Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Snowy Day- Time for a Post: Rude Sam's Guy, Train Books, Air Fresheners, and Goats

Ah, Christmas shopping... Are y'all losing your minds yet? I think most people are. I can tell because people seem generally less considerate and more aggressive. I was at Sam's yesterday and some guy nearly ran August over with his buggy as he came charging through the produce section calling out "watch out!" Really? "Watch out?" What ever happened to "excuse me?" Or women and children being somewhat looked after by the menfolk? Or just not being a jerk? Wanna know what I said? I said "You watch out." I saw the same guy again a few minutes later by the milk cases. I always check the dates because I buy like four gallons at a time, and I reckon Mr. Hurry had heard me say "You watch out," because he got on his cell phone as he approached the refrigerators. He waited for about two seconds for me to check dates and then just charged right in. August was again in his way so he just reached over Aug's head and between August and I and opened the refrigerator door thus knocking my children out of the way. I said "Gosh! Could you be any more rude?" He kept chatting away on his cell phone. I guess that was a yes. Later on at Target I was coming out of an aisle and gave the lady crossing the right of way. She stopped right in front of me to look at an end cap of clearance items. She looked at several little junk items and discontinued beauty products before I decide to just turn my buggy around. I think it was one of those things where she kept thinking "let me just look at this next thing and then I'll move." But she never did move. I turned the cart around and nearly ran over my own children who I then snapped at (so now I'm like rude Sam's guy) and spent the next few minutes maneuvering back through a traffic jam of carts whilst apologizing to my children for snapping and instructing them to follow me closely rather than getting right in front of the buggy so I can't move without hitting them. The lady who had blocked me came around and I guess felt bad and started telling me what a beautiful baby I had. I peeked in at Elspeth wearing ugly striped pajamas who was half asleep with that tongue barely sticking out and slobbering look and thought that lady must just feel bad that she caused me to go around the long way and run over my kids. And all of that for a tube of toothpaste and pack of baby wipes!!

My family is driving me crazy too. Everyone wants to know what everyone wants. The truth is- nothing. We don't need anything except basic groceries and stuff. It seems so silly to be trying to think up toy gifts for our kids to not play with and not pick up and make me grumpy over having to nag at them to clean them up when we scrape up every month to pay car insurance and the power bill. You know how it is. But it is Christmas and people want to do the extra, fun, happy thing. I know. I just can't think of anything. And then I try to think of things and I get my greed on. Suddenly there are a thousand books I want for the kids or tons of jewelry for me, and George needs a two thousand dollar gift card to Best Buy or something. Ugh, I hate that! We totally don't need that stuff. I do so love books for the kids though. No one wants to be the one that just gives books though. I guess it's too predictable. Out of all gifts, my kids get exponentially more mileage out of books at this point. Maybe they won't always, when they are past reading story books, but right now it is my favorite gift for them. With that in mind, I am finally getting around to a book list. I don't have time for a full blown list for every child, but if you know August, you know he loves trains, and I thought y'all might know some other little boys with the same enthusiasm. Please add to the list through comments if you know of ones I don't know about.

Train books we have:
Two Little Trains- Margaret Wise Brown
Choo Choo- Virginia Lee Burton
Freight Train- Donald Crews (have also seen Inside Freight Train at the book store)
Down By the Station- William Hillenbrand- one of August's top three favorite books
The Little Train- Lois Lenski
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo- Kevin Lewis (another of Aug's favorites)
The Caboose Who Got Loose- Bill Peet
Smokey- Bill Peet
The Little Engine that Could- Watty Piper
Richard Scarry's Cars and Trains and Things That Go- this one is not so much a favorite for reading, but you know there is always so much to look at in Richard Scarry books and in this particular one, there is a little guy called Goldbug to find on every page whose location both my kids have now memorized for every page! Really fun and keeps them occupied!
I Love Trains- Philemon Sturges (another of Aug's favorites)
The Polar Express- Chris Van Allsburg
Usborne Farmyard Tales: Dolly and the Train, The Old Steam Train, Rusty's Train Ride, Woolly Stops the Train- all by Heather Amery and Stephen Cartwright- I'm gonna go ahead and say these have no literary value, but if your trainiac loves the Richard Scarry one and you want more of the same, he might like these because there is a duck to find on every page, but it is easier to find than Goldbug so it's not as fun.

Train Books We Don't Have:

Out of Print- I haven't read any of these so I can't recommend them, but you could look for them at the library and/or used on Amazon:
It's Funny Where Ben's Train Takes Him- Robert Burleigh
The Train- David McPhail
I'm Taking a Trip On My Train- Shirley Neitzel
Clear the Track for Michael's Magic Train- Louis Slobodkin
Train Song- Harriet Ziefert

I also haven't read any of these, but they are not out of print:
This Train- Paul Collicut
Choo Choo Clickety Clack- Margaret Mayo
All Aboard- Mary Lyn Ray
My Freight Train- Michael Rex
Clickety Clack- Rob and Amy Spence
Puff Puff Chugga Chugga- Christopher Wormell

I have no idea if this list will interest anyone. I am happy to give descriptions and/or reviews for any of these that I have read. I am just throwing it out there.

And just as an aside, I have been feeling nauseated the whole time I have been writing this because of a sickening smell I could only describe as "bathroom trash can smell." George has just asked me if I left this Renuzit air freshener refill on his desk as a joke (he hates air freshener commercials and wonders why air fresheners are such a big business). No, but that's where that smell was coming from!!!! Just thought I'd share- it's so nice to have an extra minute to do so! And incidentally, all of your comments have been so encouraging as I drudge through my days. I'm not always drudging, but when I am, it's so nice to have the kind words you have all shared on here. I also never meant to cause confusion, implying that I would not be blogging anymore at all, just that I was excusing myself from obligation for a while and hope to return with full force once I find my footing again. Not that you're confused if you're actually checking... Bless you all for bearing with me and cheering me on!

Happy Christmas shopping. I joked with a friend earlier today about possibly just buying goats in people's names from the World Vision catalog in the future so that people who actually need stuff are getting them. Don't think George will go for that (of course, he's not the one shopping with three kids in tow!), but wouldn't it be nice? A flock of goats and your shopping is done. One flock shopping! Hardy har har!

Okay, I'm delirious with free time. Those two homemade mochas (which I am now adding cinnamon to, yum!) probably didn't make me any less hyper either. Better go use my time more wisely. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, November 20, 2006

And Let Us Run With Endurance

Yeah, this whole three kids thing is kicking my butt. I need for that to be normal and okay. That's why I make no promises about posting for now. Any post you get is purely bonus! I feel like a freak show. I always do though. How do other people accomplish so much? How do other people get places on time?! How do other people have two or three times as many kids as I have? How do people have twins?!!! You people driving your carpools with newborns, homeschooling multiple children, working while raising large quantities of children, sticking to any sort of plan and/or budget, getting a fabulous healthy supper on the table at a reasonable hour, dressing your children in "clean" clothes (just kidding, that I do!) you people are cut from a different cloth. Bravo, you people! I will continue to pine away for mere mediocrity!

I was a slow runner. Whilst everyone else tried to win races, I tried to finish races in a less embarrassing time. I was truly slow. My best ever three mile race time was something like 27 minutes. Yeah, 27 minutes. In a race. And that was at the end of my senior year cross country season after training for months with a girl on my team who placed 16th in the state (as a freshman, 3rd by the time she was a senior), not going more than two days without running for three and half years, top shape of my life, nine minute miles. Uh huh. I was working as hard as I could, for worse than mediocre. Such is this whole stay at home mom thing for me. Perhaps I will someday hit a period of motherhood that comes easy, or just easier, that utilizes my gifts rather than constantly stretching my naturally low resources. Hmmm, my gifts? When will my children ever be made from sugar, butter, and flour? Maybe someday baking will come in handy for parenting. Right now, all of homemaking (okay, except the baking, love the baking!) is a great time of being pushed and stretched and purged and sanctified. So I'm not complaining so much because I want it to be easier. Sure I do want it to be easier, but I can see that hard work is good for me. So that's not the problem. It's that I am genuinely trying and just not making much progress; the work is not producing a result. Mostly I'm just embarrassed or something.

It was embarrassing coming in last for those races. I was one time told by a former teammate "you need to really try this year; you can't just get out there and lope around the field this time." Another time, one of the guys on my team started walking beside me while I was running clapping his hands together saying "Come on, Abby! Pick it up! I can walk faster than this!" I told both guys to shut up, in my oh-so-demure way. But I knew that's what people thought, even though they didn't say it. My coach, still one of my favorite people of all time, was really encouraging and always pleased with my best efforts. In the end, I won an award, an award actually invented for me at our school, called the I Timothy 4:12 award. But I never won an actual running award (well, I did end up placing 29th, out of maybe 36, in our district my senior year- the first 30 got trophies! woohoo!) Likewise, my husband is pleased with my homemaking efforts. He says God is too, that God knows where I am and doesn't expect me to be Supermom (oh, but I am!). But I get that feeling, that feeling that people are walking beside me clapping saying "Come on, Abby! Pick it up!" And though no one literally is, you look around and see what others are up to and think they must think I am "loping around the field." After all, my kids were in pjs until noon today. Neither one had a bath for a four day stretch last week. Amabel knows the names of all the cooks on Food Network. We overslept for ballet last week- ballet starts at 11:00!

I really am trying. Just like I had nothing left at the end of a 30 minute race which some girls finished in less than 20 minutes, I have nothing left at the end of a day (and all I do is laundry and nurse a baby!) Maybe I should remind myself of that. When I am making such little progress, I become the guy clapping his hands shouting "Come on, Abby! Pick it up!" I'm not doing enough to please me. I, just like Rhett and Cameron (come on, Courtney, Jennie, Sara, you know you wanted to know who said that!) want to see results to believe the effort is really being made. Well, too bad, I guess. Too bad person that was upset because I was late. Too bad person that thought my children looked frumpy because I didn't have time to put Amabel's hair in a bow and forgot to wipe August's face after breakfast. Too bad person that doesn't understand that one fourth of all my waking hours are spent feeding a baby and that means a lot of things, like grocery shopping and cleaning, don't get done. Too bad person who thought Amabel should have a new smocked dress for church this fall. Too bad, me- most of those were me!

Well, one thing I have always had is endurance. I always finished the race. I may whine and cry and stink at what I'm doing. But I always keep doing. And I will continue to keep doing, though I may come in last! And be encouraged anyone (else) who forgot to brush their teeth today, who has piles of anything and everything all over your kitchen table, who still has not gotten a baby gift to one of your dearest friends whose baby is almost one now, who has no idea what you're fixing for supper tonight, and in spite of it all is exhausted, you are not alone!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ummm, this is not working for me

I feel like I am letting you all down not to have a post in a week. Friends, I am overwhelmed. It's not really a bad overwhelmed. Just a good, every moment filled, no time for anything extra, I have three kids overwhelmed. I always hate when people patronize first time moms, like they just think their life is hard. I hate tacky comments like "just wait until such and such" (which just happens to be the situation of the person making the comment). It's just so sad that that first time that is so easy compared to having more. But it is so hard at the time because you've never done it before. And by the time you get to where a newborn is not such a big deal, you have all these other kids to take care of! I guess it's not really sad, just kind of how it works. I do remember feeling pretty bored after while when it was just Amabel. But of course, some things are always more difficult with even just one child than without. I was the first in my family and among most of my friends to have a baby. I remember thinking often how I couldn't wait for everyone else to have a baby so they would understand. Mostly it was that I felt like people didn't understand why we couldn't travel to every event or go out any time. Now that most people have had a baby, I am starting to find myself thinking that I can't wait until they have a bunch! I am realizing that I have entered into a new level of busy-ness and now have no time for long phone conversations or blogging or smocking or sewing. Even the things I have to do, like clean the bathroom, have to be scheduled in. I know it won't be so so busy once I quit having to sit down thirty minutes out of every two hours to feed Elspeth. She is already stretching a little longer, and it seems I have a four month milestone in my memory where things seem to get a lot easier. But for right now, I think I will have to excuse myself from the blog. It isn't funny anymore anyway. I lost my funny-ness a while back. That's been really bothering me. I think I have become too self conscious. Too many people seemed to not pick up on my sense of humor. I have written so many posts and deleted them because I would dread the comments at church on Sunday or one of what is turning out to be more and more people who read and I have no idea they even know I have a blog mentioning months later how I said such and such. I just feel under scrutiny. I guess I asked for it. But that, combined with the exhaustion of the past six months, makes it difficult to be funny. And that was one of the only things I had going for me, funny-ness. I really hope it comes back. I'll let you know when it does.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Baby Fishmouth

It has been a crazy week and at times I have wished I could quit my job! I don't have a career job; I mean the job where I love, take care of, and discipline my three children. That's really all the same thing- love, take care of, and discipline- or at least it all overlaps. That is sad too because it means I am doing all three poorly most of the time. And I seem to only be okay with myself if I am being Supermom. Tiredmom and Crankymom just won't do. Yet one of those, or really Crazymom, is much more true to life at any given moment. I am sure it is all worth it, and I know it will get better as Elspeth gets a little more predictable and/or flexible. Unpredicatble and inflexible as she is, she is precious. The hardest thing is really the oldest two. Without them around needing stuff and generally just being three and five (and what else are they supposed to do?!), Elspeth is a piece of cake! I am looking forward to her coming into her own soon though. Right now it is hard to see much of her personality except that she seems unphased by the chaos that is Mommy, Amabel, and August. Well, hooray for that! She's living up to that name, Miss Elspeth Peace. She will be eight weeks old on Tuesday.

My three very dearest friends have all had babies in the past eight months, two of them in the past eight days. Congratulations, Jennie, on beautiful Maryn Hannah. I cannot wait to meet your baby girl! Congratulations, Michelle (who doesn't read my blog and has no internet connection, but oh well) on Kase Morrow (I hope I got it right). I am so excited y'all have another son to marry my other daughter (ha ha! this is extra funny when you see our children next to each other- my oldest daughter towers over their oldest son and is only three months older). And my oh my how darling Elizabeth Haughton, aka Libby, has grown. My nephew, Seth, and two very sweet friends' boys, Andrew and John Miller, were all born about the same time this past winter. I think. I am actually really discombobulated about how old John Miller is- Sara, please forgive! And I couldn't leave out how excited I am about Fisher on his way to Birmingham next spring. Isn't it wonderful to be in this season of life where we are constantly celebrating new life?

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