The Doldrums

Sick and tired. Sick and tired of being sick and tired. Blah. I feel sick, and no, I’m absolutely, positively 100% sure I’m not pregnant. At least that would give me a reason for feeling so crappy. No, this is just garden variety doldrums. I feel hopeless and listless and groggy and all I want is to be left alone. For a few days. But no, I have three little kids, a husband who is looking for work, and a home to manage.

It’s the same old refrain. Nothing new under the sun. I can’t pick up the house as fast as the kids wreck it, I don’t have the energy to deal with them properly, I yell, they ignore, add more, rinse, repeat.

So I’m on strike. I actually took Jeffrey to the second-hand store on Saturday because that’s HOW BADLY I don’t want to do laundry. He got two shirts and two pair of shorts. That gets me to Monday. I can make it that long.

I wash all the clothes in the house. Fold them, put them away. It takes an entire day. Within two days, everyone has rifled through their clothes and it’s a disaster again. What exactly did I just spend a day of my life doing? Why? And I get to do it again? And again? for years? *SIGH*

Not feeling a lot of personal satisfaction in my role.

Same thing with food prep, meals, the play room, the yard, even my own hair. I do it today, and holy crap, I have to do it again tomorrow? And again? For the rest of my life?

See? Not feeling my chipper self. I’ve medicated myself with some Haagen Dazs- yeah, all that does is make me really really sick. And fat. And tired. Whoo hoo.

Took the kids swimming at the local pool last night. It was more fun than anticipated- until it was time to go. Abby and Bean both had simultaneous reactor-core melt-downs. Tired babies, too much sun, late dinner, tired mama and daddy = Yay! Let’s go do it again.

Sometimes I just want to run away.

Random Crap, Hot Edition

Yard Sale haul today: A dozen metal cookie cutters- $1. Primary reader copyright 1900- $1. Two dress-up sequin and tulle outfits, ostensibly for Abby, but surely Beanie will enjoy them more- 50 cents. Vintage pattern- 10 cents. Pterodactyl Hot Wheels Race Track with flying Pterodactyl, already causing fights and tears and much screaming- $3. Priceless.

Only six days until my cousin is here…

One of my quilt groups met last night for a tea party. We dined al fresco, under small chandeliers, ate tiny little cucumber sammies (I hate you Rachel Ray) and puff pastry strawberry thingies, drank peach lemonade from demitasse teacups, and generally had a very good and very loud time. I’m probably the youngest member in both the quilt groups I belong to- seems not many younguns like the quiting these days- but I have a ball hanging out with the old ladies. Old ladies rock.

We’re tipping the century mark this weekend. I’m digging a hole to hide in now.

Stella is finally getting comfy with the chaos that reigns in-house. Now, when the din grows above a roar, she chimes in and peeps along with the monsters. It’s cute, and I’m glad she’s not a hyperventilating terrified mess anymore. I like her happy little noises over in the corner. At least I think they’re happy. Oh, and my kids are WAY messier than she is- Yay Stella!

It’s almost July. I hate July. It’s my worst month. Except for strawberries. They make July OK.

I’m lost for the summer. All these unstructured days leave me feeling like a forlorn pool toy, half deflated and floating juuuuust out of easy reach. The idea of superimposing structure on myself sounds good in theory, but I lack the substance to make it happen. That doesn’t mean I lack substance, mine just seems to be make of lots of floatier stuff, and not so much stiff stuff.

I haven’t been back to California in two years. I have a new nephew due to arrive in a few weeks, and it doesn’t look like I’ll make it for his birth. Once again, unemployment sucks.

I have to give a shout-out to Mythbuster Beauty, my favorite beauty blog- Jen, and mom of five, yes five(!) fabulous girls, writes daily about make-up, skin care, tid bits of fashion and girl stuff galore. Check her out, and enter some of her monthly give-aways of tres chic make up and skin care products.

Abby has learned to shriek-scream, which she does all day, much to her delight, and my ear-drum’s dismay.  She also tells me now when she requires a diaper-change. She does so by bringing me a clean diaper and backing her bum up to whatever I happen to be doing. beeep…beeep…beeep- she needs an alarm. Potty training must be close. Right? Right??

My children have selective deafness. I wish I did, too.

Whew

It wasn’t until we sat down to dinner tonight that I realized today was Wednesday, and not Thursday. Whew. All day I had been rushing around, trying to get everything taken care of, worrying about a meeting I have at 7, needing to get to the market before my WIC coupons expire- and then I flipped open my phone, and it said, in tiny little letters, *wed* . A weight the size of Rhode Island lifted from my shoulders, and I think I exhaled the first time all day.

Even now, just getting back from the grocery store, I kept thinking tomorrow was Yard Sale day. Nope. I feel like I’ve been given a little present.

The Results Show!

OK, so I made a 9′ and a 6′ (that’s feet) set of these jabot swags for my friend who just got a new kitchen after 21 years of marriage and four kids. She so deserved something wonderful, and I made them out of dupioni silk in a luscious stripe pattern, and the lining was green.

             

Here is Abby’s new dress- I positively adore, adore the Amy Butler fabric- I had it in my stash, and was not sure what to do with it- turns out it makes a darling little dress. I got the vintage 70′s pattern for the dress at a yard sale for 25 cents.

 

The part I am most pleased with is the insides- for the first time, I used French seams. It was not hard, and made the dress hang and come together beautifully. Not a raw edge anywhere, and no serging. If you don’t sew, none of that will mean anything to you, but I’m am just so happy with it, I plan on using French seams again-  things look so finished and professional.

The next dress I’ve started for Abby- I love the birds. I’m up in the air on whether I should make the skirt from the birds, or go with a bright green or solid yellow- again, using the vintage pattern and French seams. Loves it.

This is a table top I am painting for a friend. She and her husband love squirrels, and that was their only request. I opted for anime, since she loves that- and I have to get this finished today and out to her, since her husband deploys tomorrow and she wants him to see it before he leaves.

And this is my sewing room. So that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days… My poor kids have been neglected and ignored- but they got me back. They snuck into my sewing room when I was upstairs, stole a ball of hand-spun yarn from Peru and cut it into tiny little pieces, just for fun.  They also found my bag of rubber bands and used them as confetti in the play room.  It’s the price we pay.

I hope someday they understand how all-encompassing my need to create is; I hope they don’t resent mama being preoccupied and basically leaving them to their own devices for a day or two. I do feed them and change diapers, but otherwise, as long as no one is bleeding, they pretty much have the run of things. I don’t know how to balance our needs any better than that.

BusyBusyBusy

I’m making stuff- busy busy busy. Dresses, drapes for HT’s new kitchen, some darling Amy Butler fabric for an outfit for Abby… busy busy busy. Pattern order, shipping stuff, taking pictures, cleaning kids, ignoring house, kids dirty quotient, house is disaster, don’t care… busy busy busy. Be back tomorrow with pictures…

Good Sunday

Supposed to be at church right now. We’re not. Obviously. The last two Sundays, Abby has screeched with such rabid abandon as soon as we open the chapel doors, we end up out in the hallway for the entire meeting. “No! No nononono! NOOOO!” I mean really, what two-year old can sit for an hour? Why? Beanie  cries and covers his ears whenever music or singing occurs, and we end up out in hallway. Again. I like church. I like going- I get good things out of it, and it’s good for our family- and yet, going with a two, four and six year-old for the 1 o’clock block is just torture. So, today we play hookie.

Abby has been eating cherries picked from Auntie Joy’s yard, and her cheeks and chin and nightgown (yes, I haven’t even gotten her dressed yet) are all stained a glorious Bing crimson. She’s sitting in the garden digging in the dirt, at watching the butterflies flutter around her hair. Beanie is wearing a dress and eating some peanut butter, Jeffrey is playing Lego, David is trying to teach Stella to whistle, and I still have my jammies on too. The windows are open, the house is quiet and the trees in the yard are whooshing peacefully in the soft breeze, giving us a break from the stiffling heat of yesterday.

I call that a good Sunday.

Murakami Jackpot

Lookie what I got, lookie what I got!! (Sang in my best sing-songy voice) Yes! Ok, so it might be a fake, but you know what? If it is, it’s a dang good fake! AND, the best part? Garage sale! One dollar. Yes, ONE dollar. It was in a pile of other purses, and the lady said all the purses were a dollar. Even this one? I said, holding it up- she didn’t look up, nodded, and I handed her my dollar and moseyed away. Like a jackrabbit bunny.

It’s got all the marking right, the rivets are right, the insides label is right- I think the lining may be the wrong color- but I’m not sure. I don’t have another to cross check. It is missing the padlock for the zipper.  But still? A dollar? You know you would have bought it too!

The Ironic Dinner

So today, to splurge and reward my children for being soooo good while I went Visiting Teaching, I promised a rare trip through the drive-thru. Yeah, yeah, I know we can’t really afford it right now, but I have a little stash for treats.

There was a bit of a line, and the car windows were down to alleviate the complaining of hot, hungry kids. Clearly, I could listen to the car in front of me placing her very, very long order- burger after burger- andcrackly intercom girl squawked out her total of $29. Yowza! I admit, all I was thinking, as I placed my order for three kids meals with milk, was that this was going to take forever. My kids were hot and grumpy, and was too.

Wait. Wait. Wait… Wait some more.

As I finally pulled up to the window, the girl began to hand bags out to me- first, three kids meals, three milks, and then four more large bags… wait, this doesn’t make sense- “Uh, miss, I don’t think this is my order… I had three kids meals, and that was all.

I hand the four bags back through the window, and the girl calls her manager over. He looks at the ticket and asks me what I ordered. Repeating it again, he looks befuddled. “OK ma’am, I think we gave your order to the car ahead of you, and this is theirs. We have to throw it away since you handled the bags-Do you want it? We’ll fix you your order right now, and we’re really sorry.”

So, while I patiently (*snerkle*) waited for my correct food, they handed over the four ginormous bags of burgers the lady ahead of me ordered! All $29 worth!

So for the price of three kids meals with milk, I have eight enormous burgers, a chicken sandwich, three more kids meals, and six french fries. Ha! David’s going to be happier than a pig in poop when he gets home! AND I don’t have to cook dinner.

wiggling my behind and *doing a happy dance*

The Humble Market

The coupons were concealed carefully inside my purse, but I had to keep peeking at the list to see what was approved for me to purchase. A dozen eggs, four gallons of milk, some breakfast cereal of specific brand, cheese- all carefully lined out on the coupons the nice lady at the WIC center had given me.

It was explained that WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is a federally funded program to provide nutritional food to families of limited means. I was encouraged by the Nice Lady to spend all the coupons each month, as WIC’s annual funding was predicated by the previous year’s grant being spent. She was kind, soft spoken and I left the office in tears anyway.

Never had I imagined needing something like a WIC coupon. I was the person who helped others. I was the one working in the soup kitchens, the one cooking at the Bishop’s Storehouse, the one who donates to help others. Not me. Not me.

And so the coupons remained concealed from casual observation. Though I had waited until very late to go the market, I still felt the sting of shame as I carefully chose the approved brick of cheese and large tin can of apple juice.

In an empty aisle, I tallied my groceries, making sure I had used the coupons to the full and honest extent. When another woman turned her cart onto my aisle, I quickly stuffed the papers back in my purse, and pretended to study the label on a can of soup, my cheeks coloring with humility.

At the front of the store, I looked for a register with no line, and settled my basket in behind a woman with only a few items. As I began unloading my cart, I realized I had been in this line before. I had been in line behind women with these very same items, with small children, and my thoughts had not, I was ashamed to admit, always been charitable.

Looking at me, so many would not be charitable either. For the world to see; a nice car, a designer handbag, a big house in a nice neighborhood, a flashy cell phone and an large diamond wedding ring. I could practically hear the catty voices: Why would that woman need WIC food? She must be one of those. One of those people who use and abuse the system.

And there I stood. Tears sprang to my eyes. My cheeks stung with shame. On the outside, what, indeed, did I lack? Hidden from the world: the unemployment going on six months, a health crisis for my husband, the reserves of savings dwindling as the prices of staples rose, the food storage being used up, and the quiet desperation creeping up in our family.

Maybe there was another way for me to learn that lesson. Maybe not. What I do know is, I will never, ever stand in line at the grocery store the same way again.

Matthew 7:1-2 has surely been written in my heart:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.