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Softness Worth Sharing

30 Oct

As I listened to my 9 year son coughing and sniffling the other day, I realized that cold and flu season are about to hit us full force.  Don’t you just hate it when your friends and loved ones are feeling under the weather?  I’m sure most of you are like me and would love a way to brighten their day but to also help them feel better.

Well, Kleenex has made that possible with an initiative called “Softness Worth Sharing”.  There couldn’t be an easier way to show how much you care!  Specially marked tissue boxes or tissue box bundles will have a code on them for purchase at your local retail store.  Once you purchase your box of Kleenex you simply go to https://www.kleenex.com/softness/ and enter the code to send someone a lovely Kleenex Brand Share Pack or Kleenex Brand Care Pack!

If you purchase a single box of specially marked Kleenex tissues, entering your code with allow you to also share a box of Kleenex with a friend in need via The Kleenex Brand Share Pack.

If you purchase a bundle of Kleenex boxes (typically 3 boxes come in a bundle), you can send a get-well package via The Kleenex Brand Care Pack.  This Care Pack goes a bit above and beyond with the inclusion of a lip balm, hand sanitizer, Kleenex Brand Share Pack, Kleenex Brand Slim Pack, and a card that allows you to download up to 4 songs from select music artists!  How fun is that?

I’m sure this would definitely boost someone’s spirits if they were to receive a lovely surprise like this.

I hope you have enjoyed this wonderful tip and are able to use it as a way to ‘kick off’ this year’s season of giving!

Best wishes for health and wellness to everyone.  🙂

On the Heels of Success…

15 Oct

I am sitting here with dirty hair, an iced capp, a glass of water, and a forlorn look on my face.  The baby is still in his car seat.  I’ll probably leave him there for a bit since he is sleeping and I need a moment of silence.  I’m forlorn because yet again, I failed at this thing called parenthood.  This failure naturally comes right on the heels of awesome successes, but the mistakes just seem so much more giant to me than the perfections.

A few minutes ago, I barked a quick ‘I love you’ and stern ‘be good in school’ and frantic ‘hurry up’ at my son as he scrambled out of the car to get in to school before the bell rang.  His responses were in tune with mine and thankfully he made it to school on time.  I drove away, shaking my head, super frustrated with myself.  Tim Horton’s tried to sugar soothe my bruised ego a bit with a cinnamon roll and iced capp but to no avail.  I still feel miserable.

Remembering to set your alarm is a great thing to do.  I did that!  Woo!  But, remembering to set your phone to ‘alarm’ or ‘vibrate’ or ‘ring’ would have been much more helpful than the ‘silent’ that I left it on.  So, yea, my alarm went off…silently and I kept sleeping…silently.  Waking at 7:40am to my almost 3 month old baby’s cries wasn’t so bad.  I mean, school starts at 8:30am and we live 2 minutes away, so that wasn’t a huge deal.  I got my 9 1/2 year old up and in the shower, changed the wee babe, and started nursing him.  Once my eldest son was dressed and ready to go, I had him check his book bag to make sure he got all the papers out and put his reading book in.  I heard an “Oh man!!” from him as he pulled things from his bag.  “What?!” I yelped.  “I had homework and totally forgot about it!!” he cried.  Of course then I went off with pointless parental questions such as “Why didn’t you remember?” or “Don’t you realize how important getting your homework done is?” or “Why did you do that?”  Sigh.  Naturally, I got equally as pointless answers.  Now, here I am wondering to myself how in the heck this happened.  I always check his book bag and make sure he gets his work done, but here we are, Monday morning, frustrated with one another and a large project unfinished with only 27 minutes left before school begins.  I started pressing him to get as much done as possible which was a pointless venture considering the sizable amount of information he would have to retain and record.  My perfectionist brain got upset when I looked over his paper and saw spelling errors and so he heard about that too.  I’m just not a picture of love and flower blossoms when I’m feeling the heat and turning into frazzle dazzle mommy.

Reluctantly, I wrote a note to his teacher explaining that her student failed at remembering his homework and therefore it is unfinished and I failed at checking up on him until too late.  That was painful.

As I nurse my drink, I realize that in the hustle and bustle of the morning, I completely forgot that our Friday routine got thrown off by a wedding I was matron of honor in.  I mean, generally, when he gets off of the bus on Friday, as soon as he comes in the door I ask him if he has any homework.  If he does (and he often does), I make him do it right away.  But, this past Friday, my husband picked him up for school, got him and our baby ready for a wedding, and carted them off to the church to celebrate with the lovely couple.  The whole evening was filled with celebratory festivities.  The next day, we did chores together as a family.  I had a vocal audition which scared the crap out of me.  Then, we left as a family and went shopping for diapers, paint, and a halloween costume in the dreary rainy weather, came home, ate nachos, watched a movie, and went to bed.  It was a good day.  Sunday, we had church, went to lunch with friends, dressed up and went to the State Theatre to watch Scared Shrekless, walked to the library, checked out some books, went home, did more chores, ate dinner, and then read books together until it was time for bed.  I fell asleep Sunday evening feeling happy about how successful the weekend had been even though my house is a cluttered mess and my refrigerator and pantry are pretty empty.  And then this…  this failure.

As a parent, mistakes like this really make me feel low, stupid, weak, and like a complete and utter failure.  I mean, I know super moms who are probably going to read this blog and smile at my simplicity and think of a hundred ways I could have organized my weekend better and why I shouldn’t be flying by the seat of my pants.  I wish I didn’t even think of the super moms.  I definitely didn’t ‘save the day’ here.

But, while driving home earlier, I had a thought.  As a Christian, the Lord is my perfect and holy Father.  He cares for me and loves me perfectly.  He also has consistently offered His help if I simply ask for it.  He has told me over and over again that in my weakness then he is strong…that when I fall, He will pick me up.  Yea, I expect to be perfect like He is…I mean, He is my Father after all.  That bar is set pretty high, I guess, but He has told me over and over that He alone is perfect and that’s why I need Him.  Most of the time, I try to just get through the day.  I get frustrated at myself when I fail and question my worth right along with those short comings.  But, this morning, I am reminded that He is my friend and that He wants to help…I just have to ask, you know?  I wish I had it all perfectly together, and I’m sure as the years go on, I’ll learn how to get it more and more together like so many other women I know and admire.  But, for today, I am going to have to get back to the heart of the matter and start relying more on the Lord to help me get through each day.

It’s not easy to just ‘shake off’ failures like these, so instead, I am going to pocket this lesson in the memory book of my mind and do my best to include the Lord in my future moments so my failures can become His successes.

I am not perfect, but I am perfectly me and in His perfection, he formed me.  I am thankful for being wonderfully made and I am thankful that when I am knocked down I know that I don’t have to stay down.  I’ve got a Friend that sticks closer than a brother and He teaches me how to forgive myself with how perfectly he forgives me.

Now, for that shower before the baby wakes up…

Baby Love

6 Sep

When I look at myself in the mirror, I can definitely pick out all my flaws;  the ill fitting clothes, the bulges, the dark circles under my eyes, the greasy hair, the fact that I haven’t been able to find time to make a proper meal, brush my hair, put on any make up, or take a shower in 2 days.

But, I am learning a lesson… from my 7 week old son.  When he looks at me, he doesn’t see my flaws.  He just sees his mommy.  I can tell he loves me…unconditionally.  When I pick him up or make funny faces or noises, he’ll reward me with the most adorable little smiles.  He’ll stare into my face forever with his beautiful blue eyes, and I am overwhelmed with the fact that no matter how much wrong I see about myself, he sees all the good.  My baby just sees his mommy, the one he loves, no matter what.

I guess, it just reminded me that I need to look at myself differently.  I carried this tiny being inside of me for almost 10 months.  I nurse and nurture my tiny babe with all the love I can possibly muster from my heart.  I sing, rock, bounce, and cuddle my little one.  I change dirty diapers 50 gazillion times a day.  I laugh at his silly little scream cry and the adorable faces he makes when he is waking up, sad, happy, intrigued, or upset.

Yea, I’m imperfect, and everyone else may see me that way too, but to this one little being, he sees me perfectly, loves me no matter what, and that makes all the difference.

Busty Confessions

3 Jul

At almost 37 weeks pregnant, the pressure has really been on for me to not only complete everything I have at home left to do (which has been a lot due to a water leak that made our bathroom ceiling cave in), but also to make sure I am set for nursing when my baby boy arrives.  This means finding well fitting nursing bras.  It’d be nice to have a night gown, well fitting tank top and a few shirts designed for nursing as well, but either way, the bras are the most important.

I have been searching and searching and searching for the right fit.  I’ve tried on bras at JcPenney, Macy’s, Motherhood Maternity, Target, to name a few.  All, to no avail.  I was actually very impressed that Target carried bras in my size, and even more surprised that they had nursing bras at all, so I scooped 4 of them up.  Once I got them home, I sadly realized they just weren’t going to work.  I had been lying to myself to try to make myself believe that they would be good enough but after trying them on multiple times, I realized that I would be wasting my money to keep them.

Standing there in my bedroom, staring at my enormous breasts hanging awkwardly and bulging disturbingly out of the poorly fitting nursing bra, I hit my breaking point.

Was there NO ONE that cared about big busted women in this world?!!  I mean, there are a lot of us out there.  I know it can’t just be me, right?  I’m sorry, but I’ve never had small ones.  I’ve never been blessed with the ability to walk about in a cute little tank top with a soft little mini sports bra to hold up my tiny still perky bumps.  That is a blessing women of a different breed were given.  Not me.  I have large melons that hang off of the front of me.  If I walked around without a sturdy bra on, they would sag down to my belly button, or I’d have to push one of the monsters out from underneath my armpit, or I’d be so perky I’d be walking about with my arms crossed over my chest so no one would notice my nips that appear out of no where with no shame.  Ugh.  While I love my breasts and am very thankful for them, they have also at times been the bane of my existence.

If you don’t have large breasts, carry on, and read no further.  All this will give you is a good laugh, but you have no possible way of even beginning to understand what it is like…  the back pain, the awkwardness, the shirts that fit everywhere except there.  Yea.  It’s just not your battle.  But, it is mine.

And of course, I would have to make the decision to nurse my child which means for months on end, I’ll have to pop one of these puppies out at any given minute for my child to suckle.  Being this far along and knowing that day is coming soon (very soon), I was getting very ticked off that no one could accommodate my well endowed form.

Now, let me be clear.  Just because a tag claims that it’s XL or XXL or 38DD does not mean that it will actually work, thus my experience with the aforementioned companies I had shopped at.  I needed something that would support my form.  A bra that had enough padding that I didn’t have to stuff it full of nursing pads just so I didn’t have to cross my arms in front of my chest all day.  Something where I didn’t bulge out in weird places.  In short, I just wanted a bra that I could wear all day long without having to think about my boobs all day.  I mean, seriously.  It’s like wearing underwear that keep giving you that horrid wedgie, or cause the butt bulge because they’re too tight…all you can think about all day is those dang underpants!  The last thing I need to be concerned about when I’m getting to know my newborn is how awfully my bra is fitting me.

Last night, in a last ditch attempt, I begged Google for an answer.  I found a few well endowed nursing comrades truly did exist in the world and they had great advice!  A bra company called Bravado! was well recommended by quite a few moms out there.  So, I went on a hunt for a store in our Great Lakes Bay Region that carried this highly acclaimed boulder holder.  My searching led me to Corset Shop Intimates in Saginaw on Center Rd.

This morning, I called and timidly asked them if they carried nursing bras.  They said YES!  I then asked what sizes they carried for nursing mamas.  They spouted off some number like 46H or something ridiculously bigger than I am (and sweetheart, if that is a size you need, I feel your pain!).  I was asked what size I was looking for and with renewed faith in this world, I told them I was looking for 38DD and they told me that they had a few different styles.  Oh my goodness, for real?!?!??!  I hopped in my car and promptly drove myself straight there.  When I walked in, the ladies were very friendly, professional, knowledgeable, and kind.  I didn’t feel intimidated or stupid because my breasts were as large as they are, and believe me, when you ask at a typical department store if they have your size (and it’s that big), you get looks and “welllll…..I’m not so sure about that…I’ll have to look, but, I just don’t know….”  At Corset Shop Intimates, I never felt silly.  They were so helpful!

Not only did I find a nursing bra, I found 3 of them (and could have purchased more if my pocket book had allowed me to do so)!!  I purchased two different styles by Bravado! Designs.  The 1st style is called ‘The Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra”.

The Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

They had a few neutral colors available in my size (which happens to be L for this particular style). While this bra does not have an under wire, it is still very supportive and has pockets for nursing pads to easily be inserted, is very soft, and meant to be worn comfortably through the night or with a casual outfit.  This bra was $49.00.  The 2nd style I purchased by Bravado! Designs is called “The Bliss Nursing Bra”.

The Bliss Nursing Bra

This came in size 38 D/E(DD) and fit beautifully.  It also does not have an under wire (which I typically can not go without), but the band under the cups is very sturdy and the straps fit firmly over your shoulders without digging in to them.  The cups cover the full breast, are comfortably padded, and the design, while not the most sexy, is still classy with a lovely sheen and lace embellishment on the front.  This bra was $54.00.  The last bra I purchased was called “Sexy Mama-Nursing Bra” by a company called Le Mystere.

Sexy Mama Nursing Bra

The bra came in size 38E and while the most expensive of the 3 bras I purchased, also fit so well and looked so great, I had to have it.  This bra is an under wire with a fully padded cup, 4 rows of clasps in the back (horizontally and vertically), and is a lovely nude color with an ivory lace overlay.  It is a nursing bra that makes me feel like a WOMAN (not just a buffet):  sexy, confident, and proud of what God gave me.  This bra was $66.00.

At Corset Shop Intimates, if you purchase 3 or more bras or panties, you receive 15% off your purchase, so instead of paying $179.14 with tax, I ended up paying $152.27.  Given the fact that I never make such expensive purchases for myself, this normally would have been extremely difficult for me, but I felt extremely comfortable buying these well fitting items from such a well managed shop.  I am so thankful that I found this shop and am now ready to have this baby knowing that I am well equipped to nurse him comfortably!

Judgmental Uneducated Closedminded Christian Bigot

9 Jun

I am a judgmental, uneducated, close minded, Christian bigot.  That’s right, folks!  Step right on up to start flogging me for my menacing presence in this modern day society.  The way I think is clearly offensive, rude, and intolerable and is thus worthy of punishment on a metaphorical cross of shame.

I am culturally irresponsible for not being tolerant of a modern world that is constantly changing and my ridiculous refusal to alter my way of thinking along with it is simply blasphemous.  On top of that, if I keep acting in such a vulgar manner, I will end up raising my children to be targeted for their oppositional behavior to a lifestyle which clearly they should be permissive and understanding of.  This is clearly unacceptable.

At least this is the message I’ve been getting lately…

Everywhere I go, it seems that the glories of promiscuity, lewd talk, immorality, and freedom to do exactly as one feels whenever one feels it are being shouted from every street corner, roof top, and television screen.  There are tv shows about being happily divorced, the scandals of being pregnant at 16, the necessity of killing our children’s egos sweetly (dance mom’s anyone?), squids who disrespect Jesus and wear “Booty Hunter” hats, fist fights and screaming matches in Jersey, gay designers flamboyantly telling me where to shove my furniture, one telling me what to wear and another telling me what I can’t wear, comedic twists on late night booty calls, girlfriends stealing boyfriends, being a pretty little liar, sneaking around on your parents, dressing way older than you actually are and acting it as well (Disney channel, anyone?), husbands cheating on wives, neighborhood secrets of desperate women, anatomical hospital dramas revolving around each characters revolving sexual door, cartoons for the late night viewer with claymation characters humping while they wildly scream their pleasure (but it’s ok cuz it’s clay!), movies that teach me about the sweet love between two gay men, why we should leave our partners when they make us unhappy, and how to hook up with the hottest guy/girl at the bar.  Not only that, but every time I flip my radio station dial, walk into a grocery store, or simply have my windows open at home, the music screams sex at me.  How I should be sexy and know it, drink pitron and take someone home, all while kissing girls and liking it.  The images I see not only from my tv screen, but also on billboards, in movie theater advertisements, malls, commercials (which promote sex at every turn because remember, Peanuts, M&Ms, and Poptarts are such HOTT items…ooh baby), magazines, and internet ads all proclaim the glories of perfectly perky breasts, wide open mouths tantalizing the viewer with their cherry bomb lip glosses, curvaceous legs hinting of so much more, bare chested men with pants hanging just far enough off to lead your eyes exactly there, blue haired women wearing suggestive cupcakes as breasts and panting as if in the throes of a sexual act, gay lovers raising children joyfully in the latest style, huge posters of the sexiest curviest stick figure models wearing underwear that you should wear too, as well as tutorials on how to shake your butt, move your hips, and lick your lips.

But, if I were to say that I think any of these things is wrong, people say “now now, it’s not that bad…”  If I even mouthed that I thought the promotion of gay marriage is wrong I am in fear of hellfire and may in fact be damned to hell by all of modernistic society.  Even saying I don’t agree with it is quite scandalous.  And to raise my children that I think it’s inappropriate is also simply cruel to those around me.  Of course, this doesn’t take into account that I never said I hated any one particular individual or was even judging them…simply stating that I don’t agree with a particular lifestyle or that I refuse to glorify it as beautiful and just.  In fact, for me to be so ridiculous as to want to raise my children to abstain from sexual intercourse until they are married is the stupidest thing a parent could do.  Rather, I should be putting my child on birth control so they don’t get pregnant just in case they decide they want to call up their boyfriend for a romp in the sack or hand out condoms to my son with the hot girlfriend who we know he’s gonna “do” (and here’s a few tips, son, on how to ‘win the ladies’).  Not only that, but from a very young age, I should be buying my elementary aged daughter the latest fashion even if it is incredibly revealing, glamorous, or suggestive (why is the word Pink on every “cool” butt that walks by me???) because as they get to middle and high school my daughter has to look “hott” in her skin tight t-shirt with the v-neck that hangs open just enough and the jeans that emphasize her hormonally charged round bottom.  At the age of 7, I should be thinking it’s cute when my children want to be “boyfriend and girlfriend” with someone else and I should continue to think it’s cute all the way up to the age of 17 because, I mean, if it’s ok at 7, why wouldn’t it be ok at 11?  Might as well just go along with it and take pictures of your adorable child holding hands, kissing, or snuggling.

Why aren’t we teaching our young men to respect young ladies bodies?  Why aren’t we teaching our young ladies that their body is holy and the only thing they truly have and to give it away to the ‘highest hott bidder’ simply cheapens the beauty of who they are?  Why can’t we tell our child that a certain behavior or way of dress is inappropriate?  How come it’s wrong for me to say, “No, young lady, you can’t wear that out of the house and please sit like a lady.”  (as in, don’t let your legs just hang open because there are a lot of freaks out there looking…even if she is just 6…child molestation, anyone?)  What is wrong with me teaching my son or my daughter that they can talk to me anytime they want to about sex, drugs, or alcohol but that it is absolutely inappropriate for them to be involved in any of those things.  Why am I the mean parent for deciding to not buy my children alcohol before they turn 21 instead of buying it for them in lieu of the fact that they’re going to drink it anyways?  How come it’s wrong for me to not only teach my children what is wrong but to also punish my child for breaking the rules?  Why is it more socially acceptable for me to buy a lollipop for my annoyingly disobedient 2 year old when he screams for one but it’s not acceptable for me to say NO?  And how come it’s wrong for me to swat the bottom of an out of control little one (I didn’t say beat…  God forbid we mix that one up)?  Why can’t I teach my children that sex outside of marriage is not only dangerous to their health (std’s anyone???), but it is also damaging to their emotional well being (anyone ever get rejected, dumped, trashed?), and completely too overwhelming of a burden for them to bear?  Why can’t I encourage appropriate attraction towards the opposite sex instead of encouraging any whim that comes their way?  Why is it wrong for me to say that sin is wrong in general and that there are certain Godly guidelines that our offspring should follow? Why can’t I teach my children to “love the sinner but not the sin”?

What is so wrong with guidelines?

Or maybe I’m asking the wrong questions….

How come more parents aren’t OUTRAGED at what our children are being fed, not only by the media (how about sexy 14yr old Brittany Spears…see how that turned out?), but by clothing stores (should that REALLY be the style promoted to our children?  does my 9yr old need to wear cut off shirts and should my 17yr old be wearing a prom dress with her chest hanging out and huge cutouts from the back and sides of it?)  Are we just going to think it’s cute every time an adorable child is stripped down to naked and put on a huge poster for Abercrombie just because the picture looks amazingly artsy?  Is it just funny when we see commercials with products geared towards kids being sexually promoted?  It’s cute, right?  I’m sorry, I guess I forgot to laugh.  How come the media is making such a huge profit off of disrespectful teenagers, liars, sexual promiscuity, and murder?

But, it’s judgmental for me to think things are wrong.

I’m uneducated to not understand how people are wired and thus be accepting of every sexual choice, including but not limited to homosexuality, sexual intercourse before marriage, transvestites, and bi-sexuality.

My mind is too closed because I haven’t seen the light.  I haven’t realized the joy of letting people live happy and that if it is in the name of love it is justified and acceptable.

And yes, I’m a Christian Bigot because not only do I base my ideas on principles in the Bible but I’m unwilling to change therefore making me a cruel bigot.  Oh, and don’t forget, just the uneducated emotionally destitute need Jesus.  No one in their right mind could or would possibly make such a foolish decision to not only have faith but also to FOLLOW what Jesus said.  I mean, I should technically just be a Christian in word and not in deed because to ACT like a Christian is too offensive and cruel to those around me…

Simply because I have an opinion and don’t agree with what 87% of the world has deemed acceptable.

It’s a shame I can’t get my act together…

Alvederzein, Dear Teacher.

5 Jun

Our home is one that tries to find ways to do things creatively and inexpensively.

Since we are ending the 2011/2012 school year, naturally, we want to show appreciation and love towards the woman who has been giving so much of herself to teach our son all year long.

I could buy a pretty plant or flower, but for some reason, while pretty, it seems like a waste of money purchasing something that will just fade and die.  So, my son and I started to brainstorm ideas.  I did a bit of looking on pinterest and got a few helpful hints regarding creative gifts for teachers, and from there our plan was formed.

We went to the grocery store with a goal of spending under $10.  On our list was:

  1. Smarties
  2. Extra gum
  3. Glue
  4. A wooden letter “A”
  5. 1 tiny bottle of acrylic paint
  6. Foam brushes

We were able to purchase these items for under $8.

At home, we had:

  1. Construction paper
  2. Markers
  3. Vase
  4. Ribbon
  5. Flowers growing around our house

After we had gathered all our items, I had my son start painting his letter “A”.

(His face still has tiger paint remnants left on it from his field day at school)

After he got the 1st coat of paint on the letter “A”, we went outside to choose flowers to put in a vase for his teacher.

Once he had made his choices on flowers he wanted, I had him put them in the vase.  Aren’t they pretty?

Once that was done, we came up with ideas for the tags we were going to hang from each item in our collection.  Using construction paper and markers we had at home, he started writing out phrases.

After all of the lines were written, we cut them out, made them in to tags by putting a piece of ribbon through them and then tied them around each gift.  This is the final result!

The tags say:

  1. “Freshly picked by Timothy” on the flowers
  2. “Thanks for keeping it together” on the glue
  3. “You’re Extra special” on the Extra gum
  4. “Thanks for making us all ‘smarties’ ” on the bag of Smarties
  5. “A is for Arnold” on the letter “A”

This was a super easy, fun, and inexpensive project full of heart for a very special lady in our lives.

Thank you, dear teacher, for all you have done for our son this year.  Alvederzein and God bless.

www.frugallysustainable.com

Mundane as Heck.

5 Jun

Mornings are interesting at my house.  It seems that while the alarm clock buzzes in time to get us all up and out of bed, we still find a way to lounge about for just a few more minutes.  Once we finally do roll our sleepy heads out of our comfortable cocoon of sheets and blankets, there isn’t an enormous amount of time to spare.  Yet, coffee is made, news is flipped on, facebook, e-mail, top headlines are checked, breakfast is munched.  With 7 minutes left on the clock, clothes are ironed, lunch is packed, shower is taken, and a frantic look about for keys, phone, wallet, badge, and shoes occurs.  A quick “I love you”, a peck on the lips or cheek if we’re lucky, door closes and locks, car starts and is heard speeding away down the road.

I stand in silence for a minute.  Sometimes saying a prayer for my husband.  Other times muttering under my breath.  I unplug the iron, fold down the ironing board, put them both away, and go knock on my son’s door to get him moving for the morning.

As I push him through the morning steps; vitamin, breakfast (yes you can have milk in a glass instead of in your cereal…  DRINK your milk!!!!….  You can look at the birds out the window but you have to keep eating!!!…), shower (but, with the door slightly propped open so I can holler a “get out now” without trying to muffle it through the closed door, shower curtain, and barreling water falling over my child’s ears…and of course, the constant reminder before the shower even begins to make sure you have a towel…), get dressed (did you get your dirty clothes out of the bathroom???), make your bed, clean up your room, brush your teeth, go make your hair look less crazy please, Oh geez… I forgot to make his lunch.  Sigh.  Running about the kitchen grabbing lunch items together while my kid worriedly stares at me, sweatshirt on, book bag slung over his shoulder, concern dripping from his every pore that he may in fact miss the early bus…  me, annoyed, knowing he WON’T miss the early bus.  Lunch passed off, hug and kiss and lots of “I love yous” and reminders to be well behaved at school, door closes, and my son is running down the sidewalk to get to the corner and wait for his beloved bus ride.

Sometimes I sit on the couch listening for the bus and breathe a sigh of relief once I know he has made it on… Other times, I stand at the window peering out at his slight form standing there waiting, and I smile…and often want to cry.

When I see him standing there, I am so very reminded of how quickly the years have flown by.  How did we get to this point where I’m even ok with him standing near the road let alone on a sidewalk by himself???  And since when does my kid take showers by himself and feed his own face?  When exactly DID that start happening?  Because, before my very eyes, my son is getting taller, more handsome, a bit more ruddy in the cheeks, full of ideas and opinions, and a drive and passion for life that is never stomped down even when faced with adversity.  My son is becoming a man right before my very eyes.  I try to not envision him as a teenager because that not only makes me intensely freaked out but it also makes my eyes water….so, I push that thought aside and turn to look at the morning aftermath.

There is bread to be put away, peanut butter containers and jelly jars to screw the lids back on to, crumbs to swipe off the counter, sticky messes to be wiped up, baggies to be put back in the cupboard, milk and cereal messes to make sure aren’t forming gelatinous concrete style masses on my kitchen table, load of dishes to start, coffee pot to turn off, water to be dried up off the bathroom floor, lights to turn off, and a huge sigh of relief to be taken as I gingerly set my 8 month pregnant self on the couch.

It takes me about an hour of researching, facebook-ing, myfitnesspal-ing, blogging, and e-mailing to realize that I am an exhausted mess.

Occasionally, I’ll march my tired self straight back to bed.  Other times, I’ll push away the exhaustion, throw my hair up in a bun, pull on my socks, tie up my tennis shoes, and walk in the morning peace and quiet listening to the birdies chirp for the next 40minutes.  Either way, no matter which one I choose first, the other one is always sure to follow.

There have been moments where I have felt like a complete and utter failure as a wife and a parent knowing the seeming chaos that occurs each and every morning.  Yet, there is comfort in even this pressured routine.  Oh, I’ve made charts to follow strictly and I’ve planned ahead and made lunches the night before (only to half the time have them forgotten in the refrigerator… eh hem).  I’ve even set the timer on the coffee pot so it’s all ready to go when my husband stumbles blindly and dead tired into the kitchen to pour himself a mug full.  Sometimes, I’ll have even gone so far as to have every single pair of dress pants washed, ironed, hung, and ready to go in the closet so I can just pretend I’m not awake in bed and let things take care of themselves.

But, truth be told, while I enjoy my slumber, I don’t enjoy it more than the few moments I have snuggled under a big blanket on the couch with my husband chugging my water while he sips his coffee and we both make remarks on the appalling things we see on the news.  I like to be the last one to say goodbye to him in the morning, passing off his thermos of coffee, lunch bag, keys, phone, book, and badge while announcing exactly where his shoes and jacket are so he isn’t looking for them.  Even though it is quick, the hurried “I love yous” and occasional kiss before he rushes out the door are all worth it to me.

It is our routine.  It is our life.  It is what we do and it is who we are.  To be the perfectly ordered family with each check in the box slashed off while I wear my a-line dress, heals, and bow in my hair just simply won’t ever happen.  We do our best, we love as much as we possibly can, and while this sort of routine can have frustrations and may morph into something more ‘reasonable’ with time, for now, it works.

Being content with exactly who and what your family is can sometimes be a challenge, but looking at yourselves with a kind eye can only make what you see more precious and dear.

I call these sorts of realizations “watering my soul”…  Yea, they are mundane as heck, but it is exactly what we all need to truly grow…