Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebrating a Birthday

I think Betty Crocker would be proud. My daughter's sixth birthday party. Finally, a birthday held in my very own backyard.

A balloon wreath: 

Her Happy Birthday banner:

Her cupcakes, complete with melting icing. Not one of my proudest baking moments:

The backyard setup. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

The theme was "rainbow," which made it really easy to decorate. Mutli-colored plates and silverware. Different colored streamers (several found at a resale shop!) plus rainbow balloons.

Kids had a scavenger hunt, did "sand art" drawings on sandpaper and decorated t-shirts. Okay, most of the girls decorated shirts. The boys just reinacted Lord of the Flies with swords and anything else they could use as a weapon.

Overall, a great party. Low-key...and didn't involve Chuck E Cheese or a bouncy castle.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Rhythm is Gonna Get You!

I've got rhythm, I've got music. I got my man-- who can ask for anything more?

When it comes to dancing, I have rhythm. Not enough to be a chorus girl, mind you, but enough that I feel confident when dancing. And let's just say it, the type of nerdy dance moves I rock require a certain amount of confidence to pull them off.

Now, when it comes to my days, I do not have a daily rhythm. I hear it is important-- no, it is necessary-- if you homeschool to have some sort of rhythm. I just well...I don't know.

I want to. I TRY to. It is just that I feel our days aren't steady enough to have rhythm. I struggled with this so much this past Spring-- I spent every. single. day. schlepping my children from here to there. We ate in the car. We did this. We did that.

We definitely did not do any housework, that's for sure.

By May, I was completely burned out. I had pretty much stopped returning all emails. I was getting my days confused and missing things I had registered/signed up to do.

And I was Grumpy with a capital G.

I hated it. I hated it all. We went out of town for three weeks and I promised myself things would get better when I got back. And then...we settled into going to Vacation Bible Schools. And then we have swim team twice a week. And the kids are starting an activity group twice a week near our house. Let's not forget golf for the little man!

And, of course, where am I in the midst of this? Dragging people around, willing myself NOT to have a breakdown. Part of this homeschool thing is I feel I MUST give the children every experience they can have. Not all of them cost money--- these could be saying "yes" to every field trip or library program or youth musical I see-- but they all cost time.

And most of the time, I'm feeling a bit nuts.

I have to find a way to not let myself continue to get sucked into Doing Things. We have spent the morning gloriously doing nothing-- we've put together three puzzles (the universe, the world and a Cars puzzle) plus played "The Ladybug Game."

Now the kids want to swim. And I'm cool with that.

And honestly, I feel I can say that the kids and I are probably a bit happier when I'm not rushing them around like a regimented drill Sargent, complete with soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I've just got to convince myself that its for the best.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Betty at 30

Somehow, I've managed to turn thirty years old. As a teenager, I could never have imagined myself as a 30-year-old Mom. But, alas, here I am.

In fact, I had made my Big Plan of How Things Are Meant to Be when I was about 20 or so...and it involved me having my first child at 29. Ha! Here, at 30, I am gearing up to celebrate my first child's sixth birthday. So, I am a bit ahead.

I actually like being 30-years-old. I joked when I turned 28 that I was finally at a respectable age to parent; when you're 25 and lugging around a baby (while pregnant), people typically think you are The Nanny.

I doubt, now, anyone confuses me with your average Nanny. Now I'm just your run-of-the-mill Mom of Two who spends too much time dragging her children around by car. But, with age comes Aging. While I haven't felt most of the effects just yet, I do realize that I need to be proactive in trying to stay healthy, fit and whatever else it is a person needs as she nears mid-life.

I like how I look at thirty. Sure, my face is changing slightly, losing a bit of the fatness in the cheeks (it appears, however, that the fat under the chin is here to stay), but I'm okay with it.

But it doesn't mean I can just sit on the couch and become a big bump on a log. Because, let's face it, bumping on the log is exactly what will happen if I don't start to get my rump in gear!

It's just finding which gear gets me going is the hard part. I know lots of people enjoy exercise videos...but I just can't make myself do them.

I feel like I have so little time to myself these days, I don't want to fill the few minutes I get with Jillian Michaels yelling at me to "not phone it in to the gym" while I do push ups.

(Cue me saying in a high pitched voice, "Jeeem? Jeeem? Whaaaat aRRe you doin?")

I want to do exercise that I enjoy. Something that brings meaning to my life, as well as making a few pounds leave my middle. I had restarted running (in a group) before we left Texas for Arizona. I was doing quite well (though I was dealing with my spent calories by eating my weight in cupcakes). And then, we got here and the aridness of the desert just killed me. It was hot! And dry! With no humidity!

I hated it. And I quit.

I need to find something that suits me. Something I look forward to doing; not something I absolutely dread but do because I feel obligated.

I've tried a bit of Hula-Hooping and really enjoy it, but I am an extremely novice hooper and keeping the hoop up for 30 seconds is a major achievement. I've been eyeing tap dancing for quite some time...but again, the time commitment (we're looking at about 30 minutes drive to and from) has me second guessing.

For the time being, I'm walking around the neighborhood. I go at night, after dinner, when the sun is still shining but is fading slowly behind that desert skyline. I walk for thirty minutes, which is not too hard when your neighborhood looks like this:

(We're surrounded by resorts! People paying tons of money! To look at the same thing I see every day!)

My pedometer seemed to think I could walk a ten minute mile (I'm not so sure), but estimated I took about 3,000 steps on my little walk. Not too shabby.

While I'm still unsure of what I want to do as exercise, I think getting out and hoofing it for 30 minutes a day can't hurt, right? I guess time will tell if walking for exercise can stop my schoolmarm arms from growing any worse.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July Resolutions

I love holidays just for the reason I can compare life from year to year. I do it with my children at their birthdays, my husband and I on our anniversary...and life in general at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.

Not Easter. Don't ask me why-- perhaps it is in the Spring, as I do have an aversion to pollen and warming temperatures in general-- but I don't really "do" Easter.

Today, on the Fourth of July, after who knows how many years, I finally decided to not celebrate. I don't know why. I really don't like hot dogs, hamburgers or cookouts. I can do without potato salad, thankyouverymuch.

So, this year, as I conciously didn't celebrate the Fourth (with the exception of the required fireworks), I thought about what I want. Or, exactly, how I don't know what I want anymore.

Over the past several years, I've lived a very goal-driven life. And while I can't say I reached all my goals, I did reach many, and it felt good. Then, I got to a point where those just weren't my goals anymore. Things no longer interested me. I wanted something else.

While I've spent almost two complete blog-free years, plus a year without conciously trying to abtain freelance work, I'm still not sure what that "something else" is. When you reach your goal and write for The New York Times, plus several other magazines, where do you go?

I went on an adventure of life. An adventure that required moving across the country to a climate and locale quite different than the one I was used to. I left everything (and everyone) behind and started over.

Life has treated me well over the past year. I've done okay.

But...yet...I feel as if I'm at this point...a point where I'm trying to figure things out.

So, until I can, I can continue to work on those things that made me start up Betty Crocker in the first place: the house, the kids, the days, the food, the exercise...all these things that make up the day to day experience... yet leave me feeling completely lost on a daily basis.

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