is up to in her world of self-pity and over-indulgence.  Ugh, upon second thought, nevermind.  Honestly, reality TV is many a persons’ guilty pleasure, but for myself, I only have about a five-minute tolerance for it before I feel the need to get up and forget reality show people exist.  The world suddenly seems to fall back into order once they are forgotten behind the glass inside the box.

I must go tend to the littles.  Molly has cornered my nemesis, the asthmatic kitty.  We have an understanding:  I save his life and he doesn’t use the bathroom in an unforgivable location in the house. 

Don’t let that face fool you.  He’s cute, but he’s smart and his face is smug.  I’m pretty sure that he was trained by the mafia prior to being dropped off at the humane society where a foolish, unsuspecting mother – me – adopted him. 

 

As for Annie, she looks sadly zombie-like today and moves around comparatively so.  The only thing she is lacking is a jagged, bloody facial scar.  Knock on wood!  On a positive note Jane is well and Molly seems to have woken up considerably less fussy than she normally does – she is the morning grouch in the family.  Perhaps I’ll brew another cup of coffee, help Jane finish her schoolwork, then break out the sewing machine.  I feel the urge to make the girls each a little rag dolly animal with little blankets to wrap them in.  If I get around to that I’ll post photos to share.  🙂 

Here’s to hoping this blog has found you well, dear reader.

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The Sneaker Chronicles

(see tab at the top of the page to read about the challenge)

Saturday, January 22nd:  6 miles

Time:  1:13

Average Speed:  5.0

Feeling Upon Completion:  Bliss

Yesterday was a recovery day, and tonight will be a very short run.  3.1 miles (5K run) are on the schedule.  My short runs have become enjoyable as I have spiced them up by challenging myself to run them faster.  I started out completing them in about 35 minutes and I’m now at about 30.  My speed during long runs ranges from 4.8 to 5.2, but on short runs it ranges from 5.0 to 6.2. 

The downside to running lately:  blisters.  I know that is incredibly gross and I’m sorry, but it’s the ugly truth.  The issues with my knee and the shin splits experienced early on have gone away, but one problem leads into another with running.  It is definitely not a glorious sport by any means.  It’s hard on your feet; I read somewhere recently that your feet hit the ground around 800 times per mile.  I remember in my early twenties when I first started running; it seemed to be such a wonderful, carefree sport.  It seemed nothing was needed other than a pair of good shoes, powerful legs, and motivation.  However, I have found over the years that it also takes a heaping amount of determination, a strong-will, and a high endurance for pain.  Also, my physical therapist a few years ago informed me that it was a good rule of thumb to purchase new running shoes every 300 to 400 miles to prevent injury – at which point I also discovered the expense involved in this seemingly carefree sport.  My ignoring this latest rule of thumb is where the blisters are coming from today.  I have worn my current shoes down.  In addition, they are so broken in that they allow too much movement in my shoe which creates a lot of friction.  While awaiting the arrival of my new super-cool Adidas running shoes I am left working with what I’ve got.  In the meantime, I read that you can duck tape between your instep and the outside of your foot to reduce friction.  Sounds painful, but I tried it anyway.  I discovered that 1) the tape comes off easily considering the thin layer of gauze placed under the tape, and 2) it doesn’t really work very well at all.  Ah, Adidas shoes, please bless my doorstep this week.  Until then my endurance for pain will be tested, but nevertheless, the challenge must go on; my next long run will be Saturday.  7 MILES!

It was a week ago Thursday; that puts us at one week and three days, or ten days.  It started with just one, attacking Annie first.  It was the “mysterious fever bug” – the fever is the only symptom – the girls often get off and on every year.  A glimmer of light embraced our home by Monday morning – Jane’s birthday – when Annie had officially gone 24 hours without fever; the party was on.  We had a movie, cake, and fun times with friends, and to quote Charles Ingalls and reference our latest adventures in literature, “all’s well that ends well.” 

 That was not the case for us.  Monday night Molly was congested and fussy.  She was up several times during the night.  A visit to the doctor Tuesday confirmed our beliefs; it was an ear infection.  No problem.  Antibiotics usually kick out those symptoms after the first one or two doses and coupled with Motrin the unfortunate child is usually all better after 24 hours.  However, Tuesday night Jane started to feel a little icky so we missed dance, and decide that a night at home wouldn’t be such a bad idea. 

Wednesday the light shines again.  Jane seems well.  Perhaps she ate something, or was just very tired?  She never really displayed any symptoms the night before other that complaining of feeling icky; therefore, we got up that morning in great anticipation of leaving the house for at least part of the day.  Considering that we had books due and needed new ones to read, we decided a trip to the downtown library was in order. 

 Halfway through storytime I checked on Jane who had decided that for this particular day she was too old for storytime and opted to read books on her own; after all, she had turned 7 since last week, and she really was so much bigger all of a sudden.  😉  I couldn’t argue with that.  To keep an eye on all three children I let Annie sit in storytime and I stood outside of the theater door with Molly, going back and forth to make sure both girls were okay.  It was like one moment found Jane blissfully reading while the next she was revisited by the icky feelings, except this time they were clearly visible.  The corner of her eyes were bloodshot, her nose was runny, and she looked tired and out of sorts.  We gathered our books and promptly left to head straight for home.  That night, Jane is not well, Annie seems to be coming down with the same nasty cold, but thankfully Molly seems to be faring well. 

It is Saturday before things begin to look up.  I started my day with a 6 mile run; my first ever!  I got out to visit the store, gathering goods to have a mini in-home date night with Jackson.  Later that night as I’m cooking in the kitchen – the delicious aroma of fresh pasta, artichokes, basil, tomatoes, and garlic filling the air – I feel at peace.  All three girls are watching a movie quietly in the living room, Jackson had gone to get a bottle of wine, and the radio in the kitchen was tuned to NPR. 

I think it was somewhere around the time that I began to  pour the pasta into the sautéed vegetables that Jane called out, “Mommy, ewwaahhhh!  MOM-AY-AH!  MOLLY JUST PUKED ALL OVER THE PLACE!  MOM-AY-AH!  HELP!  It smells so GROSS!”

Her long complaint of finding herself in a rather distasteful situation was warranted.  I did take a second to process the information and respond.  First I thought, ‘there is no way that just happened.’  Then I thought, ‘okay, yep, it probably did.’  Breath in…breath out.  Slowly look into the living room from the kitchen.  Confirmed.  Yes, she did in fact puke all over the living room carpet, and there I was…alone…with all three kids…cooking a meal that didn’t have a pause button.  Breath in…breath out.

“MOM-AY-AHHHHH!  IT SMELLS SO BAD,” Jane screams once more as I enter the room to pick Molly up and carry her to the bathroom.  Now, you would have thought that Jane was in the middle of this mess; however, she was sitting on the far side of the room, clear of danger.  On the other hand, Annie was laying on the floor where this accident had happened nearly inches from the top of her head, yet there she lay, quietly looking at me.  I winked at her in a ‘that a girl’ sort of way.

I clean up Molly and the carpet.  Thankfully our dinner was okay, but obviously our night took a different turn.  Our wine sat untouched, our tasty meal was eaten quickly, and the kids were fussy all the while.  The rest of our night looked much the same.  Jackson and I lay in bed watching TV, holding Molly, and running back and forth to the bathroom every time she threw up.  I remember the clock saying 2 AM the last time I looked at it before finally falling asleep.

So here we are:  Sunday.  The day was met with a trip to church for CCD and Mass, but other than Jane and I, everyone had to stay at home where their sickness could be contained.  It’s now 10:15 at night and I feel like the whole week has run together in a blur of sickness, in a world that has been reduced to 2500 square feet, but with glimpses of the real world as wellness teased us here and there. 

 At first weeks like this one don’t seem to be so bad.  A couple of days indoors can be productive; after all, Jackson and I were well and I did get to visit the YMCA to run when Jackson was available to help out with the girls.  It’s when those couple of days turn into two more, then two more, then two more that you start to go nuts.  You exhaust all of the good ideas, the weather is too cold to go outside, and the kids that are well off and on literally start climbing the walls – literally, Jane has been scaling the doorways.  They all begin to fight like savage beasts over things like glue, the remote, or a favored toy.  The television, DVD player, and the Wii have been played more often than I would like to admit.  However, it seems to be the only thing that keeps them from killing each other.  My only connection with the outside world begins to come in the form of the internet and Facebook.  Instant information and useless sharing of random thoughts begins to make the world feel very narrow.  I also begin to feel sick, but not physically; it’s emotional.  Everything sparks an upset and my nerves are shot.  I am no longer Super Mommy, but very much Crazy Mommy.  Our home has begun to feel like a zoo full of wild animals caged into a habitat that seems to be able to meet our every need.  I can’t think of anything we were lacking – not Books, paper, pencils, crayons, paint, play dough, food, water, toys, diapers, kleenex, nor medicine.  However, I can’t live cooped up like this.  I have to get out and be in the world.  I have to experience things, go places, listen to music in the car on the way to Nashville, have interesting conversations with people, and feel like I’m a part of the world.  Dear God, I really hope this is the end.  I really hope that tomorrow the girls wake up and everyone…EVERYONE….is well.  I need to move from virtual life to life in real-time, from kids in jammies to kids in jeans, from puking to laughter.  Hopefully the peace of tonight and all girls seeming well will bring the light back home so that we can carry it out into the world with us this week.  All’s well that ends well, right Mr. Ingalls?  All’s well that ends well.  Dear God, I really and truly hope so.

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10 Things that annoy me today:

1.   Winter and Snow

2.    Having some serious writer’s block issues lately; hence my sudden lack of new posts.

3.   The whole idea of cloning a woolly mammoth.  What the crap is that all about??  That just seems like it might really throw off the earth’s natural process of ridding itself of large, hairy animals that might eat us.

4.   Sam Champion who is always somewhere tropical and warm and lovely lately.  Jerk!

5.   Music on the pop stations: 

Dear Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc, etc, etc…

Your music is low-class poetry if even that.  It’s more like a low-class collection of trashy words that make me want to punch you in the face for inspiring an entire generation of young girls to push their sexuality as a form of feminine power.  Jerks! 

Love,

 This Bitter Old Prude

6.   The titles given to real-life events on the major networks – Tragedy in Tucson, The Congresswoman and the Astronaut.  I’m curious what they will come up with when 2012 rolls around and we have another Y2K year of freakouts and Spam hoarders.  (Take your Spam.  If the world ends I really would rather die first than eat that mucus-covered, meat-in-a-can for the rest of my short life.)

7.   People who can’t merge in traffic.

8.   People who don’t acknowledge you when you say things like, “Sorry” or “Excuse me”.  I often walk a little past and say, “Nevermind,” but always under my breath b/c I’m a wimp like that.

9.   Getting really excited about making a new recipe that sounds yummy and exotic and superb then you spend forever making it only to find out that it is really not very good at all.

10. Learning the hard way that there are three things you don’t do before putting a 15 month old bed:  1) giving them a chocolate chip cookie; 2) playing peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek from behind the sofa; 3) the combination of both of those things.

10 Things I LOVE today:

1.   When my girls play nicely together.  It comes in small spurts, and it makes me feel like we live in Better Homes and Gardens instead of in a Tim Burton film.  Although, Better Homes and Gardens is kind of unrealistic and lame and Tim Burton has such a beautifully creepy imagination.  Perhaps in between the two is a nice place to be.

2.   Molly’s laugh b/c it’s the best sound in the whole world.  She laughs with her entire mouth open in a huge smile and it bellows from her tiny belly in the cutest raspy sound.

3.   Nashville b/c it is the greatest city ever.

4.   Running b/c when I finish each mile I feel like I’m on top of the world.

5.   Running indoors on a freezing cold winter day then going outside and not even needing a jacket to be warm.

6.   Having homeschooled the girls for so long that when they get in the car they ask to listen to stuff like Van Morrison, the Beatles, or jazz instead of stuff like Miley Cyrus.

7.  Finishing school work in the first two hours of the day on a beautiful day then getting to spend the rest of the day outside playing with the girls.  I REALLY look forward to those days returning soon.

8.   The fact that I’m going back to school in the Fall; the fact that Belmont has a Montessori education concentration; feeling like I’m moving on to a new chapter of life.

9.    The fact that we found an absolutely fabulous private school for the girls next year.

10.  The fact that I just broke that news to my readers under the LOVE column.  Thanks for reading my homeschooling blog this year.  I have been avoiding writing a post on this choice we have made because I want to make sure I word it right.  I don’t want to discourage those reading b/c they want the inspiration to homeschool, I don’t want to upset homeschoolers, and I don’t want to seem like I’m sending them because this year has been a negative experience.  Obviously, it has been one of the greatest years in the world of parenting thus far.  I promise to write that post soon. 

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The Sneaker Chronicles

(you can read about the challenge in the tab at the top of the page)

Week (??…I lost count)

I have been running 3 miles one day then 5 miles the next; working my way up to 6 miles by next week.  So far it takes me about an hour to get 5 miles in – that is running for a solid straight hour.  I’m hoping that by the time I get up to 7 and 8 miles the weather will be getting warmer and the mornings will see the sunrise a little earlier.  I can only leave the girls for about an hour and a half in the childcare at the Y so time will eventually become an issue.  Thankfully my long runs will be saved for Saturdays when Jackson can help out.  I’m getting there slowly, but surely. 

I read in a training schedule today that if you are planning to run a mini-marathon for weight-loss alone then you are highly likely to fail.  They said you need other goals as well.  I say, “You have never confronted a mother who gained a crap-load of weight having three babies, but who has the determination of a pit-bull tied to a tree in a yard full of squirrels.”  I guess I do have more goals than just that.  A huge part of this challenge was just to start running again, and to take my running to an entirely new level.  The fact that my pants are getting a little more loose is just a really nice side-effect.