Friday, April 25, 2014

Quick Takes: Death, The Ultimate Play Date Hostess & A Video of the Twins!

I’ve been working on my play date hostessing this year and it shows.  Today, I served what turned out to be pumpkin bread for lunch (oops!), cleaned up broken glass in the backyard, and hosed both poop and pee off my child while also holding up a towel (gotta be discreet, ya know!).

At one point, my friend’s child and Thomas were both running around in the non- broken glass section of the backyard.  It was a vision of two boys in nothing but underwear and flip flops laughing in circles, high weeds underfoot, chasing after each other with sticks and shouting. And all I could think was, Yes, I’ve finally made it. I reached a motherhood milestone where I’ve found a friend I feel so comfortable around I’m happy to be with even when I’m having very, very real mom moments. Because, dude, that’s my life.  Come on over to eat "lunch" while standing at the counter and holding a baby and hearing me shout things like “No, no, boys. Don’t run over there in the poop zone!’

Heaven. Death. Eternity. These are like the trifecta of my worst fears. Like woah. If you wanted to annihilate me while sitting on a couch and equipped with no weapon save the weight of your iphone, you could opt to go the verbal route, saying things like “You will die one day, Ashley. You can’t be absolutely sure what will happen when you die. And it will happen FOR-EV-ER!!!”  I will breathe heavily, go crazy-eyed, shed some tears, and panic attack myself into a one woman riot. I imagine, anyway.

My mother-in-law recently heard me blaze on about my fear of death enough she thought to buy me this book:

...and guess what! I did not know what the Catholic church believes about heaven (in fact, according to this book, what all Christians believe about heaven.) That’s a bit embarrassing to reveal but hey, maybe there’s another misdirected control freak out there terrified she will have to one day die and wondering if there's a book that could curb her from that one woman riot against the dying of the light.

Even though I’m still reading the book with one eyebrow way up high in the skeptical arch, I’m finding it a great source of comfort. Have you read it? Do you ever fear death? Do you have questions about the afterlife?

Podcasts! I listen to them a lot so that I can feel like I’m in conversations with adults in between wiping off (or hosing off!) butts. I need some recommendations though. A blogger on my feed recently posted something about podcasts and I thought I would read it later but now I have no idea who it was. Helpful side comment, huh. If you have a favorite podcast or know that recent post, would you please leave a comment and let me know. I would so appreciate it. I need to switch things up a bit & since podcasts are one of my tried and true sanity savers, momma needs some help!

Is it still spring cleaning season? Are people still building up their little gardens? Any of you able to stop time so I can squeeze some of this in? What happened with the past two months? I have so many pressing things on my list and a lot of things are just not happening. I’m suppose to be doing all the things because I’m a SAHM, right? Good days for me are a calm mommy, a clean kitchen, and the teeniest slice of “other” tackled on my list. You?

There are two things I think that every parent everywhere should do:

1. Read to your child.
2. Walk with your child.

These two things are possibly my two favorite gifts my parents passed off to me and now I get to pass them to Thomas.  No matter how yucky the day has been emotionally, Thomas and I always open up over a book.  And he always opens up when he walks.  There’s so much hope, creativity, love, and connectedness that blooms quiet each time a book is open or a loop is taken around the block.

This week, Thomas told me his Aunt Elsie teached him that if you blow on dandelions you get your wish. Just say the word, he said. He told me he wished that I would stay, and with a little questioning he explained that meant he didn’t want me to leave or for anyone to take me away. Oh brown eyes. No, I’m never going away and I’m definitely never going to die. Ever.

*No, I didn’t really tell him that but I seriously considered it.

Here’s a snippet from a post I wrote recently but was cut [didn't make it to the blog] due to Paul’s apt assertion that the conclusion felt like he was being force fed rainbows:

I want to climb metaphorical chairs and shout to my peers. I am NOT the mother you think I am. (I’m better and worse than that.)  I am NOT the wife you think I am. (I’m happier and sadder than her.) I am NOT the person that you think I am. (I only buy makeup from Clinique and often eat cheese paired with wine but can be found wearing the same pair of shoes until they start resembling something pulled from a trash can and own so few clothes I could seriously fit them into a single suitcase.)

This snippet shines light on the reality that I’m hard on myself and not fair with others (in that I make them out to be the best Catholic! the smartest shopper! the calmest mom ever and how does she do that?!). Working on it. Grace. Gotta channel that!


.Yeah, This video is not working at this time. I just signed up for Vimeo. Come back soon & maybe the babies will cooperate then. :/

Check out other Takers at Jen's at have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Notes from a Lonely Housewife

Last Monday, Paul left for a 5 day work trip to Washington D.C.  I got a call that night as I sat in Paul’s parents’ sitting room situated on the other side of the state. Paul said his trip was extended a week and should he fly home in between or just stay there.  We decided for him to stay there and for me to linger around the care of his parents for a few more days. They pour magical cocktails.

Signature look on Alistair. Cautious amusement from cousin Everette. 
Baby Gladiators.
I know a lot of life to be happy accidents. I also feel like some things just are.  Like my decision to be a teacher. My desire to dance. The way my chest gets pulled up in a happy ache as I walk up to receive Communion.

This is how I feel about Paul traveling and his work.  Somehow, the life of a lonely housewife foreshadowed into my fifteen year old heart.  I’m okay with that stretching that happens between us when he’s out of sight, out of state, or just darn unavailable.  It’s okay because I always wanted to be the supportive wife.  When I was 19 and thinking of landing such a role, I had something else in mind: packing a UHaul in our Missouri driveway (I’ve lived here all my life.) and waving goodbye to friends so we could lay down roots in a climate that labels 40 degree weather frigid. Traveling trophy wife.  Instead, I lean over my Missouri kitchen counter and yell past the chocolate stuffed in my mouth that I’ll be right there to wipe Thomas’s butt.

For your pleasure and in no particular order, I present unglamorous details of a wife holding down the house without the better half.  And they all start, because I say so and I’m in charge here, once upon a time

… I took Thomas to Chic-Fil-A to break up a super bleak and very cold stretch of days with just the kids. Invisible food poisoning on his plate. At 3 in the morning Thomas walked into the bedroom and threw up into his hands. I canceled the playdate for the next day, the only time I would have talked face to face with an adult during the five days Paul was gone.

… I watched 8 parts of a documentary about the Boxing Day tsunami on YouTube with my iPhone in between nursing babies and eating bowls of cereal. End of story.. I watch weird stuff when he’s gone as some twisted preemptive strike against disaster.  Two trips ago it was The Dahmer Files.  Two nights ago it was Blackfish.  I once lay in our big empty bed listening to a 911 call. The comforting phone operator lulled me to sleep.

… Paul walked in the door from a 4 day trip a few months after I had the twins.  On this trip everything went perfectly. I was so together and so great with the kids. I held the twins in my lap on the couch.  Paul walked through the door in mid-afternoon on a call, waved hello and turned the corner to go straight into the office to finish the day’s work. I burst into tears, the babies bouncing a bit until I knew he couldn’t hear me over that conference call.

Oh, but these are the bad stories.  There’s so many great things about Paul traveling (and working a lot) too. Like, how our clumsy re-entry into togetherness has sometimes brought a glass of wine to my lips or how I’ve acclimated to solo parenting by talking to myself a lot and liking it.  Two weeks ago I walked into the family room where I found Thomas stirring his Lincoln logs with a Lincoln log. I threw out my arms and shouted, “WILL YOU PLEASE JUST CALM DOWN. JUST. CALM DOWN” before I stole myself into the other room and started my 3rd podcast of the day.

This trip has been different. Thomas is still at Nana & Papa’s. Paul is still in D.C. The twins occupy each other in the sun room with happy shrieks and swiping of toys.  I really am on my own.  

I’ve actually gotten things done this time too.  I spent time with my sister, Amanda, this weekend shopping and catching up.  I filled out these beautiful baby shower invites for my sister, Andrea, who’s expecting identical twin boys this summer. And I visited Target 3 times in the past 5 days for, among many other little projects, revitalizing our master bedroom. Think soft. Think sheek. Think vavoom. Think the walls will paint themselves?

Thank goodness for Paul’s family for taking me in last week and letting Thomas play “I live here” for another week.  Thank goodness for my sisters (and sister-in-laws too!) for helping me fill the hours. Thank goodness for a wee bit of peace to write this out to you.

Thank goodness for a man still waiting on his trophy wife to bloom.


Thomas arrives sometime tomorrow. Paul arrives tomorrow night. Ba da da da da. I'm lovin' it.

The twins begged me to get a photo with their uncle E. Bunny