Zero to Hero: Build on your last post

I’m falling woefully behind on the Zero to Hero tasks.  Some of them, I’m thinking I am going to skip or come back to later.  I am active on Facebook and Pintrest, but not quite ready to publicize each time I post to my blog.  I do plan on adding pages later on, but with only a dozen or so posts, I don’t think my blog really needs them yet.  So I think that gets me to task 21, build on the last post where you published something in a “new to you” format.

Happiness Makes Up In Height For What it Lacks In Length” is a title of a poem by Robert Frost.  Here’s the poem:

O stormy, stormy world, 
The days you were not swirled
Around with mist and cloud,
Or wrapped as in a shroud,
And the sun’s brilliant ball
Was not in part or all
Obscured from mortal view–
Were days so very few
I can but wonder whence
I get the lasting sense
Of so much warmth and light.
If my mistrust is right
It may be altogether
From one day’s perfect weather,
When starting clear at dawn
The day swept clearly on
To finish clear at eve.
I verily believe
My fair impression may
Be all from that one day
No shadow crossed but ours
As through its blazing flowers
We went from house to wood
For change of solitude.

I’ve had conversations about happiness with my husband a lot recently, when we speak about what we want for our purpose and our family’s purpose.   My younger self would call me a bitter old lady now, but I don’t believe in happiness as an end goal.  I believe I can work for a life free of fear, a life of understanding and personal growth.  I can look for beauty in things, I can practice patience.  I can learn to be content, but I can’t learn to be happy.  Moments of happiness are byproducts of all those things.  You just get moments, some last longer than others, but it’s not a constant state.  They leave memories for you to recall during the inevitable times of sadness; those clear, warm days that still shine in our minds when the world storms around us.


Zero to Hero: Personalize a Prompt

Yesterday’s Daily Prompt was:

The Luckiest People: Who was the first person you encountered today? Write about him or her.

We have gotten ourselves into the habit where I pretty much sleep with my 15-month-old daughter every night.  I’m not trying to promote or disparage the benefits or detriments of co-sleeping; I’m just stating that this is where we are right now.  Even though my eldest slept with us for a while, until his brother was on the way, and then his brother would end up sleeping with us half the night, right until his sister was on the way; this feels different.  Maybe it’s because we don’t have an end in sight (no more sibling will be on the way!) but also because I’m sleeping with her in her room.  Her room was/is the guest room, with a comfy double bed, and it’s so easy to lay down next to her each night and drift off.

That is where I was early this morning when I hear noise and movement coming from my sons’ room.  Each morning it’s like this.  I try to wake up before they do, sometimes setting alarm so that I can get up and out of my daughter’s room before they come in.   They run on tiptoe into the room, holding at least one stuffed animal.  They climb into the bed I’m sharing with my daughter, and I whisper “go to my big bed,” or on the weekends, “go see Dad.”  In response they normally yell “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

Today it was my oldest.  I’m trying to decided whether to use his actual name or not in this blog.  I can see pros and cons for both.  Other parent bloggers, what do you guys do?  Right now, I’ll call him Moose.

It’s hard for me to write about my kids, not because I don’t know where to start, but I don’t know where to stop.  Moose is 5-years-old, turning 6 on Valentine’s Day.  He frequently treats us to fits of temper and whining, which I don’t think is atypical for kids his age.  Kindergarten started this year, and for the first 30 days he complained the whole walk down to school and was in tears by 7:00 each night.  He hates losing, frequently shouts “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” and I don’t think he accepts that I may actually know what’s best for him, at least when it comes to dietary concerns and sleep requirements.  He’s a lot like how I was as a kid, which is what my mother kept wishing for me.

He’s also a sensitive kid, easily sent into bursts of giggling or fits of anxiety.  One day a year or so ago, we cleaned his room, organized his books, dusted the furniture, while he played downstairs.  He started to throw a fit about not getting his way about something or other, and we sent him upstairs to calm down.  One minute in, the whining and yelling stopped, to be replaced with quiet sniffles.  His dad went up to see what was wrong, and Moose hugged him and said, “my room, it’s just so beautiful.”  (An anecdote which reminds me of Moose’s sensitivity, and that I don’t clean nearly enough.) He worries that he is dressed appropriately, that he’s doing things “the way the teacher telled him to.”  He hates being late.  He’s super supportive of his little brother, praising his pictures and writing. He’s fascinated by all the new things his baby sister is learning and doing.  He has told me, when I’ve been in an off mood, “Mom, don’t be sad, the world is wonderful.”  Actually, personality-wise he takes a lot after me.  This makes me happy for him, because hopefully he’ll always think that the world is wonderful; but also sad, because I’ve been down the anxiety road and know that sometimes you have to really remind yourself of that fact.

Zero to Hero: Day 12

Today we are tasked with coming up with a post inspired by a comment we made on another blog.

This morning, as I pulled up my reader and explored tags related to parenting, I came across this post by MommyBlogga: 10 Reason Why Being a Mother Makes Me Want to Kill My Dog.  Before I go any further, I do want to make clear that she does not actually condone petricide.

We have four pets: two dogs and two cats (we also have an aquarium, but the maintenance on that is pretty low).  Our cats, George and Maggie, we adopted.  George is and has been the most laid back, easy to care for cat ever.  Maggie has been neurotic since we took her home.  When we moved into our current house we didn’t see her for a year, and she still seems to forget who we are if we go away for a weekend.  Our dogs are Mortimer and Zelda.  Zelda is a wire-haired fox terrier.  Those who don’t know me ask if we named her after the Nintendo game, those who think they know me assume it’s after Zelda Fitzgerald, and those who really know me know that she’s named after the video game, but that I wanted people to think she was named for Fitzgerald.  Mortimer is an 85-lb black Goldendoodle.  I happened to have finished Terry Pratchett’s Mort, so…big black dog…death’s apprentice…Mortimer.  Luckily both dogs are breeds known for their lack of shedding.  

I can relate to most of the items on her list.  Mortimer’s tail is right on head level for my 3 and 1-year-olds, so there is frequent face smacking.  They bark at everything which makes nap time tenuous.  They do smell like dogs, and since this summer there have been several occasions where they’ve brought fleas in.  If we had our three children before taking on any pets, we’d probably have at least three fewer pets.  Still, I started thinking about the not so obvious upsides.

First, the barking; yes, it’s annoying.  I’ve started to hate squirrels and I curse the wind when it shifts, as both of these are just two of the many things that set my dogs into barking hysteria.  On the other hand, I am aware of anyone coming up to my door as soon as they step into our yard, and occasionally Mortimer’s booming voice turns solicitors around before the ring the doorbell.

Then there are the attempts to snatch food right out of my children’s hands.  All in all, this is a bad thing. If he’s not paying attention, Zelda will slyly eat the exposed part of the banana that my son is holding in his fist, which leads to legitimate outrage and a potential fit.  However, my kids have gotten savvy, and know that the best way to keep their snacks for themselves is to eat them at the table, which theoretically would make my house neater.  Likewise, I’m not happy that the dogs push my kids around, but, my kids are stronger and stay better aware of their surroundings for it.  I figure, with the food snatching and knockdowns, if there is ever a toddler Hunger Games, my guys have a leg up.  They know how to stand their ground and defend their food.

Related to a point made above; I am not going to win any awards for housekeeping.  Today was the first time I’ve mopped my floors since I don’t know when, and I don’t keep up on sweeping and vacuuming as much as I should.  I frequently insist my friends keep their shoes on upon entering my home. I’m ashamed that it would be worse if it were not for the dogs.  If you were to look at the floor under where  my 3-year-old sits at dinner, you would guess that he just opens his mouth, throws food at his face, and hopes it gets in.  The dogs take care of that mess expediently.

That’s just a few of the positives; along with the fact that they’re family, and I love how Mortimer allows the kids to use him as a step stool, and how Zelda has actually jumped into the shower with me when she was frightened by thunder, and how both George and Maggie seem to know when I’m a little down, and sit near me and console me with their hushed purrs.  Those are upsides too.

Day 8: The “About” Page

Today we were to tackle our “about” page, a task I’ve been putting off because, you know, it’s hard.  I’ve been doing everything I could to not start working on it, even choosing the dirty dishes in the sink over the keyboard on the desk.  How can I express the different sides of my personality without letting one dominate?  It definitely deserves some revisiting, but at least I have something up.  Let me know what you think:

Day 6 – A New-to-You Element

This one’s easy for me, because basically all of WordPress is new to me.  I really need to take a decent chunk of time, sans kid-induced distractions, and try to figure things out.  I’m not technologically challenged, but lately I’ve had trouble getting beyond the basics.  While I’ve been typing this, my daughter has repeatedly gotten on top of the kitchen table, and my son keeps asking my why I’m not using any of the numbers.

It was cold here today.  Below freezing.  Kindergarten was cancelled for my oldest and I didn’t want to spend the whole day in front of the TV.  I wanted to do something crafty or sciencey with my kids.  I’m not sure how many people saw this floating around:

Frozen soap bubbles!  So cool!  Only… not for us.  I’m not sure if it was too warm when I finally decided to go out with the kids.  I thought 15 degrees in the shade would still have been cold enough, but apparently I was wrong.  It took ten minutes to get all the kids in coats and hats, and we were outside for only three.  We ended up with cold, wet hands and not a little disappointment.  They did love viewing the images on the computer in the warmth of the kitchen though.

So, TV it became.  I tried to assuage my parental guilt by encouraging them to watch PBS Kids shows (because that’s so much better, right?).  It eventually turned into a Sonic The Hedgehog marathon.  I’m not sure how many other 5 and 3-year-olds in 2014 run around as Sonic and Manic, yelling “back in a sonic second” and calling every meal chili dogs, but that’s what my boys are into lately (thank you Netflix!).

On My Mind

E.B. White once wrote that the theme of his life is complexity through joy.  That resonated with me years ago, and even more so now.  I want to expound more on his words, but my own aren’t here right now.  I’ll just say that my life is fairly simple.   I spend a great deal of my time in my neighborhood and in my home.  By my own making, my calendar is fairly open and loose.  As Thoreau suggested, I “let my affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand.”  This works for me.

When I look at my life on a daily basis, I am for the most part satisfied.  Sure, there are some days that I waste.  Days I feel bad or lazy or in an apathetic mood.  However, most of my days are quite full.  Yes, full of dishes and laundry, but also full of children and friends and baking and whatever the new thing I’ve decided to get into lately is.  When I examine a year of my life, I don’t get the same sense of satisfaction.  Too often I look back and think more of what didn’t happen:  the trips I didn’t take, the projects I didn’t complete, the money I didn’t make.  The year seems filled with lots of empty time that I guarantee I didn’t feel I had when I was in the midst of it.

That’s one thing I’m hoping to get out of this blogging experience.  A reminder of how full my everydays are.