Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas is just not my thing

I don't enjoy Xmas. I really don't. It saddens me because it was such an important time of year for me years ago. During my single days, pre-children, when there were only 3 people in the world I had to think about for gifts. And nothing else to do but decorate a tiny apartment and only one place to go on Xmas day.

But honestly, I am not at all interested in going back to those times because even though the holidays were lovely and stress-free...I really wasn't happy in general with my life. I suppose that's why Xmas was such a special time for me back then. Because I had an external reason to be happy for one month a year that just filled me up completely during that month. The rest of the year it was much more of a struggle to feel that kind of happiness.

So Xmas is a small price to pay for the joy I feel the rest of the year for the blessings of my much fuller life now. I just have to remind myself of this. Regularly.

So right now, while I'm thinking about this, I'm writing this down so that I can reread it regularly this month and remind myself that Xmas doesn't have to be dreaded. My children adore it...what child doesn't? And I need to work at making it special for THEM. I don't have to go nuts and fill every day with special things...but just spending special focused time would be enough for them. Even though I homeschool...I find it hard to focus on one-on-one special time with my kiddos. Because there's SO much to worry about at any given moment of every single day. So many things I need to be teaching them or exposing them to. So much work to be done on the house, so many struggles to get them to help out. Its friggin exhausting!!

But lately I've been really thinking that this is ridiculous. I spend every day...most days every minute of every day, WITH my kids...I need to figure out a better way to BE with them!! It's ok for them to have their own things to do...and they should...but I need to find better ways to bring us together for special 1-on-1 and 1-to-2 (both kids) time. I know they'd appreciate it. So THAT is what I need to be working on with them. NOT working on whatever to-do list I have for the day. I need to do that as well, but I need to also devote time to put it aside and just do something special to show them how much they mean to me, and build those special childhood memories that I so very much want for them.

And this time of the year is the perfect time to try something like this out! So, now I'm going to go get my day started and see what I can do to schedule time into our days to doing special things to just BE with each other...not just getting stuff "done".

So today I'm going to start with getting all the Xmas stuff out and start working on Xmas-i-fying the house. I know they will like that, and I need to work on not being such a grinch. I'll put on the Xmas music and put up the colorful lights, and that will help. And I'll not worry about allllll the stuff I have to do, because the most important thing I need to be doing is just spending special time with my children. Turn off the tv, turn off the computer, and just BE. And maybe we'll even get some cookie dough and make something sweet. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Silly girls

Overheard in my kitchen, conversation between my 12.5yr old and her dear friend Brooke....

Brooke: How'd you remember that?
Maeven: Uh, my brain.
Brooke: Oh cool! How'd you do that? I want one of those!
Maeven: I know! They're cool!!
*preteen giggles all around, plus some Mommy giggles, truth be told*
Maeven: They're half off at Walmart!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Why do you keep calling me that?

Just heard in the Smith home:

12.5yr old Maeven: Dad?

42.5yr old Adam (aka "Dad"):  Why do you keep calling me that?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The silence is golden

Just tickled pink right now! I turned the tv on a little while ago, thinking that the kids hardly ever get to see some of the morning shows on PBS because we just haven't been turning the tv on lately except in the afternoon when their favorite shows are on. Frankly, *I'VE* missed Curious George! Lol! So I just looked and after less than one show, Tyren moved into the big room (away from the tv) to read his current book. LOVE it! And since Maeven's no longer in there watching, I just turned the darn thing off.

Most of the time I'm the only one that turns the tv on and I just haven't been doing it much lately. We kicked the network tv habit years ago when we used to have it on ALL.THE.TIME when the kids were little and apparently we've kicked the PBS habit now and only watch deliberately for specific shows.

I'm not anti-tv. I'm just anti-keeping-the-darn-thing-on-all-the-time.

I had a serious tv problem when I was single. I literally couldn't go to sleep without the tv. Well maybe not literally...but it was a bad habit I started and never tried to stop. I was ok with it. And back then, living alone, it was fine.

But I got a job in the woods (SCICON Outdoor School) for a year at a place where we lived and worked where there wasn't ANY tv reception. NONE. Anything we wanted to watch had to be on VHS. And I got used to not watching tv EVER. And when I went home to my parents house for weekend visits, I always felt weird watching tv. Awkward. It wasn't really enjoyable anymore, it was insidious. And just dumb. The advertisements were so creepy how manipulative they were...how they were shaping our tastes and our desires and I don't like being manipulated! I never noticed how bad it was until that year when I didn't see ANY, except on rare occasions. Then they irritated the crap outta me and I thought "How the HELL did I watch this crap all the time before??"

Then I moved back to civilization and fell back into the habit. Because that's exactly what it is...a habit. And for some people that are fine with the habit, that's fine...but I wasn't. Especially after I had a taste of what it was like without that habit. And what a world it opened up for me. I read more books than I'd read in years! I wrote so much in my journal, and I socialized a LOT with friends and family. Had I lived that life longer, I probably would've started pursuing hobbies. But I didn't, and I got sucked right back into the lifestyle once I had access to tv 24/7 again.

But I never forgot how truly wonderful it felt without it. And I never forgot how much more REAL my activities were without tv.  And then I had kids. And I had a reason to kick the habit again, but not the willpower.

I've learned that for me personally, willpower really doesn't work. I can't will myself to do what I want or feel I need to do. Something has to click somewhere and then it just naturally seems to fall into place. And I just wasn't getting there with my tv "problem"...because to me, that's what it was...I really didn't WANT to feel so compelled to have the darn thing on all the time. Something else was in control of me...I literally couldn't NOT turn the darn thing on! It was sorta like an addiction. Though not exactly because I never had any sort of withdrawals when I went off of tv for that year...but I truly felt COMPELLED to watch when I was around it. I didn't like that. I don't like something else having control over me. That's just a yucky feeling, seriously.

It took me years to kick the habit again...and it wasn't a deliberate process. I had a second child and I was still watching Oprah and Dr Phil...and for a time I watched soap operas! UGH! Who WAS I?? But when I started realizing my children were old enough to be taking in the content...when I started to realize that I could no longer get away with watching Two and a Half Men and never have any questions about the jokes they made...when I realized that my children were going to eventually ask me what a 3-way was or what sex was....I realized I had to start being more careful about what I watched...and I stopped watching inappropriate sitcoms and crime shows when they were awake.

Then I'm really not aware of how it happened but tv just started petering out of our lives. It wasn't some big thing, it just fizzled out.  It just became unimportant. The control wasn't there anymore. No idea how I reached that point, but it just happened. I guess there were just too many other things in my life pulling at me for me to even deal with having time to sit and veg like I used to.

Then I was limiting my children to only watch PBS or something I rented or streamed online that I hand picked. For awhile we did have PBS on all the time too...but at least it was quality programming, I told myself...but eventually that started to bother me too. Why do we need it on all the time? Why do they need constant noise? What's wrong with silence?

So I started just not putting it on. And they almost never asked for it! I would get really angry with Adam if he dared to put the damn thing on...and luckily he never was a huge tv guy to begin with, so he stopped putting it on or even sitting by it. And the kids found other things to do. (Like playing on the computer...don't get me started there...but that's a whole 'nother thing and I do have a good handle on it, for the most part, with the Times Up Kidz timer and rules about having to earn time.)

They really do find other things to do. And tv isn't a big part of their lives. But it's not NOT a part of their lives either. I'm ok with tv being in their lives in moderation...all things in moderation. But obsessions really bother me. Unhealthy habits bother me. Especially when they start to rule our lives. And having to have the tv on all the time (MY obsession) was really making me feel bad about my life and what I was providing for my kids.

Others are fine with it...and that's fine, of course. I wasn't. I didn't like how it made me feel like my brain was melting and oozing out my ears. (I used to say that a lot, LOL!)

Something just occurred to me....I know that I don't like obsessing on tv shows...I am ok with a handful, but I just feel like there is SO much more to life than the make believe on tv. I need to live MY life, not vicariously through all the fictional characters and plots out there. And there's not enough time in life to begin with!

This is what I've just figured out:  What am I saying about MY life, if I have to always escape? What's wrong with my life if its entirely built around escaping my life??  A little escape now and then, sure, no problem. We all need that. But constantly?? Too much. Just too too much for me.

So I was very happy to see Tyren choose a book over tv today...and I'm happy that he's very excited to go play with friends today and so am I. The tv was on for a total of about 30min today, and it's sitting silently again. And I can hear the wind chimes outside my door, and I can hear my son digging in lego in the other room, and I can hear the silence that is making me do this thinking. Sometimes I like to put music on, and that's a wonderful thing too...but sometimes you just need to have silence. And be ok in the silence. I don't want my kids constantly having to fill in the silence with artificial things. I want them to be ok with silence and sit with it and be with it ...to be ok with just being with themselves and their thoughts. I'm not sure exactly how that works...but it feels good, and I follow what feels good. :)

Prepare to see defeat!

Tyren and Maeven are roughhousing and I'm cracking up because Tyren is saying:
"Prepare to see de feet...see? Prepare to see de heel...see?" And on and on, lol!!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Still with the sense of humor

Background: I just had a nasty stomach bug yesterday, and my kids seem to be following suit...

Maeven just now up-chucked in the sink after eating chicken noodle soup, and after cleaning out the sink, Adam asked Maeven: "I saved most of the noodles, Maeven, do you want them?"

Yep, that's my hubby, always the comedian.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sick thoughts

Laying in bed, sick with a cold, listening to Pandora on my phone. I plugged in Kenny Loggins, one of my favorites, and it started with his heart wrenching, but oh-so-lovely "Forever"...not a song that reminds me of anything in particular but feels like it must to many. It's such a strong song. Started me thinking about how songs often hold memories and emotions....like how anytime I hear music from the 80s I'm transported back to high school. Or anything from Kenny Loggins "Live from the Redwoods" makes me remember that time of serenity when I lived by myself that last year in Sacto and I'd crank Kenny up and sit on my balcony in the sun with my cat and write in my journal and feel true peace and happiness. When I was actually quite happy with my life, except for the absence of that one special someone for me...

Eventually Pandora hit one that has deep meaning to me: Chicago's "Hard for me to Say I'm Sorry" and BAM I'm my 16yr old self, weeping. (in memory, not actually...thankfully these memories no longer hold that power over me.) Mourning the loss of the first boy that ever actually meant anything REAL to me. (Come on, we all have them! You know you did too!) He had moved far away just shortly after we started actually dating (had been friends for awhile)...and he had sent me a mix tape....remember those? And the power they had? Oh goodness, this one was full of similar songs that reduced me to a puddle. I don't remember all the songs from that tape anymore, but that Chicago song to this day transports me instantly to that girl curled up in a ball crying her eyes out. Not a fun time in my life.

There's lots of music that transports me...some of the songs I put together for my mom's mix tape I gave her to listen to in the hospital after her mastectomy, a terrifying time. The soundtrack to the Kevin Costner "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" makes me remember that first summer with Adam and all the excitement of a new relationship and for the first time EVER, one where a guy actually doted on me and made me feel truly special...

....ACDC albums "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and "Who Made Who", take me back to cruising in the GTO (aka "The Goat" with "The Guys" in high school...oh so much fun just being a teenage girl in a gang of guy friends ...."Funky Town" makes me think of dancing at the Junior Prom....Nirvana's first album takes me back to partying in college with this one particular boyfriend that, for that first year made me so happy and made me feel so much like I belonged...and the emotions that went with that relationship as it later crumbled....that Amanda Marshal cd I discovered during my time at SCICON and how I would crank it in my room and feel that old sense of peace I used to feel in Sacto....but then the deep sense of gut-wrenching hurt and aloneness that later came from my time there...

That one particular Loreena McKennitt cd that makes me relive the simpler times in the beginning of my relationship with Adam....Scorpions and U2 remind me of the same boy who made me cry with his mix tape....Bon Jovi "Slippery When Wet" of Catholic school dances (SO FUN! For some reason the Catholic schools had all the awesome dances and my Catholic friends always knew where the good ones were, and we'd travel to them) in high school....and "Easy Lover" takes me back to learning the hand motions in marching band in high school (its on right now).....and Bruce Springsteen actually brings me back to the boyfriend in college in Sacto, CA and NOT my high school (which was Bruce's), because he was the one that actually got me into Bruce's music....

And that song from the movie "Anastasia" that was our first dance at Adam's and my wedding is still so wrapped up in all the hopes and dreams of starting a new life together....which I'm still living!!!

Boy music really does transport you, doesn't? What music takes you back??


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, January 03, 2013

My son, the Chippendale

My 7 yr old son just took his shirt off and looked at me with a huge grin...
Tyr: "Mom, look!"
Me: "What?"
Tyr: "I'm a Chippendale!!"
Me: ROFLMAO!!!
Why does a 7yr old even know about Chippendales, you ask? Amazing Race Season 21. James and Jaymes, the Chippendales team. Chippendale dancers who brought their cuffs and collars on the race with them and did strut their bare-chested (but no dancing) stuff a few times during the 12 leg race. Who started off being one of my least favorite teams to start, ended up being one of my 2 favorite teams because they were just so dang sweet and caring and what's not to love about running a race to win a million dollars for you parents??
1 of them had a dad dying of cancer and he wanted to help him not have to stress about money or even work anymore...and the other had a mom with no car that walked to work and he didn't think that was right and wanted to help her. How stinkin sweet is that?
So, yeah, I thought it was hysterical and sweet that my 7yr old was pretending to be a Chippendale, like James and Jaymes. :) All he knows Chippendales do is dance with no shirt, so funny!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Hic-downs

Tyren: "Why is it called a hiccup? Why isn't it called a hic-down?"....pause...."A hic-down would be from your butt!"