Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gray Lining

This is where we spent last week:
That's Mark in the orange shorts with Roscoe next to him. Haley's in the pink shirt on the middle right.
When we stepped off our back porch, we were literally in the sand, on the beach. And no one was on the beach but me and my extended family.

Too bad I was sick the whole time.

I tried to be a good sport, but I coughed constantly, was in bed every night by ten, and was in an impaired fog the whole time. It's pretty tragic because I think family reunions are the highlights of life, and I more or less missed this one.

More pics from my sister Nancy here.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Feliz Navidad

In a few hours we're supposed to drive off, trailer packed with clean clothes, Christmas gifts, sand toys, and board games, for a week in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. It's a family reunion, and for months I've been dreaming of lounging on the beach with my fam.

But now, I'm sick as a dog and can't rally to do my usual pack-the-car routine.

Will we have sandwiches and baggies of treats? Will I remember all phones and cords and chargers? Will the laundry ever get finished so we can pack some clothes? Will I be a fun and gracious Mom as we drive for 13 hours?

Oh dear.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Careful what you wish for

I stood at the top of the stairs listening as Roscoe came in the door from school this afternoon. The door slammed opened and I listened to an amazing array of thumps and crashes before he came into view. How is it even possible to make that much noise walking through a doorway? Part of me expected to see him carrying some kind of metal scaffolding.

Sometimes it feels like my kids' exuberance is the bane of my existence. They grab a gallon of milk with a gusto that sends milk sloshing. They send papers skittering to the floor as they speed past my desk. Many times I wish they could just walk through a room without stomping and spilling and crashing.

But then, on a day like today, I repent of all that. Jess woke up with a fever and all day our little superhero has been quiet and subdued. He has walked softly, moved slowly, spoken quietly. He hasn't made any meses at all.

It's been a peaceful day, but no, it's not what I want.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Sad Tale

Friday morning I stood in the bathroom, filling the sink with my tears. All week long--despite ear plugs, Tylenol PM, and extra pillows propped around my body--I was kept from a good night's sleep by a combination of jumpy legs, sore hips, and overly active family members.

After my worst night yet, I faced Friday morning filled with exhaustion- and hormone-fueled despair. After I got the kids off to school, I pep-talked myself into just taking the first step of putting my contacts in--then at least the world wouldn't be vague and blurry. I got one contact in before I had to stop to weep some more. Pitiful.

And that, my friends, was when I realized I was really not okay. But what could I do? I was too sore and jumpy and uncomfortable to even take a nap. There was nothing doing but to keep on keepin' on. So that's what I tried to do.

The day was not a great success.

Friday night we got out the air mattress. Everything you normally hate about an air mattress, how it hammocks your hips, was great for me. I lay there and realized that for the first time in recent memory I actually felt comfortable. After a decent night's sleep, I tell you I was a different woman. Not superwoman, not ready for a jog. But functional. Competent.

I didn't cry once all day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

On Mark's Birthday

Reason 7,842 to Love Mark McGee:
He is the Good Samaritan of public transportation

Mark has ridden trains and busses to work and school for years. He’s passed out Book of Mormons. He’s given rides from the train station to various people in need. Once he made an alliance with a fellow passenger to come to the aid of a young woman being harassed by punks. Once he gave a car to someone he met on the road. (It wasn’t much of a car, but still.)

A few weeks ago, Mark was riding the train to work in the morning and couldn’t help but overhear the phone conversation of the man sitting across the aisle. The man was recounting how he and his family had recently moved to Utah only to find that the apartment they had rented and been sublet to someone else. They checked into a hotel until they could find another apartment. But in the meantime, one of the man’s children was hospitalized with RSV and his wallet was stolen. The child was to be released from the hospital today, and the new apartment would be available tomorrow, but with no wallet, the man had no way to pay the $60 he needed for one more night at the hotel. “I think we’re going to have to sleep in the car tonight,” Mark heard him say.

When the man got off the phone, Mark leaned over and said, “If you’ll ride the train downtown with me, I’ll take you to an ATM and give you $60.” Mark watched the man’s face work through shock and relief. “You will?” he asked.

The pair rode downtown and Mark gave the man far more than $60. When he arrived at his office he called me and said, “I have good news and bad news.” The bad news being that our budget for weekend festivities was gone. The good news being that my husband is a true disciple, a true gem.

Happy birthday, Mark. You’re my favorite.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

You know, stuff

Little Miss Haley turned 7 yesterday. She shared her birthday party with Mark, whose birthday is tomorrow. I wish I had been there on the day Haley was born.

The first time this year we've had this:

 Poor sick Levi started out draped over the heater vent, and then segued into a two-hour nap with the front door mat as his pillow.
I love, love when kids play like this. Jesse made a careful selection of guys and creatures and lined them all up along the toy cubbies.
Who remembers getting horsie rides from their Daddy? Our intrepid horsie carries children to bed after family prayer. He even goes up stairs! Trying to stay in the saddle is part of the fun.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sister Weekend

I have six fantastic sister-in-laws. But that doesn't mean I didn't love my weekend away with the two sisters I've loved since they were born. Plus our mommy!

We spent plenty of time gazing at Nancy's new baby and playing with her three other children. The highlight was our trip to the National Cathedral to hear Handel's Messiah.

It was beautiful and amazing. For me it was a meditation on my faith and I felt sorry for anyone who was just a spectator at a Christmas tradition.

After the performance, we went to this tapas restaurant. Don't worry, Ruth had to explain to concept of tapas to us as well. We ordered 10 little dishes of all kinds of Spanish treats. The favorites were the bacon-wrapped dates, salad with fennel and pomegranate, and lamb chops with rosemary.

We four love our home families and day jobs, but it was such a wonderful treat to get away from it all and just be together.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Loose Ends

Yesterday morning at 8:30 everyone but Jesse was off to school and we had an hour before Jesse needed to be at preschool. I agreed he could watch a show on PBS, thinking that would leave us a half hour for the both of us to get dressed and out the door. I turned on the TV for Jesse, went upstairs to lie down for a moment...and woke from a deep sleep a full hour later. If Jesse hadn't come to wake me, who knows how long I would have been there.

Which is related to the post I've been meaning to get to all week--the one cataloging the fruits of my Season of Projects (which I announced in August but didn't really get rolling until October). And the clear fact that said season has now ended. I made a goal to feel energetic until Thanksgiving and I (pretty much) achieved that goal. But clearly I'm now slowing down and turning inward.

Which may be related to how many of my projects are dangling loose ends. *sigh* Nevertheless, here are some of the things ticked off the list:

New Front Room Curtains

These are made from tablecloths from Target and clearance bedsheets from WalMart.

Dresser and Chair
You've already seen these dressers. But here's the finishing touch of a reupholstered desk chair. (Mom, remember when you bought this fabric for a wall hanging? It finally has a home!)

White Trim and Doors
I've painted trim and interior doors both upstairs and down. I think it makes everything look shiny and bright. This is a tricky job just because it must be done when no one is home--can't have kids brushing through wet doorways. There are still three more doors I'd love to do. Let's see if the opportunity ever arises.

Laundry Room

This is way more than a loose end. Over Thanksgiving Mark and I painted the walls sunrise yellow and he installed a big countertop to go over the top of the washer and dryer--thus preventing stray socks and Spray'n Wash bottles from falling behind. (If there had been any doubt of the need for this, it was all erased once Mark moved the appliances and we saw the shocking accumulation back there.) Now I have this lovely surface for sorting and folding.
Next steps: New shelves on the facing wall and a new system of 10 clean laundry buckets and 6 dirty laundry bins.

Outside Hardware

Our outside carriage lights and porch railings were a classy combination of shiny gold, white, and rust (the corrosion, not the color.) Mark and I painted it all with a fancy spray paint that gives it a lovely matte sheen and mottled texture. (Carriage lights still not reinstalled.)

This afternoon I'm off for a weekend visit to my sister in Virginia. My mom and other sister will also be there--along with 4 nephews and nieces. But at this point what I'm really looking forward to is sitting quietly, alone on the plane. When I get back, we have a week of birthdays, a week to pack and organize, and then we're off to a Mexico beach for Christmas!!