5 AM Wednesday Morning

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I am never up at this hour. Why on earth am I awake now?

The simple answer is that I am hungry. I was so exhausted by the time it was time for bed that I didn't eat anything like I usually do. Also, the baby growing inside of me chose 4 AM as a good time to begin gymnastic exercise. And perhaps I am just overtired from pushing the double stroller full of kids around town yesterday.

It shouldn't have much of anything to do with how far behind/out of control I am feeling about Christmas preparations. No. I have spent the last hour thinking of all of the minute details that I want to accomplish on my day "without" kids, but this does not significantly reflect panic.

Some part of me wants to run away and hide. Hide from that part of myself that never stops planning. The part that is constantly thinking of all that needs to be done, could be done, might be nice to be done. If I am alone, I am rarely present. Instead I am somewhere in the future. Tomorrow, next week, a couple of months from now, whenever.

This is why I am late everywhere. This is why I get so irritated with my children who only understand "now". I really just want to be here. Not the future. How do I do this?

One week left... roughly

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So, essentially there is one week of advent left.

One week to have things ready for Christmas. Zoinks. Herein lies the beauty of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas... if you can't get it all done by December 24th, that's OK - you still have time.

You'd think this would be a far more popular way to celebrate Christmas than it is.

I have pajamas to sew...

Catching Up

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Saturday most of my housemates and I went tree-hunting. We drove to a tree farm just past historic Fort Langley. It was fine. There was still snow on the ground, so that made cutting down the tree less than pleasant, but there was a little fire and seats to warm up by and a refreshment stand that sold hot chocolate for $1 and hot dogs for $1.50. Pretty reasonable, thankfully.
After we left the tree farm we stopped in town at a fish and chips place and had lunch together. All in all we had a good time going on this adventure.

Presently the tree is outside getting used to being cut. One of my housemates has cooked up a large batch of tree food which is supposed to keep it happier longer. The tree should be moved inside in the next day or so.

On Sunday, my friend who just had her baby dropped off a bag of maternity tops. This was a huge blessing since I have been steadily growing out of my non-maternity clothes and my own maternity wardrobe is somewhat slim.

Today I have been rediculously productive. I had laundry sorted and one load in the wash before 8AM. The children and I took the DVDs back to the library and signed my daughter up for a toddler art class (we have to wait until next month to register my son for ice skating lessons). We then had a muffin and carried on our way with a bit of grocery shopping. We came home, the kids goofed around on the computer, we all ate lunch, and then did the nap routine. Fortunately, my husband came home briefly to help with naps, otherwise I don't think both would be sleeping at this point. With the children sleeping, I was able to wash all of our dishes and move laundry unassisted.

I should lay out the fabric and pattern pieces for the kids' Chistmas pajama pants, but I am not certain that I have that much energy left.

That's Done, What's Next?

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Last Sunday the drama group presented the story of Elijah.

The dragon turned out very nicely and there were only a few hiccups in its design. All were worked out by the performance. Personally, I am glad it is over.

I learned that I do just fine when I have backstage responsibilities. The insanity of 15-20 children of varying ages attempting to listen (or not) and work together (or not) does not bother me much when I am backstage handling props, lighting, special effects, sound, whathaveyou. As soon as I am onstage the cacophony of all of those individual creatures drives me berserk. I get grumpy and start being snappish (or worse) with the children who can not seem to pay attention and/or be quiet when that is needed. Not pretty.

So it's over now and I have learned a valuable lesson.

The next couple of weeks are already filling up with other important activities.

  • Tomorrow we go as a group of housemates to get a Christmas tree for the house.
  • Sunday we are responsible for bringing snack for both of my children's classes and we are responsible for overseeing the toddler room.
  • Monday entails returning DVDs to the library and registering my daughter for a toddler art class.
  • And then there is Christmas prep to do. The children need to be helped to finish their presents to extended family. I need to get cracking on making pajama bottoms and buying shirts to go with them. We all need to figure out stocking stuffers for each of our housemates. And I need to figure out what I am going to make/give to my husband and get the children to think of something to give to him as well.
  • Oh, and we'll need to do a little Christmas shopping for the kids on behalf of far-away extended family.
  • And sometime in there, I have an appointment with my midwives. It's a good thing their secretary calls the day ahead to remind one of one's appointment.
  • Then comes Christmas and our house brunch. Then all manner of craziness for twelve days including our second annual New Year's at Noon party for small children and their parents (this year held on New Year's Day since the Eve is on a Sunday).

I'm tired already!

Dragon Problems

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Shoot. The plastic tubing I bought to make the supports/ribs for the dragon isn't going to be strong enough.

I'm checking the local irrigation supply house tomorrow. Bummer.

It's Snowing!

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First snow of the year...

Let the Dragon-making Begin!

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One of the things I do with my *cough* spare time is participate/volunteer with a dramatic group at my church. This fall/winter we are presenting the story of Elijah. We have a Chinese theme throughout the presentation (we have a number of Chinese members - one of whom wrote an original piece of music for this storytelling).

At two points in the story, a Chinese-New-Year-Parade-style dragon will come on stage representing fire. Guess who is making the body of this dragon? Yep.

Actually, I am pretty excited about it. I don't have to make the head - someone else is making it out of a cardboard box and chicken wire and papier-mache and paint. I have the task of making the body which will be danced around by seven various people (ranging in age from 42 to 4). I have a plan and I have the fabrics, trim, thread, and plastic tubing. Now all I need is an enormous work surface and a little peace and quiet.

Hoo, boy.

Did I mention that the presentation is a week from Sunday? Yikes!

Saturday

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And I thought Wednesday was bad. I bounced back a little on Thursday and Friday, but I am much worse today. I can't breathe through my nose at all. Bleh.

My housemates' cat is lonely and has been spending quite a bit of time in my room after the children are asleep. The cat is a bit odd. She doesn't want to be held, but she does want to be with people. She is more than a little wary of my children, though my eldest has enough self-control that he can sit still and wait for her to come close to him.

Lately the cat has taken to running amok downstairs in the early morning. This running around has actually woken up one of my other housemates who lives in the basement. Her response to this nocturnal craziness was to put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs. Now, any normal cat would realize that the gate could be easily jumped or avoided by squeezing through the bannisters. Not this cat. Either she is too well-bred and polite to cross an obvious attempt at a barricade, or she is too lazy to bother, or she is simply befuddled by its presence. Hence, last night my husband and I were awoken to pawing, scratching, and meowing outside our door. My husband shooed it upatairs to our housemates' room and closed the door.

Hopefully tonight will be more peaceful.

tired

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I am tired. My beloved children both slept through the night and well into the morning, but I feel like death warmed over. It's so bad that I skipped out on the meeting I usually attend on Wednesday mornings. And I love meetings. Seriously.

So. Here I sit. I have finished The Old Fox Deceiv'd, I have sent a few emails, and I am about to finish a bit of bookkeeping work for church.

This afternoon I am taking a nap. No doubt about it.

Sunday

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This morning I woke up, showered, and dressed nicely (for a change). Then I was off to church (two doors down) to set up the sound equipment. There were some technical difficulties, but none due to my ineptitude, hallelujah! My friend spoke (gave the sermon? preached?) and everything was fairly normal until she had everyone practice saying, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake." Our culture doesn't encourage us to admit fault.

In the afternoon, I attended a clothing swap. Talk about fun! What could be better than gathering about 15 to 20 women and their unwanted clothes in one space and allowing everyone to have at it and take what they wish? I scored a new pair of pink-tinged brown trousers, a thick rose sweater, a dark pink long-sleeved t-shirt, and a hot pink singlet. I didn't intend to bring home more pink clothes. I had hoped for blues and greens, but there were none that suited me.

Back at home, my husband and I watched our housemates' son so they could have a couple of hours together, then had dinner and worked at putting children to bed - a tiring endeavor always.

Now things are quiet again. A few housemates are in the basement watching a silly Adam Sandler movie and my husband and I are sitting side by side at the table working on our Advent calendar (OK, I am taking a break from Advent by blogging, but as soon as I hit "publish post", it's nose to the grindstone time.)

Tuesday

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An average day.

It rained in the nice, quiet way that it typically does here, so the children and I ran an errand and spent a good bit of time at the library this morning.

Then lunch, followed by naps.

Then gymnastics for the eldest. Today he has decided that he can participate from the very beginning of class. He spent absolutely no time sitting on the sidelines, sucking his fingers, and screwing up his courage to join the others. He just ran right in. I about fell over.

Tonight, my husband made dinner for everyone, so after gym class, my primary responsibility was to keep the children happy. I was successful, but in large part to their willingness to keep themselves quietly and safely occupied.

The kiddos are now asleep and my husband and I are sitting at our computers doing bits of work. My main task is to select readings for an advent book/calendar/liturgy that we are putting together.

All is well.

Monday.

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Yesterday we returned from a long trip to visit my family in Oregon. At some point during the trip I finally started feeling like eating again. That's a blessing.

This morning, bright and early, I had an appointment for a routine ultrasound. Everything appears fine. Of course tonight, I have heartburn. If it's not one thing it's another.

The day in review

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5:00 AM - Toss and turn and fail at shaking a vivdly detailed, fairly dark, disturbing dream.

7:00 AM - Wake up tired, grumpy, and, well, disturbed. I also woke up without a plan for the day - always a bad sign. Grumpiness being contagious, my darling children pick up on my unpleasantness and turn it into their own forms of unpleasant - contrariness for the eldest, clinginess for the youngest. I become further irritated and we, as a threesome, essentially spend the entire day feeding each other's irritability.

1:30 PM - The children do not nap. I do not nap.

3:30 PM - Having made it to this point in the day, I schlep my children to a friend's house where they will hopefully play pleasantly in my absence. I attend the practice for a theatre group at my church.

6:00 PM - I return home refreshed and revitalized to find my kids just barely hanging on to consciousness. My husband and I take them down to the kitchen in the hopes of feeding them enough to allow them to sleep peacefully all through the night. They are served cream of wheat. Afterward we whisk them upstairs and get them ready for bed.

7:30 PM - Children are in bed and very nearly asleep. My husband eats dinner, I goof around on the computer and eat my own dinner later while he is working. This is not typical behavior for us.

10 :30 PM - I'm about to head for bed, but I realize that we do not have a plan for the day tomorrow. I am going to need to interrupt my husband to make a plan so tomorrow isn't as shot as today was.

Lousy, lousy, lousy

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I am having a lousy day. I have little to no patience. I am not interested in preparing food or drink for myself or my children. I just want to curl up in my bed and hide.

And of course, neither of my children are willing to nap.

Curse word.

Beginning...The Day in Review

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6:25 AM - My young daughter crawled into bed with me and snuggled down cozily (not typical behavior). Gradually an odor broke through my senses, at which point I sighed, rolled toward my husband, and whispered, "She's poopy." To which my husband sighed and dragged himself out of bed and began his day changing the soiled diaper of an unwilling toddler. I was able to sleep for an additional hour.

10:00 AM - After a generally peaceful morning (during which, my daughter pooped a second time and was finally ready to eat breakfast), I tossed the kids into the double stroller, threw the rain cover over them and schlepped them to our good friend's house a few blocks away. There the children played and fought, I held my friend's newborn, and my friend ran around doing things that are difficult to do without two free hands. We then took the kids to the nearby park, played freeze tag (more or less) and Simon Says (again, more or less). We returned to their house for lunch and then headed for home.

3:30 PM - I was a good mom and made the alphabet out of play-dough at my son's request while my daughter drew/wrote.

4:30 PM - My housemate and her son needed to get out of the house, and I had a couple of errands to run, so we left all together. We returned nearly an hour later having visited the post office, the art store, a funky clothes shop where the kids got new toques, the bank, and a bakery.

6:30 PM - Dinner made by another housemate, which I couldn't eat because it was an "all-together" dish. Something about my pregnancy right now prevents me from being able to eat things that are cooked all together.

7:30 PM - Bedtime for my son who had no nap.

8:30 PM - Bedtime for my daughter.

9:00 PM - House meeting. Items on the agenda: cooking and chores.

A Brief Autobiography

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I am a white female born in Portland, Oregon. In my early twenties I lived in Durham, North Carolina, where I met and married my husband. I have a degree in Elementary Education which I have yet to use professionally. We moved to Vancouver, British Columbia about four years ago, so he could attend grad school and have since decided to make this place our home.

I live in an intentional community house on Vancouver's east side in a very pedestrian neighbourhood. I live two doors from my church.

My husband and I have two children: our son is three and a half, our daughter is twenty months. We are expecting our third child at the end of March or beginning of April.

I had a nap today in the late afternoon and then drank hot chocolate late this evening and now I am unable to sleep.

The quiet descends... mostly

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The children are in bed and at least two of the three of them are asleep.

The adults are either resting quietly in their rooms or are away at meetings of one variety or another.

Everyone, that is except one of my housemates who is cooking something and talking loudly.

It's good that we have excellent insulation.

How many housemates do I have?

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Many. Ten. Myself and pets excluded.

Eleven people, one small dog, and one soon-to-arrive cat live in my house.

Dinners are a stimulating experience to say the least.