Oct 7, 2013

Children Were Here

We had a sleep over this weekend.  We invited a sweet friend of the family (5 years old) and my niece and nephew.  For those of you keeping track that's 6 kids, ages 3, 5, 6, 6, 10, and 11.  We did it because we love these kids, and our kids love these kids, and we all wanted some time to hang out.  So we had a party!

We had homemade pizza and soda and too much candy and glow sticks and movies, and it was fun!
My niece, getting ready to go outside and play glow-in-the-dark-tag.
It was also busy and chaotic and messy.  Between the sugar and the lack of sleep and the sheer effort involved, I woke up the next morning to discover the sniffles I'd been suffering from for a few days had turned into a full blown sneezy achey coughing-up-a-lung cold.

I think it was worth it.  You might want to ask my husband, though, since he's the one who has been picking up the slack since.

Now I'm looking around at all of this.

Can you find the toys in the tree?  They're pretty tough to spot.  The stick was an
effort to knock them down.
Chicken scratches all along one fence?  I hope the weather wears it down before we move out,
so the land lord doesn't notice.
Piles of sticks, with some yarn thrown in, naturally.
Rows of rocks.
Forgotten gear.
AMAZINGLY clean after a weekend like that.  The dishwasher might be full, but it's clean!  Kudos to
Chris for that.
Pictures kids drew for me, pillows on the floor, dumb couch cover that only looks nice if no one ever
sits on the couch, but always looks better than the couch without a cover on.  Not to mention
Mister's socks and some one's tissues, (NOT MINE).  Also that chair on the right is totally
full of popcorn.
Tissues, candy wrappers (candy isn't super good for you when you're sick?), dishes.  Pants that need
to be altered for Slim, a board from our mock 'headboard' leaning up against the wall because it fell
3 months ago and we haven't fixed it yet.
Clean laundry in the hamper and on the bed, so of course our dirty laundry is currently in a pile
on the floor.
Dog peed on the floor because I spent all day in bed.  Maybe he was being kind and not
bugging me to come let him out, or maybe he's a jerk.
When the house gets like this I start to get frustrated.  I don't know if it's just easier to feel overwhelmed when you're sick, or if it's that when you sit down to rest you have time to notice all of the things you need to take care of that you've been ignoring.  Either way, I'm looking around at all the little things that need to get done, and they're bothering me.  I'm thinking about the next couple months: the holidays, the school parties, the birthdays (4 out 5 of us have birthdays in November-December, not to mention 5 extended family members), and I'm wondering what things I'm going to have to let go of.  A winter garden?  Handmade Christmas gifts?  Sleep or health?  I can't sacrifice the last two- I did that during last year's holiday season, and when January rolled around and it was all over, I felt like I'd missed it.  I'd been too busy to enjoy it.

To settle my nerves, I'm looking around at the messes and trying to change my perspective.  They are not items on my to-do list- they are evidence that children were here.  Our home is full and busy and well loved.  (Do you think our landlord will look at it that way when we eventually move out?)

I think this month of posts focused on enjoying my children is a perfect segue into the holiday season, because I want to carry this philosophy through November and December.  I want to remember to put time spent together first.  Everything doesn't have to be perfect to be worthwhile.  And 20 years from now, I'm going to look back on this time fondly, and wish I had appreciated it more.  I know this to be true. 

I'm going to focus on the things that bring us together, and try not to worry so much about the details that drive me crazy.  I'm going to take pictures of the challenges and the messes, and maybe even be grateful for them.  And I'm going to try to remember to throw myself in front of the camera, too- for my own memories as well as for my children.  This is me today.

The house is a mess, my jeans don't fit right (because I suck at shopping), I'm wearing one of Chris's shirts (because I don't feel well and thought of wearing a shirt that fits better than a cloth sack just sounds abhorrent to me right now), and my hair is still wet even though I took this picture at 3 o'clock in the afternoon (because I just took a shower about 20 minutes ago).    And it's ok.  Shocker- my kids don't care!  My family still loves me!

So I'm thankful.  I'm not stressed out (for now).  And I'm really hoping that if I'm this mellow, my kids will follow suit, and we'll have a quiet and peaceful evening.

**This is Day 7 of 31 Days of Enjoying My Kid.

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