Sep 28, 2012

A Few Small Things

There has been a lot going on around here lately, which is what I'm using as my excuse about the lack of pictures and postings (including Project 365) in this space and life. It's okay, really, most of the time I don't feel too guilty that my photography has been sitting on the back burner, except that sometimes I do.

But it is okay, because life is like that. Sometimes one thing has to take a back seat while other things are pushed to the front, and then maybe the next month things are turned around. Something I know for sure though, I always want my family to be in front.

Which for some reason has been a struggle lately, not that my priorities are mixed up, but just that I find myself not appreciating what I have as much as I want to. It has been a nagging in the back of my mind for quite some time now, and within the past month or so has been knocking loudly in the front of my mind. Which is why I am actively working to change it.


In the mean time, a few small things I am enjoying:

Good friends and fruit snacks. They always go well together.

A newly organized art box.

Fall apple picking and eating apples fresh off the trees.

Big hair.

Four-year-olds with mustaches.

And special doughnut dates.


While I sit here and type this I hear Hope sneaking into the kitchen for snack. She's become a sneaky snack eater lately, something I find amusing and bit unsettling too. It's pretty much my fault because I ask for some alone time while Paige is napping, so Hope is left to fend for herself. And by "fend" I don't mean eat, we did just eat lunch within the hour, but somehow she doesn't seem able to watch her TV show or play with her Pet Shops without also needing something to munch on. A habit I am desperately seeking to break.

But, it is also funny that she thinks I don't hear her, Good thing we have fresh apples as an option.

I love fall.


Sep 22, 2012

Dreams, Birthdays, and Going Home

photo credit

I have been dreaming about Vienna lately. Scenes of Roman arches, Neo-Renaissance buildings with a layer of grime, and old-fashioned tram cars circling the city center permeate my nights. My mind plays inaccurate memories of packing up my grandmother's belongings and visits that my two girls have never had. Even in my dreams I think, I have to Google "cheap trips to Vienna" the next time I'm on the computer. But only reality reminds me that there is no such thing.

I wake with a heavy heart and a bittersweetness, knowing that I am so lucky to have the gift of calling this other city Home, but also knowing that my girls never will. I want my girls to feel Austrian. To find comfort in the sound of strangers speaking German, instead of giggling because it sounds funny to their ears. I want Vienna to be a part of their identities, instead of a strange city far away from their realities.

Except I know that their experiences of being Austrian will be vastly different than my own, simply because we have no reason to go back every other year. Simply because they are one more generation removed from my father, the most recent immigrant.

And then I wonder, if my heart aches for Vienna in this way, how must my father feel? He who was born and raised there, who lived in the same apartment until he married my mother, who sometimes knows the German word before the English.

Vienna, to me, is sometimes a phantom limb I miss, or a happy dream from my childhood. But I wonder if my father feels the loss as so much more. I wonder if it ever feels like he is ever home, or if his heart is permanently on the streets of Vienna.

Yesterday was my father's birthday. I wish that I could afford to send our family over to be in the city together. I wish I could give him a gift that encompasses the love I have for him as my father. And as the carrier of my Austrian heritage. The only thing I could do was find a specialty delicatessen and get him a few things that hopefully reminded him of home.

And I guess, the best thing I can think of is to try to pass along my love of Vienna, my pride in being half Austrian, to my daughters. To continue traditions with my husband and daughters that made me feel special and unique. That made me feel like going back to Austria is going home.


Sep 19, 2012

Welcome to My Mind

It is now bedtime and I am so tired. Which is really funny, hahaha. I laugh because I took a two hour nap this afternoon and do not understand how I can still be tired again by bedtime. Whether or not I will be able to sleep though is another story.

I want to have a third baby. But I don't know how, with what little energy I have now, I would manage with a newborn and so little sleep. Of course, then I think, if I'm waiting for "the perfect time" it is never going to come. And if I'm waiting for a time when I'm not tired I will be waiting forever.

But now is not the time. And I know that. Even if I don't always want it to be the truth.

Of course, even though I nap pretty much every day, I maybe should give myself a little more credit. Yesterday when my husband was feeling overwhelmed I actually asked him what I could do to help. And when he asked if I'd mow the lawn I did.

But then I think how I only mowed the front. And how our house (minus the bathroom) hasn't been cleaned in at least a month. And how every time I do laundry, piles and baskets of clothes sit for days, sometimes weeks. (At one point last spring/summer I was on a schedule with my laundry and cleaning and it was great and now I can't understand why I can't get myself back on it again.)

That's the dance I do. Feel good, be nice to myself. Quickly followed by feel bad, be mean to myself. If the guilt is not there about keeping up around the house, it is certainly there about being a good mama to my girls. And every once-in-awhile, every GREAT once-in-awhile, there is a respite of guilt and I manage to Just Be and feel good about who I am and what I'm doing.

Why is that? Why is it so hard to feel like it's okay to NOT be Supermom or Superwoman? Why do I feel like I have to be doing all things perfectly and right? And certainly why do I feel like that when I have some close and real friends who assure me that not being Superwoman is actually okay?

It is exhausting this parenting gig. But sometimes this life gig is exhausting. The ups and downs and side-to-sides, I feel all jumbled up sometimes. Not always in a bad way, sometimes in a very good way. But man, jumbled up and rattled and exhausted all the same.

I don't understand what it is about me that makes me feel like everything is so hard. Why there are some people who view the world with their happy-glasses and life can mostly be rainbows and unicorns for them. How I wish it was as simple as flipping a switch so that I could find silliness and joy and delight in most things. Instead I can be too serious, and I'm almost dragging my feet wearing heavy boots through the mud. Because sometimes

It's not always, you know. Hard, that is. It really isn't, but then I overthink things (you would've never guessed -- right?), and I get stuck in my head, and unfortunately my head is not full of little happy gnomes and bunnies, sometimes (okay, maybe usually?) there are cobwebs and dark spots and maybe witches stirring bubbling caldrons.

But then that makes me smile. 'Cause even if I don't have cute little garden gnomes, I have sneaky little witches brewing up who knows what inside my head. That makes life fun, right? Or it could if I didn't overthink almost everything that goes through this brain of mine.

Maybe it is as easy as flipping a switch, I just don't know how to do it, you know? Maybe it's like when you walk into a dark room and put your hand on the wall for the light switch, only your hand is in the wrong spot so you're rubbing it all over the wall trying to find the switch, but you can't find it because the room is dark.

Or maybe it's okay that this is how I am. Maybe it's okay to be an overthinker.

I have no answers. Only questions. Lots and lots of questions. And that's okay. Somehow, that is totally and completely okay.


I wrote this on Monday night, and posted it for Pour Your Heart Out.

Sep 18, 2012

An Uninvited Guest

We have a mouse in our house. Except I feel like I should probably say "mice" instead because, when is it ever just one mouse? I know it's here because aside from the trail of turds that the little bugger left us, I saw it last night.

(Excuse me while I go throw up.)

This is not the first time we've had mice. It's kind of that time of year. But it's hard not to feel like they're attracted to us because we're living in filth. Of course, logically I know that when the weather gets colder they look for somewhere warm and cozy to build a nest, and if there's a tiny hole they can squeeze through they'll come right in.

(Um, vomit.)

This is my warm and cozy house, though. For us. And I'm not too thrilled to share it with a critter. I can barely get used to the multitude of spiders and the occasional centipede. But despite our best efforts: steel wool stuffed into cracks around the house and the usual suspects of traps, it's still here.

(Cough. Cough. Gag.)

I am disgusted and horrified. And a little bit well, apathetic. Which pretty much horrifies me all over. But when I saw it, I didn't scream and freak out, I just kind of thought, Of course there's still a mouse in here. Why on earth would it be gone?

(And then I might've ralphed.)

On the plus side, this morning my husband woke me up to inform me that there was a mouse in a trap this morning. So we're just going to go ahead and pretend that this was the one I saw, the last one, the only one. And my husband's hard work of filling every hole around the outside of the house is gonna keep all the rest out.

'Cause if not? I'm totally moving.  Into a house full of cats.


Sep 16, 2012

More Project 365

Over the weekend I pulled out a mix CD from almost eight years ago. Oh the memories. And OH the music. The girls and I were jamming away. To be honest, I haven't gotten to listen to much music lately. Mostly because we listen to kid's music, but also, there was an incident with the radio/CD player in the car, so we've had a lot of musicless drives. (This is a story for another time.)

So, after rediscovering some of my favorites? I totally recommend pulling out an old CD and being reintroduced to some of your old favorites.

And, by the way, here are our last two weeks in photos.

Week 36

Week 37

Here's looking forward to another week.


Sep 13, 2012

Parents, Zucchini, and Quiet Conversation

Last night I took a zucchini over to my mom. We pretty much had a weed garden this year, except for the zucchini. Holy moly, those things are on steroids. So when my mom asked if we had any extra I was happy to oblige. I mean, there's only so much you can do with three ginormous zucchinis. (Luckily my mom has experience in the "huge zucchini" department as that was part of her green thumb too. She is an expert zucchini bread maker.)

But anyway, I brought one of those bad boys over to my parents' house, only planning on saying hello, and ended up staying for almost two hours. Can I just say that it was an absolute lovely chat with them? The quiet was just, well, amazing. I can not remember the last time we've been able to sit together and have an extended conversation because usually there are two little children constantly vying for attention. And we all love those darling children dearly, but my goodness I didn't realize just how hard it is to have a conversation with them around until they weren't there.

We caught each other up on friends and talked politics (I can say the conversation was pleasant because we are in the same political camp). They told me stories from their trip to Australia (those jet-setters!). And we talked about kids and parenthood, and they even reminded me that I was a painfully shy child, so Hope does come by it quite naturally. (Poor kid.)

I know it's happened before, but my few hours with them felt like a conversation among friends. Which you can imagine felt very special to me. I don't always get a chance to connect with them because I am preoccupied by hungry mouths, poopy diapers, or the chaos that is two young children.

I left my parents' house with a smile on my face. And, as corny as it sounds, a smile in my heart. I love my parents and feel so very happy to have the memory of our quiet conversation together.

Thank goodness for oversized zucchinis.


Sep 7, 2012

Finding Happiness and Love

I am reading about finding my inner peace and being in the moment, but it feels like the more time that goes by, the less in the moment I actually am. I feel loopy, like I’ve taken cold medicine that is making me fuzzy.

And I don’t want to be fuzzy. I want to be here. I want to experience my moments and my life and be joyful and happy, because I know I am happy, it is in me. I just have all these thoughts and beliefs and concepts that are clouding my being, my spirit, they are keeping me from feeling my happy.

This is what I really want. More than anything else. More than a new car or a new house. Or enough money to go out to eat more often. Even more than being able to travel.

I want to find my happiness because I know nothing is going to bring me happiness, it is already within me.  And I want to be love.

I want to be one big being of HappyLove. Doesn't that sound fabulous?

Unfortunately, I am struggling to figure out how to do that, how to get there. But you know, I'm working on it. So, just in case you wanted to know, there you have it. My spirituality is always a work in progress. And HappyLove is what I'm working on right now.


Sep 4, 2012

Cheerios Under the Table

I'm having A Day.  Only, I'm not really have A Day because this morning was great, it's more like An Afternoon that I'm afraid will lead into An Evening.  Because once you're having one of Those Days, or Afternoons, or Moments it's hard for them to just stop and become anything else.

We ended up with a half a bowl of soggy Cheerios and milk on our floor.  And I'm annoyed.  I am so annoyed.  I'm annoyed that we have carpet in our dining room because, who puts carpet under a table that gets eaten at?  Even though I know people put carpet in formal dining rooms all the time, it's just that ours isn't formal, it's the only eating area in the entire house, unless you count on the couch in front of the TV.  So, why!?  Why?  Why did anyone think carpet under the table is a good idea?  And why didn't my husband and I change that when we first moved in?

So I'm annoyed we have carpet under the table.  I'm annoyed that my four-year-old decided to eat her bowl of cereal under the table causing her younger sister to follow suit, thus spilling said bowl.  I'm annoyed that they wanted cereal for a snack in the first place. But mostly I'm annoyed with myself.  My annoyance and disgust were not masked when shouting at them to get out from under the table and then huffing and puffing while scooping and blotting the mess.  (And will there now be a stink of milk under our table?)

I'm annoyed with myself for not remaining more calm.  For not reassuring my two-year-old that it's okay.  It's not a big deal.  Because it is okay, and it's not a big deal.

And I wonder why I can't.  Why can't I relax?  Why can't I stay calm?  Why is that as I am trying harder and harder to look inside myself and find my inner peace and happiness, I seem to so much more easily lose my cool?  Or am I really losing it more or is it just than I'm noticing it more?

And now they're in the tub because, well, they need a bath today, and also because when I'm spiraling down into a cycle of annoyance and yelling I find that changing what we're doing usually helps.  Except when it doesn't.  So, I am just praying that it is working.  And the rest of the night will be good.  Because, yes, it is so good.


Sep 1, 2012

Ahhh... the Weekend

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

My favorite kind of weekend, the kind with one extra day with Adam home.  I love having our family all together, for more than a handful of hours a day.  Life feels warmer, cozier, more complete.  Even if we are not always basking in each other's glorious company.  We feel the collective sigh of relief with a long weekend, especially one that is not filled with To Dos.  Or maybe a few To Dos, but the good kind: eat ice cream, make each other giggle, and read extra stories.

Week 34

Week 35

And this next week is the last of our summer vacation with Hope's preschool and Paige's ECFE class both starting the following week.  I don't know about you, but I'm kind of looking forward to fall.  When I'm not sad about the end of summer.

Enjoy your weekend!