Slight Turbulence

Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on. From here to the eyes and the ears of the 'verse, that's my motto. Or at least it would be, if I start having a motto.

An Interesting Observation: It’s So Quiet

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The house is quiet. We seem to be moving around slowly — well, calmly might be a better word. I don’t know, things just seem more slow-paced. Could it be just because KidC is gone away to college? Odd. I just can’t comprehend how one person seems to have changed the pace of our entire family dynamic.

It’s possible I’m imagining it.

The girls are now only two sharing a bathroom instead of three. There are only four place settings at the table for dinner now. We rode in the smaller car to get to the mall. Goodness, that KidC really was a big part of our lives. (Well, he still is around… KidI, who has moved into his room, just asked when she could move the rest of his clothes out of “her” closet.)

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And Now We Are Four

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It’s been just about one week since we dropped KidC off at college.

I can say that now, with just a little heartache, and if I don’t dwell on the memories, without tears welling up in my eyes. Tomorrow will be Sunday. I last heard his voice Thursday morning when he called to coordinate banking information to set up his tuition payments. They told us at the 2-day Parent Orientation (PO) our communication would probably be relegated to fiscal issues – “send money mom!” The reality was KidC called to confirm his account and routing number so he could make some payments for books and supplies out of his savings account – he didn’t really even want my money!

He is supposed to call tomorrow. That’s our agreed on day to make contact. I’m told that I should be encourage that he doesn’t have time to call. It means he’s making friends, doing things, going places. Okay. I guess. In the meantime, KidA got a plea to keep me in the loop when she leave for college in two year.

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Getting Things Done

Today I went to work, then delivered KidA to an oral surgery appointment, shopped for cold foods after her appointment, dropped her off at home with directions for KidC and KidI to nurse her while I went back to pick up pain medication at the pharmacy that was conveniently closed when we left the dental offices.

I then revised the Chore Chart, which rotates about every quarter so the kids aren’t always doing the same chores for too long, then I pulled some weeds and raked around the house. Finally, I rallied KidC and KidI (with a surprisingly quiet tone) to help me remove all the furniture off the enclosed patio deck so we could sweep it and dry out the outdoor rug and pillows that endured the weekend winds and rain.

I feel accomplished on these kinds of days. I also feel alone. The DH is at the firehouse so these days happen regularly because his shift is 24-hours at a time.

I will feel alone and then I feel badly for feeling that way because so many military families do not even have the luxury of knowing their spouse or partner will be coming home the next day. So many single parents do the same thing, day in and day out. I also feel guilty for feeling that way because so often as I was growing up did I pride myself on my independence and ability to “go it alone” or “do it myself.” (I really painted myself into a corner on that one.)

It takes a little bit of effort to draw myself out of dwelling on the predicament. Really, I know whining helps no one. I know that I am fortunate to have the kids generally willing to help when I need it. I teach my children that feelings are always valid. People feel angry, discouraged, cheated, proud, exuberant, and comical. What counts is the actions you take, not how you feel.

So although I feel left alone to do so much of tasks, I remember to be thankful I have loving children. I remember to appreciate living in a nice home with a patio deck.

I know that alone is my choosing but I acknowledge the feeling… Then I focus on what needs to be done. The linen closet always needs to be straightened. A friend always needs a quick text to say “hi”. The kids could always get a hug.


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My Deciding Jar

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My Deciding Jar

My last blog post was about a Happiness Jar. Tonight I’m sharing my Deciding Jar. It was a gift from my girls (KidI and KidA). It contains about 100 slips of paper with QR Codes on each slip. The way it works is that I will scan the code to determine how much I will pay for their foot massages.

Two years ago, KidA thought it would be a neat idea to start a “loyalty card” for her services. She would punch my card every time I got and paid for a foot massage. Let me establish her skills at foot massages — she is incredible. Not only does she firmly massage all parts of the foot, she also will massage for a long time. At a certain point, I figured she should be rewarded for her skill and she set her price at $4 for a 30-minute massage. It is a great deal. Sometimes, it ends up being only 10 minutes per foot because she’ll get carried away in conversation or she’ll focus more on what is on television. She also insists on starting on a fifteen minute interval so that she ends “properly.” So I’ll have to sit and wait until it is 8:15 or let her stay past her bedtime to end at 9:15.

So I was happily getting my feet massages and paying her pretty regularly about once a week when she came up with the loyalty card. I was not very diligent about getting it punched. I had no idea what I would get if it was completely punched. Then last January KidA announced that all the punches were done, revealing my prize — half off massages for the rest of the year! Winner!

She admitted that she thought I’d finish the card back in October or maybe November. That would leave only a month or two of the half off price. None the less, all last year, I got my massages for only $2!

This year, she was a little more savvy and my discount ended at the stroke of midnight on the last day of 2014. No matter, I now have this ingenious “Deciding Jar” to give me the possibility of deal. Plus, KidI is in on the massages so really, I would have to say, a pretty great Christmas gift for mommy!

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The Happiness Jar

Improvised tickle tool

A few years ago, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love author) encouraged fans to start their own Happiness Jars as she had done. She would write the best moments of her day on random pieces of paper and store them in a jar. Since I want to grow my writing skills, I’m looking for focus, inspiration, routine, basically anything to help me get going.

It is about 8:40 PM on the first day of 2015. I’m contemplating reminding the girls that their bedtime is 9 o’clock. I’m also taking the time to determine my best moment of the day.

Was it returning home from our four-day staycation? Vacationing is fun. It always reminds you of things you truly appreciate back at home. Things like strong water pressure in the shower. Or a full kitchen with spices, condiments, and utensils. Familiar sounds and all my clothes, shoes, and toiletries (because the DH always encourages us to “pack light.”

Maybe it was heading to the Tolentino Pavilion (aka Auntie Cindy’s house) for a late lunch with her family. Good food, great conversation, high spirits because it is a new year. Added plus that the second cousins all get along and actually put down their mobile devices and interacted with each other.

I could think of a few more moments in contention for “the best” however, I think it would have to be as I sat on the couch reading through Flipboard articles and the DH declared “One minute!” At that, KidI jumped up and started an attempt to make her daddy laugh. KidA soon joined in to find his tickle spot. At the last possible second, the DH laughed loudly and the girls called themselves champions as they continued to laugh as KidC and I watched their craziness. That moment, right there. My family. Enjoying themselves. Together. Best moment of January 1, 2015.

Happy New Year everyone!