31 May 2009

Naps are better than Prozac

Today I learned that at this point in my life, depression most frequently stems from exhaustion. Not that there's really any reason for me to be exhausted, but you know, sometimes it happens.

We have been trying to teach Monkey #3 to sleep in his own bed. He never nurses during the day, except just before naptime, but at night he'll wake up several times, nurse 'til I make him quit, and then howl when I try to put him back in his own bed. It's crazy, and it's interfering with my sleep. I normally just get back in my own bed and let him nurse while I doze, so I have no idea how long he nurses. He just keeps going 'til I get uncomfortable enough to wake up. Well, we finally decided that we would all get a better night's sleep if we could just reconcile ourselves to being sleep-deprived for a few nights, and teach him to sleep in his own bed. I was assured by my midwife and my chiropractor (who offered their advice as friends and mothers, not professionally) that we'd have a few rotten nights, and then things would get a lot better.

Well. We had a few rotten nights, and then my MIL came to help paint my kitchen. My craft/guest room is a total disaster, and since my house, at that time (I say as though this is no longer true), was also a disaster, I had to make a choice. Clean house, or usable guest room. My mother-in-law slept on the sofa. In my own defense I would like to say, that I only intended her to do that for one night, but she said it was more comfortable than the air mattress in the guest room.

Which was fine, except that the sofa is in the Living Room. Both the Master Bedroom and the children's room open just off that, and I didn't think it was fair to send my poor mother-in-law home totally sleep-deprived when she came out just to do something nice for me. So the monkey spent most of that week sleeping in our bed almost all night. It was simpler for all concerned.

The problem is, that put us back at square one. You know how, if you're training a dog that he can't come in the kitchen, and every day for a week he is never allowed in, and then just once you let him in (probably to clean up a spill), it will be WEEKS before you can convince him he really isn't allowed in the kitchen? Yeah, that's what we are dealing with. He's become even more persistent, and rather than waking up two or three times a night, the last few nights it's been at least five times. I'm exhausted. My husband is exhausted. Monkey#3 is exhausted (but he still naps twice a day, so don't feel too sorry for him). (And yes, I tried cutting him back to one nap. That was miserable).

Which brings me back to my original point, which was that I have been feeling super depressed the last two or three days. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I had no energy, I was getting nothing done, and I felt like crying all the time. Rotten way to go through life. (Those of you who have already made the connection, cut me a little slack. Remember, my brain wasn't functioning at full power)

Today after church, I took a nap. I slept for about four hours. When I woke up, we built a fire in our new fire pit, the children showed me the fort they built with Daddy while I was passed out, we grilled burgers over the fire, and had a very pleasant evening. It was great.

When we sat down for dinner, I said "Wow, we had a really nice afternoon." My dear husband laughed at me and pointed out that I had missed most of it. I said "That's why we had such a nice afternoon."

At this point in my life, I'll take a nap over an anti-depressant, any day.

28 May 2009

Sock Monster, thy name is Monkey

Before I start this story, you have to understand that my husband always buys the same kind of socks. That way, every sock matches every other sock, and there is never more than one odd sock in the drawer. We keep that one, because sooner (rather than later) he'll wear a hole through another one, and will once again have an even number of socks. It's a beautiful system, really, but it hasn't worked out so well for the rest of us.

Yesterday I noticed a link in the comments over at Pioneer Woman's blog, and followed it here. Go read that story, it made me laugh out loud. :-) I didn't say anything to my Mad Scientist, however, because he was deeply involved in Very Important Research. He didn't ask, because he's used to me laughing out loud about random things. It runs in my family. I should tell you about my sister sometime...

Tonight I mentioned that I really should put up another post, and what would I post about? Having no idea that I had been thinking about socks, my dh said, "I think you should take a picture of the sock pile on the dresser. There's THIRTEEN socks there, and not one pair. I didn't even know there were thirteen different kinds of socks!

Now, the astute among you will notice that there are not 13 different kinds of socks here. The three medium-sized colored ones, and the one with the grey stripe 'round the top and white foot, would match if they were the same colour. And I would like to point out that this pile contains 4 socks from my youngest son, one from Yours Truly, and EIGHT socks from Monkey #1. And I know where the other sock of mine is. So I have come to the conclusion that the sock monster is a myth, and my sons have begun eating their socks in protest of the fact that I do not (apparently) give them enough food. Because really, what other possibility is there?

26 May 2009

Busy Day

Today was a busy day. First, I borrowed a truly wondrous idea from Lora Lynn over at Vita Familiae. I sprinkled down my tub with baking soda, sprayed a pair of scrub brushes with vinegar, and threw the two oldest monkeys in the tub. (I gave Monkey #3 a mini spray bottle and scrub brush. He did the outside of the tub). Oh, happy day! 20 minutes later they had scrubbed the whole bottom of the tub! There are no before or after pictures; I'm not ready to admit to the state of my bathroom this publicly yet. But it was a beautiful thing. In a surprising development, Monkey#2 (that would be my girl) decided she liked scrubbing, and stuck with it for about another 20 minutes after her brothers moved on to more important things. Here she is, playing in the dirt in between rain showers this afternoon:

That's the "Don't take my picture!" face. This one doesn't really like having attention focussed on her. During naptime, my oldest helped me start supper. I've been dying to try the recipe Pioneer Woman posted recently for Bolognese Sauce and Homemade Pasta, so during naptime Monkey #1 and I got the noodles going.

He was very intense in his kneading. Hands, fists, elbows. I suspect this may be a good way to work out agression. When my DH got home, the sauce was simmering on the stove, and we were cutting noodles. I felt so together! ('Til I remembered that the house was a mess and I didn't do any laudry today.) So we had a great dinner together, which was really nice.
The pasta and sauce were a hit, all around.

25 May 2009

I have a paint brush, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Last week my mother-in-law came out for a visit, the stated purpose of which was to help me paint my kitchen cabinets. I began painting them in a fit of inspiration after a MOPS speaker recommended Gliptex paint, from Porter Paints, as a great way to spruce up your kitchen. "It dries like an enamel" she said, and that sounded good to me. My mother had painted her cabinets (hired a friend of mine, actually) not too long before, but the paint she used was latex and already chipping. She wasn't super pleased, and I knew I needed to try something different.

I apologize for the scattered "before" pictures. I'm just hunting through my hard drive because I forgot to take one. This is from Autumn '06. I decided to tackle one cabinet at a time, thinking something along the lines of "how to eat a whale", I suppose. Off came the doors, and out came the primer. I made a basic mistake though, and one that I will spare you: Don't paint the insides of your cabinets. This way lies madness. It took me FOREVER to paint that one cabinet. I became completely discouraged. Also, it turns out that Gliptex, being an oil-based paint, is rather toxic and needs ventilation. I was pregnant at the time, and the very nice man at Porter Paints strongly encouraged me to only use it if ALL the windows were open. Even then, I could tell he didn't really think it was a good idea. Well, that was pretty far into the fall, and we didn't have any more days that year that were nice enough to open all the windows. So, there my solitary primed cabinet sat, doors off, waiting for inspiration to strike me again. You can see it behind my dad in this picture from December '07:

The Mad Scientist liked having the doors off for convenience sake, but it really didn't contribute to my visual peace. We were away from home all last summer (that's another post for another time) staying with my in-laws. Now, one thing that I love about my mother-in-law is, she has no fear when it comes to decorating. She's been very inspiring to me, and since this project clearly needed some help, I called in the expert. The woman is fearless with a paint brush!

We had just finished two weeks of my house being completely ripped up for a dining room remodel. (Look for a post about that soon, too!) I was stressed, and not dealing well with clutter. My MIL flew in on Friday, took all the cabinet doors off Sa
turday morning, and went to town. Now, I thought that I'd just paint the backsplash the same golden color as the rest of the walls, but she was very convinced that it needed something more. First we looked at aluminum roof flashing, which she had seen used on HGTV, but the Mad Scientist was very underwhelmed by the idea of having to come up with a way to attach the stuff to the walls. Then, of course, there was the color issue. See, I took a picture mid-project:

Yeah, pretty blah, isn't it? So, we decided to go with something very dark. I actually took that picture after we started painting the backdrop on the other side, because the difference was so dramatic, I thought y'all should see it. Charcoal, red, and deep tangerine were all in the running, but in the end we settled on this forest green/teal. It looked super teal when it went on, but deepened as it dried. It really sets the cabinets off, and even the countertop (which I really would love to replace at some point) looks better. We used a semi-gloss, for ease of washing. Here's the (almost) finished project:

I need to figure out what happened to my aloe, because it won't stay against the window since I screwed the bracket back to the cabinet. Also, be watching for some window mistreatments coming soon! And of course, there's just that bit of painting to finish over the cabinets. But that's a latex, so I should be able to manage. And the oil paint that has been my bothersome need-to-get-it-done for nearly two years? Looks great, doesn't it? I love my mother-in-law! (I also need to scrape all the splatters off my counter and stove, but I'm not complaining!)

In Memory

In the small New England town where I grew up, the Memorial Day Parade was something I looked forward to for weeks. All the children in town were invited to ride in the parade, and we always decorated our bikes to the nines with crepe paper and streamers. Red, white, and blue were the colors of choice, of course, for the bikes, our clothing, and anything else that presented itself as possibly holding still long enough to be decorated. One year I rode my brother's pony in the parade. Flags were everywhere. We'd ride from the elementary school to the town hall, pause for a solemn service at the war memorial, and then gather at the firehouse where ice cream and candy were provided for all the children in town. That was my favourite part as a child, but through the years I came to appreciate this day even more for the chance it gives us to pause, and remember.We always called my grandfather "Bestefar", which is Norwegian for "mother's father." His heritage was something of which he was deeply proud. More than anything else, he taught me to love my country, to be proud of being an American, and to honour the service of those who have made our freedom possible. It has been nearly a year since he died, and he is on my mind today. He loved this country, and never let a Memorial Day go by without making a point to remember and honor those who have served and died to keep us free. He had three brothers, and all four of them served in the military. I don't ever remember him talking about his experiences. I know that he served in the Army, his brother Paul was a pilot, and that his brother Mark was killed in action in France. His brother Norman served as a navigator in the Korean War.

Because of Bestefar and Grandma, who also served, Memorial Day has always been more than just a long weekend to my family. Today we went downtown for our local parade, and my children squirmed through the service, understanding little of it, I'm sure. It wasn't so long ago that I fidgeted through these things myself. I hope that, as they grow, I can teach them that freedom never comes without sacrifice, and that each generation must work to preserve it for the next. I hope that each of them, in their own way, will bear that out in their lives. I hope they always remember Bestefar.