Friday, November 05, 2004

First Snow Crazies

Funny how two girls that are usually such bed slugs in the morning both leapt out of bed with wild shrieks this morning when their Daddy told them it was snowing! The fat, white fluffy flakes had turned to sleet and slush by the time we went up to the bus stop, but both girls were taking great delight in making tiny piles of slush to jump on and spattering me with “wet slush guts!” Yeeeesh!

I’ve assigned this morning as “catch up on e-mail” time since it is so easy to get impossibly behind when over 80 messages a day come in. I’d love to delegate that task to someone, but since Erin isn’t old enough yet to be a computer helper, I try to keep on top of things as best I can. I have over 750 in the box right now and need to weed that down to at least 650 by filing, sorting and saving them to disk. That should clear up some memory in the e-mail program and stop it from being grumpy.

Yesterday was the only sunny day since last Saturday and I ran around the house in a blaze of energy sorting and tidying, getting laundry on the line and sketching out ideas in the sunshine at our dining room table before Erin took it over with her homework. We knew that being in a 4-5 combined class would challenge her, but the homework has been exceptionally heavy this week and she felt very overwhelmed by bedtime last night. It was the first time she looked at me at 8:30 at night and said “I just want to go to sleep, my brain is tired!” She leapt out of bed to see the snow and then remembered a small assignment that wasn’t in her homework book so she raced downstairs to copy out her verb conjugation of MANGER (to eat) 5 times before breakfast. The average rule of 15 minutes per grade level certainly didn’t apply this week, but she’s learning to get things like projects and book reports done steadily instead of waiting for the end of November deadline. I’m also learning from her as well. So often, I end up with crazy, last minute deadlines... but since Toronto, I have been doing well at keeping ahead of the game and not giving myself too many “superwoman” goals. Now that I’ve written that down in my blog, I hope those don’t end up being famous last words!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Of Hissy-Fits and Hamster Wisdom

It’s one of those cold, grey, rainy days in November that really lets you know Winter is on the way... just cold enough to make being wet miserable as you stand waiting with your children for a school bus that has yet to meet a regular pickup time. I walked home trying not to step in any puddles since my boots seem to have sprung some new leaks, knowing that it was going to feel wonderful to wrap my hands around a mug of warm tea as I blogged this.

It has been raining and cold since Halloween night, so perhaps it is getting to the girls, but they were just horrid to each other yesterday. I had the van in order to take Erin to the doctor’s for a follow-up to make sure that her tonsils were going back down after the last infection and tried to do most of my messages before I picked them up from school. During the one stop I couldn’t put off and was looking forward to the most, they got into a huge fight in the store and Bethany ended up having one of those total meltdown hissy fits that I haven’t seen in ages. Absolutely mortified but sticking to my guns of “This is not how we behave in a store we are leaving NOW!” I handed the book making papers I’d wanted to play with back to the sales clerk and told him that I would be back to shop sometime without my children before marching them both to the van. Before we had children, I can remember seeing other kids have hissy-fits in stores and thinking to myself, rather smugly, MY children will never do that!! I am sure seeing my two at their finest yesterday was a wonderful form of birth control for any single people in the shop. The amazing thing is how quickly tantrums like that blow over in children. Perhaps they haven’t yet mastered the adult art of holding a grudge. Within half an hour of getting home, Bethany wandered down from her room with a hand drawn “Sorry” card to Erin and I. Erin was more reluctant about saying sorry back to her sister, so perhaps she is already learning what we adults should not be proud of knowing... how to keep anger inside and let it smolder. At least by this morning, all seemed to have been forgotten and forgiven.

Coming down into the basement with my mug of tea, I peeked in on Nipper, our dwarf hamster, who was curled up snugly in her nest of shredded kleenex and toilet paper. We just learned a few days ago that the fluffy bedding we’d been buying at the pet shop was probably not the best thing for her to sleep in since arranging it can sometimes harm their little cheek pouches. Kleenex and toilet paper will be much cheaper anyway and she certainly has had fun shredding it even smaller than we provided it to make herself cozy.

I watched her twitch in her sleep and felt a bit envious at her wisdom. Nipper obviously knew that this was the time of wet, cold day where one should just snuggle up somewhere cozy and do very little. We’ve just put the fuzzy “Brunswick” sheets on our bed (sometimes called health sheets and oh so wonderfully cozy) and the urge to crawl back under them was pretty tempting... until I thought about the heart attack that might give our cleaning ladies this morning. I don’t wake up from naps very well and nothing is scarier than a grumpy dragon with bed head! I shall have to pass on that Hamster wisdom for now and get my work done...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Silences... Spirits... and Saying Goodbyes!

I’ve been quiet these days since getting back from Toronto. Partly because I needed some time just to hear myself think after the chaos of getting ready for the show. As an extrovert, I love to spend time with people like that... I get recharged in so many ways... and yet it still takes a lot out of me, so I think I just gathered in on myself for a while, unsure of what to say next.

There have also been two precious daughters that wanted a lot of attention once I got back and had lots of events & projects lined up. We got through parent/teacher interviews on Wednesday night and then I had the girls home with me for 2 days while there was no school. We carved SIX pumpkins this year and despite the awful drizzle tonight, most of them stayed light until the end. The girls and I had a very damp, chilly time trick or treating, but I popped them in the bath once we got back home and made them some Lipton soup before they sorted out their “loot” and scarfed down a few treats. It was a much better night that a year ago when I discovered that Bethany had broken out with her chicken pox 14 days after her sister as we were taking off her costume!

Silences sometime give us the break we need to really think about things. Last Monday night, I played for almost 5 hours at making an Inspiration Journal... a book of quotes and colours and things to read over when my batteries are feeling low. It uses a lot of the same techniques as scrapbooking... but the book itself is also the project. I had a blast just playing with colours, textures and lettering. It wasn’t something as work... just sheer play. Friday night, I made my second one as a tribute to a wonderful man in our church family who passed away this week. I wanted his family to know how much he had touched the lives of everyone in our family over the past year and let them know that we will miss him too. Today, we said goodbye to him in a glorious celebration of his life. The word funeral doesn’t quite fit. I sang in the choir and many of us kept the tears from flowing too heavily until we’d finished the last triumphant anthem. Then, it was safe to let the tears spill over. Erin found this death especially hard because at 9, she is just becoming aware that she too may have to face goodbyes like this someday. It made her sad to know that her friend, Sarah, had lost her grandfather. Not only did she ache for Sarah’s loss, she was shaken to think of how that might feel if she were to lose someone she loved that much. Sharing in the celebration of his life today and being there to give her friend a hug when most of the grown-ups were paying attention to each other seemed to really help.

Spirit is up at last on the website as a Halloween treat (though she’ll stay on the newsletter until December and then move to the samples page) and it feels odd to wrap up that series and say “goodbye” to it as well. It has been satisfying to create something that tried to encourage others to share their time or talents to make the world a better place.

As I move on to some new projects and challenges this month, I am going to try to get back into the habit of blogging. I find that when I let that , or my journaling, slip through my fingers and days run into each other, I am somehow more out of touch with myself..... and besides. The more my hands are on the keyboard, the less likely they are to raid the kids Halloween treats!