Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Beauty of the Commute

I live here: 
I work here: 
So, technically, I have to commute to work.  My commute basically looks like this:

I'm not really sure that I can even call it a commute.  It takes me 18 minutes to get from my driveway to the parking lot at work.   (However, now I have to drive an extra six blocks to Charlie's daycare first--usually this drop off takes about 5-7 minutes depending on the day--but I don't count it.)

Now that school is officially out, I find myself in this weird transitional phase.  It happens every year--I'm always so ready to have a break from work, and then the last day gets here and I can't function the next day.  I always have a mild bout of depression--not really being capable of expressing my weird feelings.  I love having my summers off, I love having tons of projects on the "to do" list (even though I'll never accomplish them), I love having a huge pile of chick lit books next to my bed, I love dreaming about long walks, runs, and bike rides (even though i know that most likely, I won't have time for those either).  I have great intentions of golfing, sipping margaritas, going on shopping trips, and lounging at the city pool.  The list goes on....but yet I always feel....weird and kind of sad when the summer officially begins.  I mean, where do I start!?  What is my schedule?  Augh!  I'm thinking that if I could at least have my morning and afternoon commute, I would handle this transition better.

Every day, as I hop in my mom-mobile and head out on highway 14, I feel myself settle into my day.  I sip on my wussy coffee (more like milk with a little splash of caffeine to get me going), listen to an audio book, and drive the open road.  Usually, it really is an open road.  My "stress" comes during planting and harvest season when giant farm equipment takes up both sides of the road and cruises along at 20 mph.  Even during those times, I find myself gazing at the changing fields, or bright leaves, or trying to catch a glimpse of those freaking adorable baby calves.

It's very strange that this highway feels like a part of me--as I'm sure many people can relate.  I have gotten to "know" the houses along the way--and have witnessed their owners' lives.  I've driven by their signs encouraging their athletes, I've seen the signs announcing the birth of their babies.  I've seen their flowers bloom, ditches mowed, trees planted, house additions built, puppies born, swingsets assembled, cars bought, houses painted, swingsets sold, 4-wheelers purchased, and seniors graduate.  I feel like I've gotten to glimpse into someone's lives, just by driving by twice a day. 

And, twice a day, my mind can just focus on driving--with no other distractions.  Just me and my thoughts-- I don't have to answer my phone, I don't have to pass back a sippy cup, I don't have to listen to ESPN radio, I just get to drive and spend time with myself.  And this, is basically, why I love that 36 minutes each day--and miss it when summer comes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Inspiration

Okay, I realize my last blog title may be a bit strong so I should mention that I drew my inspiration from this book: 
Now, I know some might be offended by it, (I doubt many of those people would even be reading this blog post) but come on people! This is the best bedtime book I've ever read!  Isn't it what we all are thinking?  Okay, so I have to admit that my little C goes to bed very well--although I must also give myself and my hubby some credit here--we definitely trained him and are 100% confident that was the right decision for us.  But I feel this book can be applied to other areas as well--such as "Quit f'ing whining" or "Settle the f down" or so on.  Don't we all have some battle this would apply to?  If you are out there shaking your head "no" then I know you're lying.  And frankly I'm just jealous of your ability to do so.  

If you'd like to read the pdf copy of this book, google "go  the f to sleep pdf"  WELL worth the download--hilarious!  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quit F ' ing Whining.

The title says it all.  In two parts:

Directed to my little C:
PLEASE learn to speak!  Please please please start to say words!  Mommy talks with you constantly! She is constantly pointing to things and labeling them.  We talk about everything we pass on our walks, we talk during snack, we read books.  You mimic words half of the time so how hard can it be to say, "boat" or "food" or "grass" or "car'?!  Instead, it's constantly "EH! EH! EH! EEEH!"  This whiny word is going to be the death of me. I cannot handle another 2 hours like tonight where this "word" was all you said.  (In between rotating bouts of crying and giggling and whining and smiling)

Directed to myself:
C is 15 months old (well, in like 5 days).  This is typical, normal behavior for a toddler.  They don't have the language but have the feelings.  Bla bla bla.  It's freaking annoying.  In the profound words of my father, "Well, that's part of parenting"  (hahaha, he's hilarious and was always cool as a cucumber when it came to parenting.  Totally taking the bad with the good, letting all of our annoying tendencies just roll off his back.....) And you know what Dad? You are totally right.  It IS part of parenting.  And truthfully, it just sucks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Next Life

So this whole rapture thing has me thinking.  And I"m thinking I'm not buying into it.

However, it has made me think about the possible existence of an afterlife.   As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I grew up in a "religious" family, so naturally accepted that people go to Heaven when they die.  Of course, my wondering mind always wanted to know more about Heaven-- and why we rational, educated, adults would believe in such a magical, unexplainable thing.  And my conclusion is that it feels nice.  It's comforting and safe and explains things that we don't know.  It gives us an answer--for something that there really isn't one.  It makes us feel better.  It makes us accept death because it's "new life" and we don't have to think about people really being totally 100% gone.  We don't have to admit that we'll never see our loved ones again because, well, that's really sad.  

For me, this was yet another challenging piece of religion. (And believe me, I REALLY wanted to believe this one.)  I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea of a Heaven-- or human souls continuing to live in another dimension.  This may be partially due to my total inability to think about things analytically, or it may be due to the fact that Heaven just sounds completely unbelievable to me.  And really, all people go there?  Only some go there?  Only some who believe? Only some who have had the right exposure to believe?  Only those who say the "right" things?  Hmmmm...

It took me awhile to become comfortable with the idea of death being final.  But, I truly believe that when I die, that's it.  I'll be dead.  100%.  Not living in the clouds, not looking down on my family, not haunting teenagers who are doing bad things in the cemetery (now that sounds fun).  Just simply gone.  And that is okay because I feel that (hopefully) I'll "live on" in the memories (fond, of course!) of my family and friends.   At this point, I would like to say that I LOVE the idea of Heaven.  Who wouldn't?  If I'm mistaken about it and end up there, I'll be pleasantly surprised.  (I have a long list of things I'd do, and what my Heaven would be filled with--maybe that's another blog topic.) And honestly, I'd love to see my lost friends and family in Heaven--I would love to feel my great-grandmother's skin again, or hear my grandfather's voice. 

And for this reason, I understand why it is comforting to believe in such a place.  I must admit that there have been times and situations when it's just so hard to accept that someone so special has really died.  And during those moments, I'll allow myself to entertain the thought of Heaven--and actually find a little peace in doing so. But most days, if I just close my eyes, I can still feel the silky, cool, skin of my great-grandma's arms and hear the deep voice of my grandpa...and to me, that is how life goes on. 

Dog Heaven [Book]The other day, I met with a little girl who was incredibly sad about the death of the family puppy.  I found myself reaching for this book:  Dog Heaven by  Cynthia Rylant.  If you're a dog lover, you'll love it--such a perfect description of what we hope happens when our furry four legged friends meet their master.  And while I don't believe it, I love thinking about the possibility.   

Continue reading "Dog Heaven" by Cynthia Rylant

Monday, May 16, 2011

Definition of "Happy Hour"

I took this picture on May 5, 2011. 

Cinco de Mayo.  A party day.  A celebration.  A day to go out and whoop it up, right? 

Or, just another beautiful day in a small town.  Good Girl had been walked & fed.  Dinner had been prepared & eaten with the family.  Dishes were done.  The cutie pie was bathed and in bed.  Laundry was in the dryer.  Facebook had been checked.  So I sat outside, sipped some red wine, and watched the sun go down.  Had the daddy been there (he was golfing) it would have been perfect. 

And as I sat outside, wine glass in one hand and baby monitor in the other, I gazed out at our backyard and thought of what I probably had been doing ten or twelve years ago on May 5th.  Of course I can't remember what I did (either it was pretty non-eventful or I had indulged in some celebratory margaritas--or both) but I guarantee you that it didn't involve sipping wine and enjoying the view of a bare cornfield. 

If you would have told my 20-something self that someday I'd be totally content sitting on my deck looking at a field I would have laughed at you.  But I have to admit, that there are more days than not, that I would take my view over one from a city penthouse or a Colorado mountaintop.  (And then there are other days when I'd just give anything to live next to a Target)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Do Pictures Really Tell the Story?

When I was a Psychology student at UNI, I read that the majority of time spent parenting evokes "bad" feelings. (Like annoyance, overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, angry, irritated, etc.)  However, our brains are hard-wired to procreate, so we magically tend to remember the "good" feeling times.  Thus, we want to reproduce and populate the world.  As I look around at the people I know with children, I'm coming to the conclusion that this has got to be true.

However, I'm getting worried that Mason and I are the opposite.  Our conversations about "baby charlie" aren't all that positive or endearing.  We remember them with a sense of, "I'm so glad that phase is over!"  And then I feel guilty!  Everyone LOVES babies, right?  Everyone misses the baby phase and complains about their school-age children being rude and greedy and mouthy.  So I keep trying not to wish the baby time away but it's so hard!  I just can't wait for my little guy to be a big boy.  I (usually) LOVE kids.... I'm just not a huge baby fan.  (Someday, I know I will probably regret saying this and I'll miss my little baby time)

Mother Knows Best?

Yesterday I "celebrated" my second Mother's Day.  Last year, Charlie was just two months old and I'm pretty sure we slept through the big day.   I don't really have any memories of it-- and we didn't take any pictures of Charlie & me which makes me assume that one (or both) of us cried through it.  Perhaps that is the reason I was really looking forward to Mother's Day this year.  Charlie has been such a ray of sunshine lately--he is so fun to be around.  I find myself really enjoying his company, not just glancing at the clock every ten minutes to see how much more time we need to kill until supper.

So yesterday, Mason and Charlie treated me to breakfast at Village Inn before spending the beautiful day together.  And while the weather was just perfect, my little ray of sunshine was.....not.  He spent most of the day crying or whining for no apparent reason.  He didn't want to be held, didn't want to be set down, cried in the stroller, cried at the park, whined at the grocery store, screamed in the basement, and the list goes on.  By 6:00, Mason and I were about ready to send him off to college but we somehow made it through the night.  After a bath and some stories, we tucked him into bed and didn't hear a peep from him until 6:00 this morning.