A Room Somewhere

All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air, with one enormous chair, oh, wouldn’t it be lovely…        –My Fair Lady

Do you have a dedicated office or a space in your house that’s all yours?  I don’t.  I totally want one though.

The kids have a playroom.  Matt has an office/man room (although, to be fair, it currently has our guest bed in it).  But I really don’t have a space that’s mine.  When I write, I sit at the kitchen table with the laptop.  When I sew, I have to set my sewing machine up every time and put it all away at the end, which makes long-term projects kind of a pain.

I’m basically home all day.  The freelance projects I do here and there are done from home.  I write at home.

A dedicated space where I can set up my stuff and leave it out and not have to clear my projects off the kitchen table so we can eat dinner would make my life so much easier.

Matt agrees, so we’re trying to figure out a plan for where my room will be and what I need in it.

Fortunately, thanks to Pinterest I have many ideas and inspiration photos.  Unfortunately this is not an unlimited-budget project, so we’re going slowly and not buying anything until I’ve got a clear picture in my mind of what I need and what I want.

I want to make sure I have it right.  I’m being very deliberate in creating this space in my head and on paper first.  Taking my time is not always in my nature, so this is a good exercise in patience.

Finding the Groove

While I still maintain that I love back-to-school time, I do have to admit that it’s a major transition and takes some patience and planning to get things running smoothly.

We’ve had a pretty good first two weeks, but there are a few things that have popped up that I know we need to address.

For instance, if I spend one. more. morning. watching O wander around the kitchen complaining loudly that he can’t find socks (HINT: they’re not in the kitchen), I will most likely go insane.  So we’ve got to take a look at his sock situation and fix that so I don’t freak out.  Side note: O can’t find things when they are literally sitting right in front of him, so I think part of the problem is that he is just not good at finding things.  But really, I can’t take one more morning of the no-socks-routine from him, so we’re working on a solution this week.

Next, I MUST get back into the regular habit of making the kids’ lunches at night.  I’m just not a morning person, and I’m fine with that.  But since I know that to be true, I need to make sure I do as much as I can in the evenings to streamline the morning routine so I can sit at the kitchen table clutching my coffee cup for the first twenty minutes after I get out of bed.  I do not want to be making four school lunches right then. Like, at all.  On the days these last two weeks when lunches were made at night, mornings were MUCH nicer.  I need to remember that at 8PM when I just want to sit on the couch and chat with Matt instead of making the lunches then.

Finally, we’ve got to re-think our chore situation.  I’ve posted before about how we deal with morning responsibilities and chores here and here, but I think we need to review the plan–the kids have 90 minutes from the time I get up until they need to leave for school, and their chores take about 5 minutes total.  I told B and G that I’d like them to work together each morning to unload the dishwasher for me–that makes a huge difference in how clean the kitchen is before they all head out the door–and it only takes them a few minutes.  Plus I like to make them do cooperative chores; they can use the practice being nice to each other.  So in addition to a morning chore from the list, I’m thinking each kid might need a regular, unchanging morning assignment too.  I feel like 10-15 minutes of their mornings can be spent helping out, since pretty much every minute of my mornings revolves around helping them.  So we’re looking at the chore situation this week and trying some new things.  (Oh, how thrilled my children are.)

We’re slowly but surely adjusting to the new routine, and out of ten school days, we’ve had only one morning when we ran late and I had to drive them instead of letting them walk to school.  Not too bad.  Hopefully with a few tweaks, it will get better.

What do you do to make your mornings easier?

Homemade Applesauce

homemade applesauce

Matt didn’t want a cake for his birthday this week (we’re trying to be super healthy!), so instead Q and I made him homemade applesauce, which is one of his favorites.

It’s a fitting dish for this time of year; tis the season for apples!  This is a super easy recipe and one of my favorites to make and can.  And as always, it helps to have the cutest 4-yr old sous chef ever…he makes sure it comes out just right.

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Homemade Applesauce

3-4 lbs of peeled, cubed apples

4 tbsp lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

1/4c. dark brown sugar

1/4 c. white sugar

1 c. water

1/2 tsp salt

nutmeg to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot; cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick, mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Can freeze for up to 1 year.

As always, I use organic ingredients wherever possible. 

This is one of those recipes that makes your whole house smell good as you cook it, which is such a bonus.  I was hoping that I’d be able to can the leftovers and use it for school snacks this month, but there were no leftovers!  That’s a good sign of a well-loved recipe, but now I need to get more apples and make a big double- or triple batch so we have some to put up.

Happy Birthday Matt

The stretch from the end of August to the end of September covers 3/6 of the birthdays in this house.  It’s a busy time!

Today we are celebrating the 39th birthday of my very favorite person in all the world.  In a million ways he makes my life better.

HBD Matt

Eleven years ago. Look how cute he is!

He is an amazing father.  He is hands-on and involved in everything our children do.  He is an amazing teacher and coach.  He expects a lot of them and challenges them to do their best always, and he sets that example in his own life.  And he loves them so, so much.

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daddy and the boys

He is smart and thoughtful.  He’s hard-working and competitive, open-minded and considerate.  He encourages me and makes me a better person.

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He rocks a suit.

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That’s my hot husband there on the left.

He is a superior husband and he makes me happy and proud to be his wife.  There is not one person on Earth I’d rather spend my days with.

bosphorus selfieHappy Birthday Matt!  I love you!

Back to School

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My 5th grader, Pre-Kindergartener, 2nd grader, and 1st grader!

The kids were off this morning to start another school year without so much as a backward glance.  In fact, they were up and dressed at 6:45AM, despite the fact that they don’t leave to walk to school until 8:15AM.  Excitement and anticipation were the words of the day.

I love everything about back-to-school time.  I love the fresh start, I love the clean slate, I love the potential for an amazing school year.

I love the new shoes.

I even don’t mind packing up the lunches.  That will last for a few weeks at least.

We had outfits picked out days ago.  They hung, ironed and ready, in bedrooms last night.  We actually have outfits picked out for the whole week.  That’s kind of how we roll.

Pre-K doesn’t actually start until next week, so for the next few days Q and I will fall back into our school day routines and do chores and errands together alone.  We’ll read books and play games and he’ll definitely watch a few cartoons so I can get an hour of time to do things like…write this.  Then on Monday, we’re off to his first day and the beginning of the end–this is our last year of preschool (and our 8th year AT our preschool).

So we are back to the grind, with all the fun and excitement it entails.  I love this time of year!

 

 

It’s Still Summer

first day of summer

This was the first day of summer. I think the last day of summer is going to look pretty similar…

We have four more days, and I’m not giving them up.

I’ve been watching all my family and friends’ Facebook posts about the first day of school all this past week and everyone’s kids look adorable and happy and like they’re growing too fast.  But all I can think is how glad I am that our school district doesn’t start until after Labor Day.

There’s some kind of mental boost from knowing school doesn’t start until September.  Never mind that it starts September 2nd…it’s still September, which means the whole month of August is summer, which makes me happy.

I don’t love the years when Labor Day falls late and we go back to school on September 7 or 8, but September 2nd seems just about perfect.

Yesterday we had the open houses at all the kids’ schools and met their teachers.  We dropped off the school supplies we purchased, picked up packets of papers to fill out, and actually got into the school-is-starting mode.  It was exciting!

We have a few more purchases we still have to make before we’re 100% ready for back-to-school, including several new pair of sneakers and other assorted shoes for some little boys who haven’t worn anything more structured than $2 flip flops from Old Navy since summer began.  Like last year, we won’t do any big “back-to-school shopping trips” until later in the Fall when it actually cools off.

I’ve already cleaned out the dressers for two kids in anticipation for eventually buying some new clothes, which is a huge task checked off my list.  It also made me realize we don’t really need any new clothes at all for a certain girl who just turned ten and got almost an entire new wardrobe as birthday gifts from lovely family members.  The boys will all need new pants once the weather turns cool because I think they’ve each grown 2″ taller over the summer.

This weekend we’re going to grocery shop and go to the farm and bake some healthy snacks I can use to pack lunches next week.  We’re going to play with friends and go to the pool and watch movies and read books and get haircuts and pack up school bags and and go to bed early on Sunday and Monday to attempt to get back in some kind of school-night routine.

It’s the final weekend of summer.  What are you doing?

A Decade

 

BB first day

It seems more than impossible that you should be turning ten today, my little girl.  After all, you were born mere moments ago.  I cannot have been at this mothering thing for ten years, and you are still supposed to be toddling around carrying a stuffed-monkey-dressed-in-a-bunny-suit under your arm everywhere we go.

B and monkey bunny

But I can’t deny the dates, and I certainly cannot deny the fact that you are no longer a baby.  Not by a long shot.

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I simply cannot separate your birthday from a birthday of my own–the day I became a mother.  You’ve defined my life for the last ten years, every single day, whether you were with me or not.  I am not me–the me I am today–without you.  And you?  You are, quite simply, my favorite girl on the planet.

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When I had you, I struggled through 24-hours of labor.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Your birth, though pretty normal, was kind of scary and kind of intense and more than a little exhausting.  I don’t remember what I said the first time I held you, and I don’t clearly recall the immediate hours following your birth.  But what I do remember–as clear in my mind as if it were happening right now–was the first time you woke up in the middle of that night to eat.  I fed you, in a dark hospital room with light from the nurses’ station shining across us onto your father, snoring as he slept like the dead in a tiny fold-out chair.  I fed you and I swaddled you and you immediately got your hands and feet out of the swaddle and as I stared at you and drank you in, the immenseness of it came over me.  My eyes filled with tears and I prayed, silently, the most fervent and heartfelt prayer I’ve ever said before or since.  All I said was Thank You.  Thank you for this little girl and please, please, take care of her and let her live a long, happy, healthy life.  It’s my daily prayer for you–and your brothers–still.

cupcakes in summer

You are a bright and shining thing, my daughter.  You are whip-smart and funny and goofy and silly and outgoing and creative.  You can be a bit of a drama queen (you may have gotten that from me).  Remember though, as you begin this journey into your pre-teen and teen years, to use your smart brain and don’t get wrapped up in drama created for drama’s sake.  Use your smart brain to create beautiful drama–the kind you plan, and write, and act out for a purpose.  Always be your strong, confident, goofy self.  Don’t ever worry about or try to hide your silly side, and don’t ever, ever hide your intelligence.  Not for anyone.

upside down B

You read books like you breathe air.  I love that.  It may be my favorite thing about you actually, because there is nothing I love more than to get lost in a good book, unless it is to later discuss said book with you.

B and G reading

You run and play and jump and climb and swim and use your strong, capable little body with great grace and abandon.  You’re fast (you definitely, definitely did not get that from me).  You’re confident.  You move like you know what you’re doing.

BB running beach

You’re not patient (I’m blaming Daddy equally on this one).  Even if it’s the hardest thing you ever do, you’ve got to learn to be patient with your brothers.  Be kind to them even when it’s hard.  Especially when it’s hard.  They love you, and I know you love them.  Show them–it seems annoying and it seems dumb, but show them you love them. They adore you and even when they refuse to let you see, they think everything you do is awesome.  Except when what you’re doing is being mean and bossy to them.  They don’t like that as much.

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I know you think Daddy and I are old and dorky and have no idea what we’re talking about.  You’re only partially correct.  We are old-ish, dorky-ish, and occasionally we know what we’re talking about.  Even when you don’t want to listen to us, know that you have to.  But know that everything we’re telling you is because we love you, we’ve been where you are, and we know what’s best.  I know you won’t listen anyway, and you’ll push back and try to do your own thing and we’ll push back until eventually we all find a place we can live in peace, but I just thought I’d throw this out here, just in case.

little B and Daddy

Know that above all, you, my daughter, are the best girl I ever knew and you are restrained only by the limits you put on yourself.  I am grateful each and every single day that I get to be your mother, and I cannot wait to see what unfolds for you in these next few years.  I know they will be full of adventure for both of us.  I love you a Bushel and a Peck and a Hug Around the Neck!

young mama and BHappy Tenth Birthday!