Juggling Life

November 30, 2012

Emma & Ethan“I’m losing my mind!!” I shouted in frustration as I rummaged through the house trying to recall the “safe place” where I had put several important forms that needed to be signed and returned to school the next day.

“You’re not losing your mind” Ethan said sweetly, “You just got lots of stuff to remember!”

Yes, mommies have lots of things to remember from where Barbie’s clothes were seen last, to what kid needs to be where at what time, homework and projects for school and, of course, where important papers are and making sure they make it back to school on time.  Lately things have been so crazy and busy I’ve been having trouble keeping up with everyone’s schedules and trying to find time for other important things like taking a shower and finding time to sleep!

Let’s see … the last time I posted a blog was on the first day of school.  It is now the last day of November and before we know it Christmas will be here!  I was thinking last night about how much I missed writing and wishing I had the time and energy to post on my blogs more frequently.  I guess it’s kind of like exercise or studying or anything else – you just have to MAKE time. If you don’t’ block out a time in your day to write the days and weeks (and months) fly by and it never gets done.  I’ve found that every year of your life time goes faster and faster. When I was a kid the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed like it drug on FOREVER! As an adult, I start having anxiety attacks the day after Thanksgiving as I look at the December calendar and realize I need to be careful not to blink or it will be Christmas Eve!

About a year ago I decided to go back to school to get my MBA.  I had always said that I would NEVER go back to school, but here I am at 40+ years old taking classes and learning new things. I have to admit I have enjoyed the classes, but keeping up with reading, studying, and writing papers while working full time, raising four kids, and being a pastor’s wife has really been a test of my juggling skills.  Juggling the responsibilities of a mom is kind of like real juggling in that you will drop a ball here or there, but you just have to pick it back up and try again. So here I go … picking back up the dropped ball of blogging and trying again.  I hope to post a few times before Christmas with stories of from the past few months.

There really have been a lot of funny stories and fun times and I need to write them down before the get lost in all the other clutter floating around in my mind.  It’s amazing how I can’t ever remember that “safe place” where I put things, but I can still remember all the words to The Brady Bunch Theme song and the Big Mac advertising jingle from back when I was a kid.  You know the one I’m talking about …. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!”

I guess if I think about it that’s really why I started blogging in the first place. I wanted to write down all the cute storiesbugaloos and fun memories of raising our kids so I wouldn’t forget and so our children could share these stories with their children.  When I think back to my childhood I know that I may not remember very much about when I was in preschool or elementary school,  but I have lots of memories of the stories my parents told about my childhood. I have shared those stories with my kids and they love hearing about the time my brother, sister and I thought we could fly like the “Bugaloos” on TV and started jumping off of dressers trying to test our flying abilities.  Or how we used to fight over who had to sit in the middle seat with the hump … remember when cars had “the hump seat” in the middle which had absolutely no leg room?   

I hope that my kids have lots of stories and happy memories to share with their children someday. I also hope that they don’t’ remember a mom who was losing her mind, but a mom that loved them more than anything in the world!

R.I.P. Santa

January 4, 2012

“Mom, is Santa REAL?” ….. “Mom, is there really a Santa or are YOU Santa?” …. “Mom, how could Santa possibly make it to all the good boys and girls in one night? The world’s a big place you know!” …. “Mom, if there really IS a Santa then I will get an iPad for Christmas, right?”

It was about three weeks before Christmas and the non-stop questions and the relentless grilling from the little people in this house had started to wear on me.  November and December were crazy busy and with the stress of work and trying to keep up with church events and school Christmas programs I was feeling tired and overwhelmed.  I had so much Christmas shopping to finish and hadn’t a clue when I would do it … let alone when I would find the time to wrap all the presents.  All evening Ethan had been bombarding me with questions about Santa and I had done a pretty good job of giving vague answers or ignoring the questions. 

But the kid is good … like a mini Magnum PI … and I finally cracked.

“Mom, is Santa REAL?”

“What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?”

“An iPad or a 3DS ….. but is there really a Santa or are YOU Santa?”

“What do you think Rudolph and Santa are doing right now? I bet they are busy getting everything ready for the big night!”

“Mom …. I was thinking about this whole Santa thing and how could Santa possibly make it to all the good boys and girls in one night? The world’s a big place you know!”

“Yes, the world is a big place.”

“Mom, if there really IS a Santa then I will get an iPad for Christmas, right?”

That was the question that pushed me over the edge …..  I looked at Ethan and realized this kid was not giving up!

 “Do you really want to know if Santa is real?”

“Yes”

“Are you sure?”

He nodded his head.

I looked him straight in the eye and broke the news, “Santa is not real … It’s just Dad and I.”

Instead of heartbreak Ethan seemed elated, “Yes!  I knew it!”  he exclaimed, grinning ear to ear.

I went back to folding laundry thinking that the questions would stop, but Ethan had to get the whole story.

“Wait a minute …. So you MAKE the cookies and then you EAT the cookies?”

I laughed and said, “Well … yes, but Dad helps!”

“Well, if Santa is not real then I guess I don’t have to be good. I mean, I’m not going to get coal in my stocking if Santa is not real!”

“Are you sure you want to test that theory?”

“Hmmm …. Maybe I’ll just keep being good. It’s not that long until Christmas and I think I can stay out of trouble for a few more weeks.”

As we were getting ready for bed Ethan decided to break the news to Emma.

“Hey Emma – did you know that Santa is not real?  It’s just Mom and Dad.”

“Wait … what? What do you mean?”

“There is no Santa. You know the cookies we leave out for Santa? Mom and Dad just eat those and then they put the presents under the tree.”

Emma’s mouth dropped open. She was shocked! “I really believed it! I believed there was a Santa … and reindeer ….and that they could fly! I believed that Santa had a workshop up at the North Pole … and that he made all the toys … and that he had elves!  I believed the whole thing!”

She thought a little more and said, “So it’s just you and Dad?” 

I nodded, “Yes, just me and Dad.” 

“Well, that’s kinda boring … not nearly as exciting as reindeer and flying and a sleigh filled with toys. Maybe we can still pretend there is a Santa … I mean, we will know it’s REALLY you guys, but we can pretend and still write letters and make cookies. Do you think we can do that?”

“Sure, I think we can do that. It would be fun to keep pretending, wouldn’t it?”

They both agreed and then Ethan added, “I bet you are glad we are going to keep playing your game because otherwise you wouldn’t get to eat all those cookies on Christmas Eve!”

Emma and Ethan were constantly obsessing over Santa’s list. “Mommy, am I on the naughty or the nice list?”  they would ask me on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.  They wanted to make sure that they were being “good enough” to make the cut.  I have to admit that it often worked to my advantage … you know, using the threat of the naughty list when they wouldn’t  go to bed, clean their room or take out the trash. “I have Santa’s cell phone number and email address – don’t think I won’t tell him about this!”  Drew would play along even though he knew Santa’s real identity.  Whenever he would talk about Santa he would use air quotes and say things like, “Yeah ‘Santa’ may not bring you that game for the Wii if you aren’t nice to Mom. He’s watching you … always watching you.”  A few days before Christmas I asked Emma and Ethan what they thought Mommies had to do to get on Santa’s nice list. Ethan said, “Feed your kids and be nice to them.”  Emma thought a little longer and added, “Well, you might want to clean up this house a bit too.”

Raising four kids, working full-time and being a pastor’s wife doesn’t leave much time for house cleaning and it leaves even less time for Christmas shopping.  I am not a big fan of fighting the crowds and the traffic either so when I discovered Amazon.com I was in heaven.  Being able to shop from the comfort of my own home, in my P.J’s, anytime of day or night was like a dream come true.  I was able to have the kids make their wish lists on the Amazon website and then easily buy the things they wanted. I also had the option to pass the list along to Grandparents when I ran out of money and/ or when they needed gift ideas for the kids.

When I would see the UPS driver coming down the drive it was like seeing Santa coming in on a giant brown sleigh.  I didn’t have to drive through crowded parking lots or walk through snow and rain. It was so much easier and quicker that I ordered 95% of Christmas online.  When it came time to wrap presents I discovered yet another benefit of shopping online … boxes.  Yes, I had boxes, boxes and more boxes from Amazon and they were perfect to use for wrapping awkward gifts like Pillow Pets and to use to wrap Wii games and DVD’s so that it wasn’t too obvious what they were by the shape of the package.

On Christmas morning the kids were excited to see all the beautifully wrapped presents under the tree and even more excited to open them and discover the gifts they had asked for inside.  As they were opening gifts Drew asked, “Wait, when did Santa start shopping at Amazon?” and winked at me.   Luckily Emma and Ethan didn’t hear the question or seem to notice all the Amazon boxes lying around the room.  However, if Santa’s elves ever went on strike I’m sure Santa would be shopping at Amazon too!