Watermelon Roses

A collection of random thoughts, commentaries, and journaling. There is a lot to explore here, including links to other sites of mine. These are mostly for my own benefit, but guests are welcome to browse and explore as much or as little as they like.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Resolution Revision

Lest the few readers who keep up with me should think that I've already failed in my resolution to write more, here's an update. Apparently I can't even find the time to write on weekends without staying up until the wee hours of the morning (note the time of this post.) I've decided that making a habit out of writing will have to wait until I've made a habit out of SLEEPING. I think I should also make habits that involve managing my time more wisely, thus making time for the writing.

It occurs to me that I should also make an actual list of the year's new habits, since at the moment they're just floating randomly through my head. Here we go ...

January: Make bedtime a priority. Dishes can wait until morning if they have to. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, preferably 9 until my sleep deficit is paid. The month is already half over - no time to waste on this one!

February: Get moving. Make exercise a priority. Having enough sleep and getting more exercise should go a long way toward improving my patience and stress levels!

March: Plan meals and snacks, even those (especially those) for times when I'm on-the-go. Planning healthier choices and taking them with me when necessary will keep me out of drive-thrus, saving both my heart and my money.

April: Manage mornings. I'd love to think I could learn to manage my whole day wisely in a month's time, but I know that's not very realistic, so I'm going to take it a bit at a time.

May: Manage afternoons. This is the trickiest part of the day for me, when I start to run out of steam and just want to either nap with the baby or snack in front of the television. Once it starts, it's hard to stop! I'm hoping the sleeping and exercising will have continued, giving me more energy and making this part a little easier.

June: Manage evenings. Once I'm out of steam and full of unhealthy snacks from the afternoon, it's really hard to be efficient about mealtimes and bedtimes. I tend to drag through these, fantasizing all along about collapsing into bed the minute the children are asleep, then playing the martyr and staying up late to finish dishes, laundry, and tidying that should have been done earlier in the day when I was doing nothing productive.

July: Get involved with the finances. I have no idea what is happening with our finances at any given moment. I do know that with the expected increase in our private school tuitions this fall, we could be in trouble if I don't participate in budgeting and cutting back where necessary.

August: Stop procrastinating. It's already mid-January, and I still haven't thanked people for Christmas gifts. I'm terribly embarrased by this, as I am every year. I'm slow to write thank-you notes, make phone calls and appointments, and pay the few bills that are not automated. I'm not sure I can kick the entire procrastination habit in one month, but if I can cover those things, it will be a good start.

At this point I realize that prioritizing the new habits is going to be difficult, unless I double up and take on two per month. The finances and the end of procrastinating really can't wait for summer! I'm not sure what to do about this yet, so I'm leaving them where they are for now.

September: Back to writing. If I've successfully started sleeping, exercising, eating better, and managing my days, I should be able to find time to write! All the children should be in school by this time, too, though I may have to take a job to make that possible. Regardless, I should still be able to find SOME time to write!

And I find myself running out of resolutions. I can be perfect in only nine months! Oh, there's one ...

October: Work on letting go of perfectionism. Assign chores to my four children and quit trying to do everything by myself because of the need to see that it is done right.

November: If I haven't already miraculously managed it by now, STOP YELLING. Re-read those parenting books on how to stop yelling, and actively work on it.

December: Be kind to myself. I'm asking a lot of myself this year, and if even one of these changes sticks, I should be proud of myself. I resolve to do my best, and not to be hard on myself if some areas still need work at the end of the year.

Now, in the spirit of January's improved sleep habits, instead of telling myself that it's already late so there's no need to hurry, I'm going to tell myself to turn off the computer and go to bed. I'm not going to check the news or the weather. I'm not going to check e-mails or Facebook updates. I'm not going to catch up on any more blogs. I'm not going to click on any more family pictures running through the slideshow in my sidebar in order to reminisce. I'm not going to see if it's my turn in any games of Words With Friends. I'm not going to check to see what the Free App of the Day is on the Kindle Fire. I'm not going to start a new book or check message boards. I'm not going to fold laundry or put away clean dishes. I'm not going to eat ice cream and catch up on missed television shows. These are all things I regularly do after my bedtime that deprive me of sleep. Here's to sleeping in and dropping these bad habits!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

This is Why

It's nearly midnight, and because I went to a book club meeting tonight, I just now finished the dinner dishes, the laundry, the tidying, and getting ready for bed. It's already more than two hours past my bedtime. Yep, I think this is why the blogging fell by the wayside a few years ago. I'm thinking weekly posts on weekends when I don't have to get up so early may be more realistic.

There's not much to say about today anyway, since I'm now so far behind on sleep that I snuck catnaps all day. So on to Plan B: taking back my bedtime and blogging on weekends!

Zzzz ....

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Sleep vs Blogging

I'm beginning to remember why I haven't blogged in years (besides blaming Facebook.) It's because I have so much to do with four children, a husband, a cat, and a house, that there's already hardly any time left to sleep! I have yet to get a full night's sleep this year.

The children are back in school! The husband is back at work! I had more peace today than I've had all winter vacation. My house is clean, decorations are put away, and I have a shiny sink. I even got the train tracks reassembled on the train table.

After school, I took the children to the January mini model build at the LEGO Store. Only a one and a half hour wait in line this month, which was somewhat better than the two hour wait last month. I'm still not sure if we're going to make this a regular thing. We're going to try getting there about 20 minutes earlier next month and see if that makes a difference. At least I came prepared with handheld electronic entertainment for everyone this time!

I accidentally watched The Bachelor tonight (when I should have been blogging and sleeping.) I just had it on while I was eating dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, but then I was hooked on the drama between Monica and Jenna and had to sit down and watch the rest. And now that I've seen the season's sneak peek, I'm probably in it until the end. Oops.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Day in Pictures

Layth and I had a nice couple of hours at IHOP today. We ate pancakes and played Monopoly on the Kindle Fire until the battery ran out while K took the younger three snow tubing. Zayd enjoyed himself for a little while, but was tired and cranky by the end. K says he can try again next year.

The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to get Layth to complete his application for middle school, which is due by next week. He needs to answer four essay questions, and after a long struggle today, we have two and a half down, one and a half to go.

Maya didn't want to go upstairs to get ready for bed tonight, and this was her excuse:
That's her dad on the left yelling, "Maya," me in the middle saying, "put her down," and Maya yelling, "Ahh" in the roaring monster's hand. Before you melt into a puddle of sympathy for this poor, frightened child, I should point out that she was cracking up over this picture, as were we all!

K went out to the store while I was putting the kids to bed, and came back with roses and ingredients for dinner, which he cooked for our 16th anniversary tonight. The roses were an unexpected surprise! We watched Year One after dinner. I like Michael Cera, but K wasn't very impressed with my choice of movie. :-)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Resolution Time ... Here We Go!!

Instead of the traditional New Year's Diet Resolution, I've decided to try to develop 12 good habits in 2012 - one per month. This month, as you may have already guessed, I am going to try to get back in the habit of blogging and journaling. These are often one and the same, but not always. As Facebook absorbed me into its Borg-like collective (resistance really was futile,) I found that I posted pretty much everything I felt the need to say, which made it difficult for me to want to maintain this blog. What I miss, though, is the journal-like aspect of it, and the ability to read through my history when I'm feeling nostalgic. That said, if the only thing I am inclined to write for the day is something along the lines of ,"Kids made me crazy today; can't wait to go to bed," I will probably spare my readers and put it in a journal (yeah, and probably Facebook,) rather than a blog post. Still, I expect to post here at least weekly if I'm successful in renewing this habit.

Here's hoping!

Facebook Highlights of the Day

A quote from the kids, while eating lunch at Burger King:

Layth: "What would happen if you planted a sesame seed?"
Maya: "Nothing would grow but a burger tree."


Today I noticed that many of my southern friends were having their traditional New Year's Day black-eyed peas, cornbread, and cabbage, which made me think that maybe I should, too. Unfortunately, this involved going to the store, which never happened. I did, however, find a honey cornbread recipe that I can't wait to try!

Picture of the Day

Maya and Rayan were striking silly poses in the full length mirror. I caught them holding hands in a sweet moment.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hanging On For Dear Life

The past couple of weeks are taking their toll on me. Big things, little things - it seems like the universe is testing my strength right now, piling on one thing after another just to see how much I can bear. Just in the past two weeks:

1. Can't figure out how to get to Texas for my Nana's last weekend.
2. Loss of my Nana.
3. Can't figure out how to get to Texas to be with my family.
4. Memories of the loss of the girls are stirred up by the loss of Nana.
5. Realization that all the little bruises on Maya's back and occasional swellings scarily close to her spine have been caused by Layth when I wasn't looking.
6. Rayan's refusal to stay in bed or to respond to any form of discipline.
7. The increasing antagonization between Maya and Rayan.
8. A much-too-realistic dream of losing Layth and Maya.
9. K's long hours making me feel like a single parent.
10. Destruction of my long-awaited LCD TV, a wonderful surprise gift from K, by Layth and Rayan.
11. Watching a friend suffer over a seemingly unavoidable move.
12. Being asked to keep a sad secret that is a heavy burden to bear.
13. Finding out that the economy is affecting us after all and that K's contract is not expected to be renewed, resulting in yet another job hunt and move.

As I write this, I am at war with myself, reminding myself that what is meant to be will be, knowing that what is meant to be may or may not be as great as what is, and both knowing and rejecting the pain that my deep love for this place and its people is going to cause me when this all sinks in.

I need to count my blessings quickly, before despair sets in!

1. I've been blessed with seven beautiful, bright children.
2. I have a loyal, faithful husband who works hard to support his family.
3. I was blessed to have two of my great-grandparents long enough to remember them (11 and 16 years,) my grandmothers well into my adulthood (28 and 39 years,) and to still have both of my grandfathers and both of my parents.
4. Though I mourn the loss of my TV and K is forever trying to pay off our credit cards, we are comfortable, have a lovely home, reliable cars, and plenty of food.
5. Maya is finally potty-trained.
6. I have the biggest support group I've ever had, and have no doubt that these amazing women will be here for me if I need shoulders to cry on.
7. I've been so fortunate to have lived in so many wonderful places, and though this is my favorite, I have no doubt that I will find things to love about the next place, too.
8. I've been able to visit Mt Rainier several times, and have marvelled at the winter wonderland it becomes when buried under many feet of snow.
9. As K pointed out last weekend, once we were living in the tiny cubicle of a hospital-appointed flat near London, sleeping on two twin beds pushed together and trying to ignore the painful raised frame between the two, and on Sunday we were in the Top of Vancouver rotating restaurant enjoying a gorgeous view of Vancouver over a delicious buffet brunch with our beautiful (if boisterous) children. How lucky is that??
10. I have cupcakes.
11. I may be TV-less, but I have a great computer and my Blackberry, so I can always feel connected.
12. I love to read, so I have an escape route when I need a break from reality once in a while.
13. I have a great relationship with my grown son, who actually tells me things and values my advice.
14. I am relatively healthy, with all my limbs, all my digits, and all my senses.

There - more blessings than complaints, and I do feel better, after all. Now all I need is a visit to my happiness page and I should finally be able to sleep.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Food, Fun, and Feathers!

K and I went to Teatro ZinZanni last night for a belated celebration of my birthday. It's very rare that we get a night out together without the children. We danced together for the first time in many years!

Teatro ZinZanni is like a mini Cirque de Soleil dinner theater. It's held in a 100-year-old "tent" that feels nothing like a tent on the edge of Seattle Center. The walls are paneled with mirrors and the ceiling is draped with sumptuous velvet. The performers interact with the audience, which was fun to watch, but left me anxious about being thrust into the spotlight. While I loved being the center of attention in my younger days, the weight I've put on makes me want to hide so no one will look at me. Sad, I know. I'm perpetually working on that! Fortunately, I was in a difficult spot for the performers to get to.

We shopped in the boutique before being seated and bought a hat for K and a feathered boa and mask for me. I felt appropriately dressed in all my feathered finery, and we blended right in.

I won't go into details about the show, but we laughed, we gasped, we danced, we sang, we cheered, and more than once our jaws dropped open in amazement. I had read some tepid reviews about the food, but I thought the 5-course meal was delicious. The performers came from all over the world: the USA, Canada, Brazil (K's favorite - a sultry musical beauty,) the Ukraine, and France (my favorite - a charming trio of acrobats.) There was opera, percussion, tap dancing, gymnastics, contortion, acrobatics, comedy, and love. The only complaint I have is that the photographer never made it to our table and we had been told not to bring a camera, so I have no pictures in the tent. The show changes every 3-4 months. This may well be the best date we've ever been on, and I can't wait to go back for the next show!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another New Year

A Maya Bunny Hops Into the New Year

No matter how many times I've heard it over the years, or how many times I've found it to be true, it never fails to amaze me how much faster time seems to fly as we get older. Zayd is two months old, though it seems only a couple of weeks since I was in the hospital. We suddenly have less than five months to secure a mortgage, find and buy a house, get inspections, sign paperwork, and close on said house, go through hundreds of boxes, hire movers, move into said house, and repair as much of the damage the children have done to our rental house as possible. It's been five and a half years since we lost Mina and Layla, and while in some ways that seems like a lifetime ago, at other times the pain and the memories are as fresh as if it had only been a few months. My sweet little fair-haired, blue-eyed boy is close to getting an apprentice degree and will turn 20 this year. 20! Holy cow, my heart skipped a beat just typing that. I'm about to turn 39 and will hit the big 4-0 in only a year's time, but it seems only a few years have gone by since I was completely panic-stricken about turning 30. (I'm much more relaxed about turning 40. I'm just a little amazed that it's actually happening.)

I know it's easier to stick to new year resolutions if you only make one or two, but I couldn't narrow it down enough this year. Here then are my resolutions, and let's see how long I can keep to them.

"In order to arrive at what you are not, you must go through the way in which you are not." - T S Eliot

1. Write! I completely failed at last year's resolution to finish a book and get it sent off to a publisher. In fact, I kept thinking I had so much time that I kept postponing it, and suddenly 2009 is here. This year, I'd like to try to write for one hour a week. That's all! That's not much, but it would add up to 52 hours more than I wrote this year.

2. Limit fast food to once per calendar week. I'd try to cut it out altogether, but I know I'd be setting myself up for failure. I'm so often on the run and have to grab something quick. I'm going to try to keep sandwich ingredients in the house and plan ahead so that I can take food with me if I'm going to be out for a while.

3. Limit sweet things to one per day. Again, I'd be setting myself up for failure if I tried to cut sugar out of my diet altogether. Baby steps!

4. Stop yelling. If there is too much fussing for me to be heard with a normal voice, I'll wait out the fussing. I'll physically remove a child from the situation if necessary rather than yelling at him/her to remove himself/herself. Imminently dangerous situations are excluded.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Snowed In

Our neighborhood, mid-week.

Maya catches snowflakes when the snow first starts to fall.

Zayd smiles at Gaga!

It has now officially been one week since I have been able to go anywhere by car. We've been out a couple of times to sled on our hill, but it's hard to get out there with them to supervise safe sledding with a tiny baby! I was so desperate to escape on Tuesday that I went and sat in my snow-covered minivan for 30 minutes. It was like being in a cocoon. Very dark and peaceful. I didn't really want to go back in, but K made me paranoid about carbon monoxide poisoning after telling me to be sure the snow wasn't blocking the exhaust pipe. It was too cold to sit out there with no heat, but when I started hallucinating headaches and visualizing my own sad death-by-stupidity, I gave up the peace and went back inside to embrace my chaos.

The weather people have been promising a big melt for days now, and it just keeps snowing, instead. K tells me it's raining in the lowlands, but up in our elevated neighborhood, nothing but snow, snow, and more snow. The children and I are a little (make that a lot) stir-crazy!

Can it be that baby Zayd is going to be two months old already on Sunday?? It seems that just a couple of weeks ago I was racking up the medical bills (approximately $50,000 before insurance, is that not insane?) waiting for the baby to turn. My C-section worries are long forgotten, my precious little one is starting to get over his baby acne (the worst case one of mine has had since Mina,) and his beautiful smile eases the strain of confinement. I'm afraid he's going to be crawling before I know it!

Rayan is talking more, though it's still not understandable by those outside of our immediate family. He'll start special-needs preschool next month for 3 hours per week, with a couple more hours devoted solely to speech therapy. Maya is becoming much more imaginative in her play, and amuses us with talk of "stunks" (aka skunks) and general bunny-ness.

Maya the bunny pirate with her bunny parrot on her shoulder. She came up with that on her own!

Layth has become quite a reader, and our days of spelling things out to keep them a secret are behind us. He saw WALL-E for the first time this week and has watched it every day since. It reminds us of Mina's obsession with The Lion King. It was the first Blu-Ray movie I've watched on our new Blu-Ray player, and wow! What a joy movies have become. At least we have a great entertainment system to amuse us while we're buried under all this snow.

Speaking of being buried under snow, the look on our cat's face when she dashed between my feet in her usual attempt to escape and found herself belly-deep in snow was priceless.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Slowly Adjusting

Zayd at 2 1/2 weeks
A friend of a friend who is building her photography portfolio offered to come take some pictures of Zayd and did a great job, as you can see! Thank you, Jennifer!

That said, I can't leave out major kudos for our regular photographer, Leya, who put together this beautiful slide show for us:

I've started emerging from my sanctuary a little more as I'm getting into more of a routine with Zayd, although I still haven't found time to watch anything on my beautiful new TV, and still have a long way to go before getting back into a regular routine with all the children. I'm feeling much better now, 3 weeks after the surgery, and am just about back to normal.

Nursing is going a bit better, although I'm still having to supplement, and am gradually starting to accept that I may have to keep supplementing, since if I can't make enough milk now with all the help I have with the children, I'm unlikely to find time to keep working on it once I'm on my own with them.