Thursday, June 30, 2011


Do it yourself

It's that time of the summer when I start to long for a vacation.  It's so hot, much hotter than it normally is at this time, and it sucks the very life out of you.  Even small tasks seem difficult when the humidity is 80% and the heat index is over 100.  Last year, I promised myself we would take a proper vacation, but with the insanity of the last shuttle flight and a possible new contract at work, I'm not sure it's going to happen.  I find that so depressing.  E has been extremely clingy.  I thought it would go away when she felt better after a brief illness, but I am still unable to leave her line of sight without hearing "Mommy! Where are you?"  I love my children dearly, but I would like to use the restroom, or make dinner in peace.  Two demanding toddlers and a life full of responsibilities makes me a little itchy for some sort of break.  We might make it to Illinois in the fall, but even that is uncertain right now.   My only escape has been reading.

When I was a child we lived on an acreage and really didn't have neighbor's, and the neighbors we did have didn't have kids my age.  When most kids were running next door to play with friends, I was reading a book.  It was a habit brought on by boredom and a need to escape the tension in the house brought on by my mother's eating disorder and depression.  I completely escaped into books and became obsessed with the stories and the characters.  I wanted to be in the books.  If I was more talented, I probably could have written one, but I have settled for being a happy consumer.  I love that obsession.  I love thinking about how the author came up with the idea behind a book, and I wonder about the characters after the book ends.  (What happens to Johanna Mason??)

As I wrote in a previous post, I can't believe I ever left reading behind.  I'm glad it's back.  I really enjoy writing my reviews, although I might be the only one who reads them. If I can't go somewhere, at least I can spend my evenings reading.  Of course, that might explain how messy my house looks at the moment.

Are you on Goodreads?  It's an excellent way to keep track of the books you want to read. Let's connect here.

I just read a really good, but kind of spooky book called Dismantled.  My review is here.

**I took the above photo at Ikea. The title means "Do It Yourself".  My other favorite Ikea book title is "Married to a Communist". 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Two Years

The last two years have been a whirlwind.  I look at E now and I see a little girl, walking, talking and interacting with the world around her.  In some ways, time has crawled, but when I see her playing with friends or laughing with her brother, it seems like time has raced by, never looking back.

I make mental notes to myself all the time of books and experiences that I want to make sure E has and things that I want to share with her.  I want so much for her to have the confidence that was so difficult for me to develop.  I want her to have the support system to propel her into life, full speed ahead.  Having a daughter is such a scary thing these days.  I see older children and teens doing idiotic things and exposing themselves to such dangers that I wish I could keep E in her crib forever, safe in her comfy cage until I lift her out.  That isn't the way it works, and even now I see the independent and stubborn streak that frustrates me and gives me hope that this is a girl that knows her own mind.

She is my smart, strong and beautiful girl.  I am so glad that she's ours.  Happy Birthday, E.  I love you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Dark Days

Keeper of the Seagulls

I just finished reading The Hunger Games series and as my husband and I were joking about those first few months after E was born, The Dark Days came to mind.  There was no nuclear war or widespread annihilation of a population, but those first several months with a toddler and a newborn were tough.  Ok, they were pretty awful.  My heart trouble, our cramped and tiny house, and L being too young to really understand that this baby was here to stay all created a situation that still gives me a touch of the PTSD, to be honest.  We moved, sold our old house and were down to one car.  I love my children more every day, but I never want to go back to the way I felt then.  I was tired and overwhelmed and even though I wasn't, I felt alone.

It's almost two years later, and we have survived, just as everyone said we would.  We found a bigger house, E started sleeping through the night, L got used to his sister and his new bed.  Things are certainly still hectic, but I just feel like I am dealing with it better than I was.  It's like we're just on the edge of finally feeling like we might actually have it together.  I only have 3 classes left in grad school, I finally got a promotion at work, and the kids are thriving. We still have a mountain of boxes to go through, but it's a smaller mountain than it was.  That overwhelmed feeling is still there, but not as often.

One thing that I have slowly started to get back, is myself.  I don't know why, but it occurred to me the other day that the last 6 years have changed me beyond anything I ever thought possible.  Marriage, career, and kids:  those three things have molded me into someone who is completely different than the music teacher that wrote lesson plans every night and never missed happy hour.  Some of that is good.  Most of the changes are positive, but I find myself missing other things.  When the Spring semester ended, I picked up my nook and read a non-school book for the first time in years.  Yes, years.  I can't believe I ever stopped.  I immediately fell into my old habits of staying up until midnight telling myself, just one more chapter, over and over again.  I joined Good Reads and I think I've read about six books in the break between semesters.  It feels so good to have something in my brain besides schedules, meals plans, and HR related topics. My friend Maura also pointed out that it's important for the kids to see me reading.  Of course, they really see me staring at what must look like a giant iPhone to them, but by the time they are teenagers, I'm sure my nook will evoke laughter similar to what the 1990s giant cell phones do now.

My next wish was to join a book club, but I know that to have one would mean that I would have to do all of the work.  I learned the hard way through the parents group I started that people are more than willing to show up and less willing to make an effort to keep something going.  That's ok, though, because most of the people that I would like to talk to about books are online!  I decided to start up the old book blog again and use it as a place to write about the books I read and give people a chance to give me their thoughts.  Maybe no one will read it, but at least I have a way to write about books that I truly love.  The first thing I want to do when I finish a book is discuss it with someone, but L and E have very little interest in dissecting character motivation.

My first post is about The Help.  Please visit it you've read it, or even if you haven't, because I would love to hear your thoughts.