Days of Our Lives

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
Annie Dilliard

My days might look like this:

But my life...looks like this:

 And that's a darn good life.

Poopy diapers, dirty toliets, and endless meals are tiny in comparison...
to the joy of raising my children.


I can't imagine a better way to spend them.
I love this life...
this life as mom.

No one said it would be easy. 

But no one told me that I'd forever wonder...
"How can it get better than this?"

No one told me that I would want a toddler around for the rest of my life.
No one told me that I'd wipe away tears everytime I'd open a photo album.
Or that I dare not even watch a home video...without having to leave the room to regain composure.
No one told me that I'd reminisce with a close friend every chance we got about the early days of motherhood and how we want them back.
No one told me that when I hit 40 I'd panic with the thought of fleeting fertility.
No one told me that one day I'd be the one writing letters to moms in the harried days of little ones saying, "Hold onto it with all your might, don't worry about a thing...these are the precious days before you have to let the world in."
No one told me that once I became mother everything else in life I'd ever do would be insignificant in comparison.

No one told me that I'd never ever want these days to end.


Life's Plain, Common Work

The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life's plain, common work
as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Isn't it so difficult to remember this these days?  I think it is.  I love that we women all have so many choices in our life's path, but have you ever either questioned yourself, or been questioned by others for choosing the ordinary? 

In the past 15 years I've heard, "I just don't feel fulfilled at home."  Or, "Don't you go crazy all day home with the kids?"  or "I was so bored and lonely, I couldn't wait to go back to the office."  Or, "Don't you feel trapped?"  Or, "I could never be home with my kids all day, I'd go bonkers!"

I try to always answer those questions honestly and kindly, of course.  I know that everyone has their own experiences that lead them to make different decisions, but here is what I think.

Yes, being at home with the kids IS sometimes boring.  Some days I feel trapped for sure...I can't just up and leave on a whim anytime I want and usually I have to plan intricately when I do, around everyone else's schedule.  There is no calling in sick on this job, I've found. and no scheduled breaks, at least that I can count on.  I'm lucky if I get any vacation days at all. 

It IS sometimes lonely.  I can go all day without hearing from anyone over the age of 2, or 6, or 15, and just because I am never alone, doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel lonely. 

Do I feel like I'm using all my talents and gifts?  I think I've acquired lots more talents and gifts along this motherhood road by pure necessity.  I think I've discovered what I've needed to do to feel like I've accomplished something everyday, and to get out and socialize (or not!), and to get a little bit of freedom once in awhile to not go bonkers.

I wish I could say, "I couldn't think of anything else I'd rather do!"  when it comes to cleaning toilets or throw up or washing the floor for the umpteenth time.  But when cuddling a sweet little infant, that statement would be true one hundred times over.  When I think of the small sometimes mundane tasks of keeping house-making a house a home for those I love the most-there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.  Every job has mundane tasks, but no job holds the rewards of motherhood.

What it comes down to really, is that I don't think there is anything else I should be doing, right now. 

"The path of right before you...certain that daily duties...are the sweetest things in life."

I don't think our lives as moms are supposed to be easy and fun and exciting and "fulfilling" every day. Sometimes hard work is just that-hard work-service for our family.  I don't think I have something special or different, some incredible talents or gifts, some Barney-esque personality that has turned me into a 'mom'.  I think every one of us moms have talents that lend themselves to making great mothers.  We just have to tap into them...they exist somewhere inside of us.  We have to trust that this long road, this "plain and common work" will be more rewarding to us than any other job on earth...so far, 15 years into it, I can tell you that I already find this to be SO true.


Born To Play

We can't get this basketball out of Patrick's hands.
Even during dinner.
Well, we probably can, using brute force, but be ready to have your ear drum's shattered.
I've always been a "Pick Your Battles" kind of mom.
And this is one battle that's too cute to fight over.


How I Organize My Photos

About seven years ago, I tackled a huge, procrastinated project in my house.  I knew that most of the areas of my life, my home, were organized...except for photos.  Many were thrown into boxes, still in the sleeves from the developer, and others were scattered in ugly photo albums or stuck in envelopes.  I had a goal: to get every single photo I owned into matching photo albums.

It was a huge project, but the motivation was this:
It would only get worse!

So I did this:
1. I found relatively cheap, sturdy, classic photo albums online and ordered a bunch.  I use these. I wanted ones that I would always be able to purchase...you could purchase these 40 years ago, and so I figured I could purchase them 40 years from now.

2. I painstakingly went through every single photo, and sorted them in chronological order.  I labeled boxes by the year and threw them in there first, and then went through the boxes and ordered them by month.  It took me about a week and I worked on them every chance I got.  I did one box for Jeff's childhood pics, one for mine, and one for our dating years, engagement, and wedding.  From then on, it's just all chronological. I don't write things on the photos, or in the albums-to me, it's enough that I have them IN albums.

3. Once I had those all in order and inserted in the books I know I needed to keep them up often. Now I try to go through my downloaded photos once every 3 months and order prints.  I don't have time to make sure each photo is print perfect...sometimes I edit, most of the time I don't.  I send them to the store I grocery stop at...that way, it's not inconvenient to pick them up.  I make myself put those prints in the albums as soon as I can.

(And a big P.S.  My mom has a huge box of photos, all jumbled up, from our childhood.  No neat albums.  I love getting the box out and looking through them photo by photo.  You never know what you'll get.  So if your approach is "throw it in a box", then by all means, keep throwing!)

Album Information:  Pioneer Photo Album BDP-35.  I google that, then find the cheapest price on line.  You can sometimes find these at Michaels, but they don't keep a large stock of them, and a unreliable color choice.  (But they are probably cheap with a coupon?)


Funny Pics Of The Week

Matthew took this photo.

New purchase: Popsicle Molds. Great for Smoothies.

Abbey's excellent hide-n-go-seek-in-the-dark hiding spot.

That's Jeff on the right coaching basketball.  Can you tell his team is winning?  Also notice how no one is paying him any attention.

And last but not least, wouldn't it stink if someone dropped a piece of toast on your back and you didn't notice and walked around for hours?  How embarrassing!!!