I sat, I read, I thought.

Tuesday night I took some much needed time out of the house, went to the coffee shop and did some reading for a paper I’m writing. I’ve recently finished Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured by Susan C. Jarratt. A professor recommended it. It’s a good read if you’re interested in philosophy, rhetoric, and how just a few individual men have shaped and influenced the way we think, and how we perceive logic and validity. Anyway, at the coffee shop I took several pages of notes, and I’m not even close to being done yet. I love mental productivity, and I think that was really the root of what was bothering me earlier this week. Unlike a situation in which there’s work to do that I don’t want to do and therefore willingly avoid, I’d been wanting to dig into this research. That’s the student/teacher/scholar in me begging to be let out to do what she loves after three weeks of all mommy-work. I really need to get serious about outlining the topics for my exit papers. I’m on track to finish my master’s degree in December, but it’s time to start really digging into the research. I’ve got some ideas, but it’s time to start in earnest to get this going.

In other news, yesterday we went to Chuck E. Cheese and I was happily surprised to see that our local restaurant has been expanded and upgraded. It used to be the cruddiest C.E.C that I’d ever seen (but we had no choice as the next closest one was over an hour away), now it is bigger, brighter, newer, cleaner, and everything works! woot!

Today, we’re having friends over to play on our new slip ‘n slide. Which means that I need to go get the dern thing set up. I’m still in my jammies and haven’t even finished my morning coffee yet. Check back later for pics of our day.

The meter is running.

We’ve only been up for an hour and a half and Little Miss G has already logged about 137 requests ranging from setting up the new slip-n-slide to asking me to play t-ball with her to finding clean panties (which came after the request to go outside and play) to breakfast. I know she’s bored and she’s ready to start her day. Problem is, I’m not. Super L, picking up on my cues, has actually taken the initiative to climb up on the kitchen counter and help herself to whatever she found in the cabinet–a cereal bar, a pack of teddy grahams, and mini-marshmallows. I didn’t let her eat the marshmallows because I’m planning to use them later for rice-krispy treats. LMG’s breakfast request was pickles, which was granted, because, well, I am perhaps the world’s laziest mother today. Don’t worry, there’s scrambled eggs and toast in their future.

* In my defense: neither of my girls are usually early morning eaters. Usually they won’t eat when they first wake up, they don’t even ask for food until right about now.

There’s no denying that my “get up and go” has got up and went. Today I would love nothing more than to curl up on my bed with a cup of tea, my ipod, and a book. This would be, of course, after I have showered and done basic grooming without the typical three-dozen interruptions and violations to my privacy. I could do this today, but I would have two little girls bouncing on the bed with me, asking to turn on the tv, tangling up my necklaces in my jewelry box, and dragging every shoe I own out of my closet.

I have to admit that my husband is the World’s Greatest about watching the girls whenever I need or just want a break for awhile. And because of this, I’m quite spoiled, and I take brief breaks (just a quick trip to the coffee shop, or a 20 minute drive) frequently. When I got up this morning feeling like this, I wondered what was wrong with me, and then it dawned on me… I’ve been with the girls for nine days straight with the only one break that was a massive grocery shopping trip at a local super-store that I usually avoid (i.e. not a break, I would have much rather been with the kids).Nine days is nothing to some mommies, but that’s a long time for me. Besides, time out of the house isn’t what I need right now.

I know that nobody likes to read a whiny-blogger, so I’m going to try to make this informative. Here is a little-known secret to some younger husbands and fathers–Sometimes mommies don’t want time away from the house. Don’t get me wrong, date nights with our husbands are wonderful. Or a day out shopping with a girlfriend or a trip to a museum by ourselves can be perfect. But what is truly sublime is a day home alone in a house that is quiet, peaceful, not getting messier by the moment. Being home doesn’t require any energy, it doesn’t cost any money, and a mommy can do or have all the creature comforts she desires without interruption or negotiation.

Now I know that some well-meaning husbands will try to simulate this by trying to keep the kids in another part of the house while mommy tries to take a soothing bath or reads in the bedroom. This does not work because the sound travels, and we cannot help but hear the typical chaos that children create. I don’t presume to know what All Women Want, but if you have a wife and you are parents to young kids, I’d be willing to bet that you would be her Hero if you’d just take the kids for an outing for the day. Do what my husband does, take them to grandma’s house. Ha ha!

I promise that I won’t blog again until I’m a little more chipper.

[This blog should have taken 10 minutes to write, but it has actually taken me a half hour. And the request meter is up to 305].

Weekend entertaining.

We entertained guests all weekend and had a wonderful time. Some of our guests were friends and family we had not seen in a very long time. I have a niece (by marriage) whose two daughters are literally months apart in age from Little Miss G and Super L. They had a blast running, playing, and generally being goofy girls together, and added some much needed sideshow antics for the old folks. [sigh] I almost wish everyone could have stayed just a little bit longer.

She can count too.

Last night we began tackling The Wilderness that is my daughters’ bedroom. I knew for certain there were two beds and floor in there, so I tied a rope around my waist, hooked it around the kitchen table (in case I got lost), said a prayer and just jumped in.

I’m not a mom who has a lot of restrictions on what kinds of toys the girls can have, but I do have a few. Two years ago I threatened to disown any family member who bought either girl another stuffed animal. It worked. I can only recall two stuffed animals received in the last two years. And wouldn’t you know their father purchased those. It’s not like I can disown him. Of course, this restriction does not apply to carnival prizes, because given the choice between taking home a stuffed animal and a live fish, we’re going stuffed toy all the way. And this also does not apply to gifts from our neighbor Betty, who is just too old and too sweet to expect to follow such a request. She treats my girls as if they were her own grand-daughters, and we love her.

Anyway, over the last two years I’ve given away two huge 50 gallon trash bags of stuffed animals and others in smaller, less noticeable quantities. We still have too many, but at least our exports have outpaced our inports.

Last night I discovered another toy surplus, and I’m going to have to put the family on notice. After cleaning out from under the beds and the closet (I didn’t even try to sort through the toybox), I counted eleven bags/purses. Eleven. I included book bags, mini-suitcases, purses, and backpacks all in that category because they are all bags. I lined them all up in a row, sat Little Miss G down (because she is the one who is so passionately attached to her things), and counted them with her. Gently, as I didn’t want to start An Ordeal right before bedtime I said, “Don’t you think eleven bags is an awful lot for one little girl?”

“No,” she replied in all seriousness, “They’re for two little girls.”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I stand corrected. We compromised and decided that four bags can stay upstairs and the others will go downstairs. Of course we don’t know yet how many bags are already down there.

I did make it out of the room alive. We didn’t finish, but we got close enough. John has earned, for about the one billionth time, my eternal devotion and gratitude by volunteering to clean the playroom tonight.

As you can see, this is no ordinary housecleaning chore. I’m thinking of renting a search and rescue dog just in case he can’t make it out alone. Someone has to stay behind. For the kids.

Summer chronicles, vol. 2: Being barefoot all day.

You know you have had one heck of a crazy, fun day when your feet look like this at the end.

Actually, the flash kind of blanched out the fact that her feet were pretty much filthy, and I think I good portion of the dirt was rubbed off on the couch as she slept.  Going barefoot is perhaps one of the most wonderful things about warm weather. When was the last time you walked in some grass sans socks & shoes? Do it. Soon.

The epic struggle of woman-kind…

…is not with equal rights, equal opportunity, subordination to men and all that stuff. Well, I mean, we do struggle with those things, but not with nearly the same vigor, passion, and frequency as with the throw-down of all throw-downs… our own hair. I’ve had to learn that I will never, ever have long, flowing, curly chestnut locks that make me look wild, mysterious, exotic, and beautiful. God, in all His wisdom, gave that to my daughter. See?

But, hair like this comes with a price. First, you have to deal with people you don’t, or barely know, touching it. And it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it looking nice throughout the day. It also takes me about 5 or 6 attempts to get pictures where I can actually see her face. But the biggest struggle became evident quickly this summer. Little Miss G is a sporty kind of girl, but was always too hot. Well, no wonder. Her hair is like having a wool scarf wrapped around her head all the time. So, we finally bit the bullet and had it cut. Short. The result is so stinking a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e that I’m not sure that this won’t be her regular style, year round.

And these pics are just from letting it air dry… no mousse, blow-drying or anything. She says she loves it, and I don’t blame her. It seems as though she just feels better too.

Not to be outdone, Super L had her very first haircut ever. She wasn’t crazy about it. All she needed was the bangs trimmed. She barely has enough hair to cut anyway. Little Miss G was 18 months old when she had her first haircut, and it was a full hair cut. Poor Super L is 28 months old, and still has wispy hair that a barrette can barely hold on to.

It’s funny that we always want what we can’t have. Little Miss G would want nothing more than to have “smooth” hair, like Super L’s. And Super L can’t keep her hands off of LMG’s. I can see it now, in about 10 years, we’ll be going to the salon every 10 weeks to get a perm for one and a straightener for the other. Mark my words.

Thanks to Nicole, neighbor and Hair Goddess, for shepherding my little ladies into this new era of hair. With stylists like her, we have no fear.

Better now.

Well the Day of Yucky was followed by the Day of Please Somebody Knock Me Unconscious Until This Is Over. I’ll spare you the details, but it was not good. John had to come home to take care of the girls because I was not functional. That day was followed by the Day of Feeling Much Better So I’m Going to Eat Taco Salad which was then followed by the Day of Near Relapse. What was I thinking? I ate salsa and jalapeno peppers the first day of feeling semi-normal. Dumb move, but seeing as how it had cheese and sour cream (the best food combo, EVER) it was mighty tasty and pretty much worth it. Anyway, we’re all better now.

Our Father’s Day was good. We grilled out, played croquet (your truly won 2 out of 3 games. woot!), and watched Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark. Is that a dad-honoring kind of day, or what?

A day of yucky.

Today we took my mother-in-law to the hospital for a routine, minor, outpatient procedure. The girls were so extremely well-behaved during the 2.5 hour wait that I’m still trying to locate my real kids and substitute them back for the clones I obviously took with me. No, I should give credit where credit is due. They were very good and I am very proud of them. So why is this the day of yucky?

Because that is how I feel, how Super L feels, and how Little Miss G feels. It started with Super L a few days ago. Mild fever, a some diarrhea, and extra-long naps. I figured she was teething as she’s been putting in fingers in her mouth (which she never does otherwise). I quick peek at her gums showed that, yes indeed, those top 2 year molars are about to break through. So I didn’t worry. But today Little Miss G started showing similar symptoms and has been complaining that her tummy hurts. And then on the way to taking my m-i-l home, I started feeling yucky, too. So for the first time since break, this afternoon I put a movie in the DVD player, told the girls I was laying down in bed and they could come join me if they wanted to, and just waited for the reinforcements (John) to get home. As further proof that we’re not 100% well, they were quiet and pretty much just laid around watching the movie. I think we all needed a little down time.

At least it wasn’t a super-fabulous-gotta-be-outside-kind-of-weather day.