Sorry Not Sorry

She chatters incessantly at bedtime. Lately the 45 minute routine has been driving me crazy. She always has just one more thing to tell me. Or one more question. Or needs one more check that her teeth are super clean. After 15 minutes I go into shut down mode. A better parent wouldn’t let her run the show this way. Every other four year old in the world goes to sleep without half as much fuss. I’ll never get the quiet time I need.

Tonight Paul was out for a bit, the other kids were busy reading, and I was just plain tired so I laid in bed with her. You can either view this as lazy parenting or amazingly empathetic parenting. It could really go either way.

And l let her prattle on.

And on.

And on.

In that time she determined every number that rhymes with a million is even bigger than the preceding number. She once saw a man with a hangy thing on his ear lobe. She has 4 names picked out for our yet to be adopted puppies. The super cutest names ever. Kay, Colorful Rainbow, Heart, and Rosie. And Noah’s her favorite brother.

And as she went on talking herself in circles, my mind began to drift. I noticed that she never once apologized.

She never apologized for dominating the conversation.

Or for being oversensitive.

Or for being arrogant.

She never became self-concious that what she was saying might be silly.

Or boring.

She never apologized for being herself.

She never apologized for apologizing.

And there it was.

When I stopped to listen I heard the truth.

And then wondered how she can possibly hold so much wisdom in her tiny little body.

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Hello Monday

Inspired by Lisa, Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for!

Hello to a new week of training. I was so inspired by my friends who ran the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend. I’m ready to tackle the Yukon Do It Half in late December. I’ve never been one to run a race with a time goal, but I’m starting to think I need to kick it up a notch so that I not only complete the race, but also improve on my time.

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Hello to a new schedule. Inspired by Michael Hyatt’s post on Margin, I’m working on creating my Ideal Week and sticking to it. Which is kind of difficult with 4 other people to consider, but definitely worth the attempt.

Hello to appreciating my time in India. It was so great to be downtown last week enjoying Diwali with friends. I am especially grateful for the fresh perspective it gave me on the beauty of Mumbai.

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Hello to intentional mornings. I listened to Kat Lee’s podcast over the weekend and I was encouraged by the structure of her mornings.

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Hello to finishing up some books. I’m almost done with If I Stay and I have plenty of other books queued up (like this, and this, and this). Time to make time to read in bed withOUT falling asleep.

Hello to my only full work week sandwiched between two shorter weeks. That’s something to celebrate!

The Struggle is Real

For as long as I can remember I would get a daily creeping sensation late in the afternoon. It was almost like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. More often than not by four o’clock it seemed the entire world was talking like Peppermint Patty’s teacher.

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And I really hated it. I would try my best to relax and be good-natured. But it was hard.

It only got harder when I became a mother. When the kids were little babies, it wasn’t too bad. The rocking and nursing sort melted them into me and it didn’t drain me the way it would later on. As toddlers, the never ending stream of questions and demands stretched me and the late afternoon skin crawl returned. Except the only name I had for that feeling was “sub par mother”. If I was a good mother I would be able to sustain my happy-automatic-snack-dispensing-camp-counselor disposition all day long. I wouldn’t grit my teeth when he asked for just one more story at 7:30 at night or when she needed to wander the house and brush her teeth for a full 15 minutes before bed. But I did grit my teeth and snap at the kids, or more likely, Paul. The evenings were like sipping a bottomless cup of exasperation. The guilt came knocking after everyone fell asleep. After a half hour of uninterrupted quiet I would feel the peace return.

But I’m a slow learner and I didn’t put it all together until this weekend.

When I returned from my two day staycation I felt relaxed and patient. The mess and chaos didn’t bother me the way it usually does. The late afternoon creepy crawl didn’t emerge. I felt like the best version of myself. In short, my batteries were at 100%.

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Yesterday, after a full day of mothering (with a few extra kids at the pool thrown in for good measure) I was running on empty by 4:00. Emp-ty. Paul’s having a full out relationship with his computer these days as he’s wrapping up his Masters program and his constantly managing a flood of deadlines and projects, but I needed him. Through gritted teeth needed him. I needed him to take Stella out to the playground and give me 30 minutes of silence. It sounded indulgent and selfish to ask him to do that when he’d be working all day, but I knew that I wouldn’t peacefully manage until bedtime without it. Thankfully, he understood and took the kids outside for a little bit.

I inhaled the silence and exhaled the demands of the day. For 30 glorious minutes. And then they returned. The noisy, laughing, mess called my family returned. But I was ready for them. I got through dinner, baths, stories, and games without gritting my teeth once.

I told Paul that I felt selfish asking for a bit of time on a daily basis to recharge, but he kindly reminded me that it isn’t selfish and even if it was, it is better than the alternative (that would be the crazed short and snapping Mama alternative). And he’s right. I’m only human (that was such a good song) and if I need a bit of silence on a daily basis to remain a patient and peaceful mom then I need to ask for it.

I often get up early to write and bank some “me” time before the kids are up. Often it backfires.bIronically enough, as I’ve tried to write this post, Stella’s been up painting, sticking, cutting, asking for cereal, and whining already. There’ve 42 questions about the colors of the rainbow, how to spell Mumbai, how people share germs and disputes about water colors with Sophie. It’s 6:42 am.

My gym bag is packed and I’ve got 5 miles on the training schedule. I’m hoping that will carry me through the rest of the day.

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7QT

This week might just be the best week ever. And that has nothing to do with the fact that I worked a two day week and had an amazing girls’ staycation downtown. Pinky swear.

1. I can’t believe October is nearly over. I know it seems like I say this month after month. But October really did fly by (two school breaks may have helped). I’m headed to Doha, Qatar for a conference the week after next. And then it’s practically December and we’re home on Bainbridge for Christmas.ParkersBoatOkay. So maybe I’m rushing that part a bit. But time is flying and I’m not sad about it.

2. Girls’ Staycations are the pretty much the best thing ever. Two friends and I stayed at the Taj Hotel downtown for two nights this week. We shopped, slept, ate and drank to our hearts content. We also pulled down curtains and broke a chair at a sem-fancy restaurant before even a single drink had been served. A good time was had by all.

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3. Mumbai can be a beautiful city. Being downtown rekindled my love for Maximum City. There’s a different vibe downtown and during Diwali the colors and the lights are so beautiful.

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4. My Early Childhood teaching uniform of trouser jeans, a tunic and sandals has been outlawed by the new “no jeans” policy at school. As someone who spends 3/4 of my day on the floor with kids, I’m feeling a bit unsure about what to wear that allows me to sit criss-cross applesauce and essentially squat in tiny chairs. Look for wardrobe updates coming soon. There are some very intriguing posts about the infamous Capsule Wardrobe that have got me thinking.

5. I’ve been wanting a house dress or muumuu since I saw this gorgeous picture on Pinterest. Cause I’m sure that’s exactly what I’d look like once I put it on.

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Or

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I found a pretty good one this weekend. Not sure it’s THE one. But it’s close. And I love it. The end.

6. I have some big healthy plans brewing in my brain these days. That always seems to be the case, but this time everything seems more within reach. More possible. We’ll have to see how (if) these things turn out when the time is right.

7. We have the rest of our travel mapped out for our time overseas. There may be a few weekend trips here and there, but Bainbridge Island (December), Italy (March) and Dubai (May) are all on the docket for now.

And just a bit of photo spam from the week:

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IMG_6088More 7 QT at Conversion Diary

Happy Diwali!

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Back in my public school teaching days, and even the years I spent in Brazil, I may have mentioned Diwali during our PC attempts at holiday inclusiveness. Most often in December along with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and any others that came to mind.

But true Diwali (as in the one celebrated by Hindus around the world) takes place between mid-October and mid-November. There are new clothes, lights, gifts and sweets shared among friends and family. Not so different from Christmas and Hanukkah in the States. Except for the fireworks. Its 7:30 am and the fireworks have already begun. I have a girls’ staycation planned for a couple of days and Paul’s holed up with his computer working on his Masters’ capstone project. Not celebrating in the tradtiional way, but trying to love it all and soak this time in during our last Diwali in India. IMG_5897 IMG_5903 IMG_5906

Hello Monday

The Sunday blues inevitably lead to Monday morning.

How can Monday hold so much promise when Sunday seemed so endless?

And added to the list of things I never thought I would say, “Thank goodness its Monday”.

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Hello to Diwali week. I steadying myself for beautiful lights and fireworks late into the night.

Hello to a short two day work week.

Hello to a girls’ staycation downtown at the Taj Hotel.

Hello to celebrating a friends’ birthday.

Hello to Week 3 training for the Yukon Do It Half Marathon.

Hello to a patient husband making sure it can all happen.

Hello to the beautiful chaos of a family of 5.

On Repeatedly Failing

I often wonder how hard and how often I can fail before the world throws up its collective arms.

Or at least my husband throws up his arms.

And takes the children far, far away from their perfectionist-seeking neurotic mother.

Tonight, Paul told me that that story was getting old.

I agree.

I’m tired of being irrationally irritated by empty Yakult bottles and sticky plates left behind.

I come home from running errands or hanging at the pool with the kids and that’s all I see.

I see the dishes.

I see the toys.

I see the shoes.

And it all immediately starts chipping away at my mood in an unbelievably rapid pace. It doesn’t matter how chipper I was moments before I unlocked the door, because all that will evaporate like an unattended glass of white wine.

Instead of the dirty dishes I need to see the Sunday pancake breakfast.

Instead of the toys I need to see the sisters that played together peacefully all morning.

Instead of the shoes I need to see the amazing little people I get to share my life with.

Its two sides of the same coin.

Its up to me which side I see.

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