It is funny how the more I stay off the computer the more I love staying off the computer. During December and most especially when everyone was out of school I knew I wanted to curb my time down to almost nothing. I also decided I didn't want my Facebook or Instagram accounts anymore as I didn't enjoy them (this is my second rendezvous with Facebook and now I have really learned my lesson-I had to learn my lesson twice-I don't enjoy the pull I feel, and the time suck, and the obligation, and the information that fills my mind with too much non-essential.) When I hit those delete buttons it felt like I just did a deep-clean/clutter purge in my brain and freed up some space in my brain for more important things. It's crazy how that makes me feel calmer and more focused and organized and purposeful. Apparently I need all the extra brain space I can get. :)
But I do want to keep up on blogging, even if it is only sporadic. It doesn't help that Janey has stopped taking naps-that happened just organically over Christmas break and it was perfect timing. She goes to bed earlier and sleeps better at night. But it's always an adjustment for me also, because I lose my reading/computer time, or at least some of it. I haven't finished one book yet since the Tidying Up book I read after Christmas.
On that subject I read this quote from ages ago somewhere and gasped at the truth of it:
"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.
Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention."
Herbert Simon (1940's I believe.)
Isn't that brilliant?
"What are we going to do all day Mom?" She is in the stage where she stuffs her whole world and anything else she can find into bags. It is hilarious what we find in her back packs and purses. Missing something? Go find the back pack.
My mom gave me this towel for Christmas and I love it. My whole life revolves around food when the college kids are home. Mother of boys-do you ever feed your family a nice big filling dinner and then see them standing with their heads in the fridge 30 minutes after dinner? Because they are hungry again? How is that possible?
It IS nice to have them have a great appreciation of my cooking once they have experienced dorm food. Isaac never complained about dorm food, but Abbey is having a harder time with it...maybe it's the difference in cafeteria offering (I do think some colleges do better than others in this dept.) but she is also calorie conscious and a little picky about healthy food (and lives in fear of the freshman 15) and I don't think there are many choices besides the plainest salad for every meal and who wants that.
I do notice that the kids eat out a lot at college-gosh, what ever happened to the poor college student? I ate a can of Spaghettios for a meal quite often, and Jeff and I remember "splurging" on a lunch of .99 cent breadsticks with a little extra for sauce as our lunch. Cheap ramen noodles and mac and cheese? I don't know. Things have changed, I DO know that. (And just for the record our kids have to pay for anything off the meal plan themselves-although we made an agreement this semester with Abbey because she wanted to go down to the lowest meal plan and use the difference for more off-campus healthy food.) She will be happier I think when she has an apartment kitchen, meanwhile, "make do" is the answer.
Speaking of healthy food-I am going strong on my Whole30. It takes more time for sure, and there is a learning curve, but I have never felt hungry. Mind control is the key-I don't let my mind wander to all that I am missing. And once the sugar habit is kicked, and I lose that yearning, it is much easier.
I wish I could eat chocolate all day long, I will never stop wishing that.
Chocolate is the best food on the planet. (And not healthy dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate in foil wrappers.)
Janey is my workout partner sometimes (when Jeff is gone in the evening and I can't send Janey upstairs to play). We go in the basement, I do my weight routine, and listen to free Pandora set to Ed Sheeran. I look forward to it every day, really.
Basketball season! Andrew is #20. These kids are so so cute. He has the best class. They are all so kind to each other. Jeff is his coach along with two other dads. By the time our kids are all through grade school Jeff will have coached so so many years. I bet he will keep doing it also-let's hope he doesn't get old and cranky. I love that he is always positive and encouraging and never gets mad at the kids no matter what. He works with each one and they have fun. I really hate going to a game and hearing the other coaches get so mad and yell at the kids. (I should add that Jeff "yells" during games but yells plays and reminds the kids who to guard etc, not specific negative yelling at players or the team.) Maybe I'm being too sensitive and the boys can take it but I know I would have felt absolutely awful and never would have wanted to play a sport again if I had a coach get mad at me. It also raises the emotion of everyone in the building and the parents get tense also. I always picture the kids going home and up to their rooms all dejected and feeling so bad about themselves. Which proves I'm a girl because I'm sure the boys just get over it by the time they get to the car. :)
Abbey went a little crazy packing for winter break, meaning she brought home half her dorm. Her roommate joked (but a little seriously) that she must not be coming back. Half the van was filled! After carrying all that back into the dorm this last weekend, I asked her if she was going to make that same mistake again and she said no. I felt like I was dropping her off all over again, but this time my mind flashed back to preschool after Christmas break when they got used to being home and don't really want to separate again. She likes it but it's not always easy I don't think-dorm life in general and 19 hours etc. College is more difficult than high school in some ways isn't it? I think high school is constant little life lessons in your face every day, but college is pressure and stress in different ways. Planning, choices, organization, tolerance, etc.
I had to take this picture because our sweet neighbor Mary Carol came over with her Girl Scout cookie sheet and I told everyone to pick a box of what they wanted and she was bombarded with questions and orders and debates about what the order will be. She takes it all in stride and just smiles the whole time of course.
First snow! (I couldn't take a picture outside because I was too cold. I tell the kids I am allergic to winter.)
Little things I want to remember that I have no photos for:
Matt enjoying tennis practices in prep for trying out this spring.
Poker games during the evenings of break between boys and friends.
How both Isaac and Abbey willingly with no prodding called and worked their summer jobs all break to earn their own money (yay!).
Abbey coming so close to losing at left right center twice at family parties and how much she wanted to win that jackpot.
Isaac remembering a little boy's birthday at the place he works and bringing him a gift.
The hoopla and excitement and talk of the lotto and how many laughs (and serious discussions) it brought to the house.
Abbey showing me make up tricks (and good ones!) and taking me to Sephora to buy a few things (where I lasted about 10 minutes-she knows by now I have a short ticking time bomb of mall time.)
And one more quick note:
Raising teenagers is hard.
I never ever ever ever want to make anyone who reads this blog and has teenagers/young adults, feel like things are any different at my house than they are at yours. I record the good memories and the special sweet things, not the arguments and the frustrations and although there are times when I think we see some great huge strides of maturity there are also times when I think they've slid back to the age of say, around two years old and seriously sometimes I remind myself to take deep breaths and "break the wrist and walk away" and then I do so, and sometimes I remind myself to take deep breaths and walk away, but don't actually do it but let them have it in no uncertain terms with a strong lecture which is not always said in a mature quiet manner on my part but just couldn't be held back. Late for church, picking on brothers, throwing clothes on the floor, tone of voice, selfishness, unappreciation,etc, etc, etc.
This too shall pass.
Notice the good. I have to remind myself often.
My mom wrote to me this break with the advice to parent them like they are who you want them to be-parent them like they are their best always. It struck me as so so right. When we are frustrated we tend to see all the weaknesses and parent in a frustrated angry way and when we see the strengths we parent in a positive upbeat encouraging way. So stay the course with the good in our minds and our expectations will be known and be brought forth. Now for the follow through. :)
My mom is so smart.