Friday, January 29, 2010

Okay, I Wouldn't Go Right To "Exciting..."

...but we did find out some interesting things from my full-cycle saliva analysis hormone panel or WHATEVER IT'S CALLED oh my gosh. Main info is as follows:

-I ovulated VERY late. I had a thirty three day cycle and didn't ovulate until day twenty two, meaning I had a luteal (post ovulatory) phase of eleven days. Anything under twelve days is considered to be a luteal phase defect, something both of my OB's have suggested as a possibility before.

-My progesterone, which has always been super low in my failed pregnancies and borderline low in the ones I did carry to term, was FINE. ABOVE AVERAGE, even. WTF. Seriously, it almost annoys me. So it only decide to go crazy when I'm pregnant, then?

-My estrogen levels were very high, not QUITE in a danger zone but at the very top of the acceptable range.

-My testosterone levels were more than twice as high as a normal woman's. This is indicative of ovarian cysts, which I always get when I ovulate, so we expected this level to be fairly high. Not THAT high, though. It was... Well. The doctor mentioned the term "premenopause" several times.

-My lutenizing hormone had a below average output, whatever that means. I was RELUCTANT to ovulate, I guess.

Overall the doctor seemed pretty concerned. He said my hormones were what he would expect from someone almost twice my age. However, before prophesying doom he did think to ask if anything unusual or stressful had happened during the test cycle. When I explained that I had done the test through the month of December, during which time my husband got in a serious car accident, our laundry room flooded and we had to have the floor pulled up, and our washer and dryer both needed replaced, plus, you know, CHRISTMAS and all, he got this lightbulb look on his face and said "Oh! Maybe you're okay then!"

At this point we're going to hope that a lot of the really weird stuff, like the elevated testosterone and estrogen, and the delayed ovulation, is a result of stress. He suggested six supplements he wants me to go on to try to balance hormone levels and to help me de-stres. He emphasized that about a thousand times. He said stress is usually what throws people into premenopause, which- well, who knows. He even suggested I trade in cardio and weights for yoga and long walks with soothing music instead of bouncy stuff. Just for a couple of months, to see if it helps, and then he wants to retest me when I'm hopefully in a calmer and less stressed place. And when hopefully no one gets in accidents and nothing in our house decides to break.

Oh and P.S., nurse on the phone the other day who said it didn't look too "crazy" to her: maybe check with the doctor before you actually voice an opinion. Grr.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dirty Secrets

Posts to come soon: pictures from Le Pretend Castle With Fully Authentic Heated Bathroom Tiles AND exciting (hopefully) info from my doctor's appointment today. For now you get this: I almost never wash the bedroom floors.

Background: All our bedrooms have hardwood floors. They are in decent shape, but they are over fifty years old, and the finish is... worn, to say the least, and in some parts just plain gone. I know we should really refinish the floors, but dude, we are just not that ambitious in terms of household projects. We don't spend our weekends at Home Depot dreaming about faux finishes and grout and crown molding. So the idea of dragging every single piece of furniture out of all three bedrooms and filling our home with chemical smells and giant sanders is just about the LAST thing on my list of desired home improvements. For now, we have big area rugs covering the majority of the floors, anyways, so the parts that are less than great looking are hidden by either carpet or furniture.

I do sweep/dust mop the exposed wood in those rooms at least every other week, and sometimes more than that, but I tell you the truth when I say that other than the DAY WE MOVED INTO THE HOUSE, and the times after that when we have rearranged furniture, I have NEVER washed those floors except the occasional spot cleaning. Reasons are as follows:

1) As I said, the finish is very worn down, and most of the wood floor cleaners specifically say not to use it on unfinished wood because it will just dry it out and make it look worse.

2) There is so much STUFF I would have to move to do a thorough job.

3) I figure, how actually DIRTY could those floors get? Surely the bulk of the dirt from shoes/feet comes off on the living room and hallway caret on the way to the bedrooms, or on the rugs in the bedrooms. It's got to be pretty much just dust and stray crumbs that end up on the edges of the room, right?

4) I don't care. I don't know why, but I just don't. No one's licking those floors.

About most other things, I am kind of finicky. I definitely mop the kitchen and front hallway regularly. So why this weird indifference to dirty bedroom floors?

What about you? What area of your house continually gets neglected, and why? And does it even bother you, or have you decided you just don't care?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The One With Almost No Links

You should all be very happy that Katy from Bird on the Street nominated me for a Happiness Award, because otherwise I was going to regale you today with a whole bunch of whining. Whining because- get this- after you go away for an impromptu romantic weekend in a faux castle in a giant forest far away from civilization but not far from a hot tub and wine glass, it turns out they make you come home again, and normal life is still RIGHT THERE waiting for you, with its sore throats and kids who become hysterical, Kleenex-shredding mental cases every time their nose gets a bit stuffy, and a dog who runs away and comes back so filthy that you realize there is really no other option but a bath. In a tub that was previously fairly clean.

But yeah... For a glorious twenty four hours, there was a (not really old, totally pretend) castle. In a misty forest. It was my favorite fantasy come true. If only I'd thought to bring my medieval garb. I'll post pictures soon. Of the CASTLE! CASTLE, PEOPLE!

For now, the award requires that I list ten things that make me happy, so here goes:

1) Jim introduced me to the show Brotherhood last night. And I am inexplicably hooked, though there is basically not a single character in it for which to root, and nobody I have a crush on, and, y'know, no CASTLES or anything. And there is gore and shadiness and people being beaten to death with shovels, so... I don't know why I like it? And maybe I have a problem? But I'm sensing the beginning of the end when it comes to The Office, so I really needed a new show to get into. Maybe it's pure desperation.

2) My saliva test results finally came in (they tested me throughout an entire cycle to measure eleven different hormone levels) and though they still want me to come in to the office (an hour away!) to discuss stuff, the nurse said from what she saw there was "nothing too crazy looking" in the results. I'll take that!

3)We have been on a bit of a buying spree lately- we got a new TV in November, and then for Christmas got a PS3. And Guitar Hero and Band Hero and et cetera. I've never been into, like, GAMES before, other than the Milton Bradley variety, but I am loving Guitar Hero. And I am loving how much better our picture quality is for movies using the PS3 instead of the DVD player. I'm also getting a new computer monitor next week, as mine is prehistoric and weighs as much as a cinder block, and I am VERY excited to see it go.

4) That last one sounded shallow and materialistic. But you guys, we were VERY frugal most of the year due to work cutbacks, and finally having a little fun money to spend is... fun. Way MORE fun, in fact, due to all the months of non spending. So there would be another happy thing: full salary again! High five!

5) Knock on wood, but so far this winter no one in our house has thrown up. Other than Dog, of course.

6) The Time Traveler's Wife comes out to rent/own February 9th. I CANNOT WAIT. SO EXCITED.

7) Playdate today!

8) Adelay is writing really well lately- she's known her letters for a long time, but has been very hesitant about trying to write anything. Now she can spell all of our names on her own, and write most other words as long as you dictate the letters to her.

9) Eli and Addy have inexplicably become obsessed with the song Livin' On A Prayer (thank you, Guitar Hero!) and last night Jim heard Eli singing it in his sleep. It's particularly hilarious to hear him lisp "We'll make it, I swear" in his little baby voice.

10) Did I mention CASTLE!?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Weekend

Happy birthday, Mom! Our gift to you is these lovely, lovely grandchildren, whom we promise to continue leaving on your doorstep quite frequently!

Jeni is either delighted or outraged by her bowling score. I can't quite remember. But I do remember that she and I both discovered just how delicious bowling alley daiquiris can be.

Aunt Laura was happy to be back home for the weekend. Maybe not so happy to have my camera two inches from her face.

Aunt Rachel and Clint may live the farthest away, but they quickly reminded the kids of their general awesomeness by instigating several stroller races through the zoo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Mouth of Babes

I have a CRAP LOAD of pictures I want to download and post, but apparently cleaning up the kitchen was more important to me, so here we are. What to say, what to say...

Oh I know. I'll tell you a couple hilarious/tragic things Addy has said to me lately, apparently with the purpose of breaking my heart.

Thing the First: Jim and I have at long last decided that we need an actual babysitter, rather than just hoping that at least ONE of our many relatives will be available at the drop of a hat to take our kids. We procured the services of a girl from our church; a girl, interestingly, that I used to babysit when I was her age. Anyways, I was explaining to Adelay that from now on, on Thursday nights, either Mom or Dad was going to go pick up the new babysitter and she would stay here at our house for a few hours while Mommy and Daddy went out together.

The child's face just LIT UP with joy, you guys. Which, you know, I thought was a little odd given that I had basically just explained that we would be abandoning them on a weekly basis. But then I heard her response. "You're going to bring me a baby sister?!" she screeched delightedly.

Ouch. Outwardly I just laughed and explained the concept of a baby SITTER, but inwardly I was thinking, "We'll try, honey. We will try."

Thing the Second: The other day Addy and Eli were driving me just up the WALL with their version of playing, which was screaming and chasing and fighting and pinching and SITTING ON EACH OTHER. After I had patiently tried to redirect their games and encourage them to be gentler and quieter about three times, I finally stuck my head in the play room and snapped, "HUSH! If you can't play without screaming, then one of you go to another room!"

Addy stood up with a very injured look on her face, put her arm around Eli, and said plaintively, "Mama (please note she rarely calls me "Mama"- it's almost always "Mom,") stop yelling at us! Please love us!"

O.M.G. I didn't know whether to burst into tears of guilt or tears of laughter from this Little Orphan Annie routine. "Please love us?!" Jeesh. We are really in for it when this girl gets old enough to debate with us for real.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We Are Fam-ileee!

Sorry for the no posting/no commenting sitch- both my out of state sisters were here for the weekend with their significant others, plus it was my mom's birthday Friday, plus Jim's aunt was in town Saturday, so... We've seriously been so busy with eating and talking and eating and taking pictures and eating and opening belated Christmas gifts and eating and catching up with cousins and EATING that I have barely had time to SHOWER, let alone compose anything worth reading.

The kids have been besides themselves with glee, of course, from all the nonstop fun and attention and snacking and bowling and no naps and late bedtimes, and wait what's this, there are also MORE Christmas presents?! And the fun's not over yet- we're tagging along to the zoo today with Aunt Rachel and Clint for their engagement photo shoot, and how often do you get to go to the zoo in January on a Monday? When it's above thirty degrees out? We are going to be positively spoiled for normal life after the last four days.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Watched Pot Does Boil (Over)

Hmm, well that last post got a lot of response (for my blog anyways!) I kind of figured it would. In my experience, people are usually very eager to talk about what is "normal" in terms of relationships. It's such a hard thing to gauge or assess when you're so close to your own situation- it's basically impossible to be objective.

What I often think is that marital problems of the more slow-simmering, daily irritant type are sometimes a bigger deal than the giant, blow-up issues like cheating or having secret credit cards with enormous balances. The little stuff can and often does stay unsaid for so long, sometimes, and usually because the person bottling things up thinks they're doing the mature, unselfish thing: not rocking the boat over trivial, petty stuff that probably wasn't done with any malice anyways. However, almost inevitably those little petty things boil over all at once, causing both parties to kind of step back in shock and say, "WHHAAA? I thought we were FINE!" And the attacked party to demand, fairly enough, "If you're so mad why didn't you SAY something?"

So in this way, I think the little stuff can be more dangerous than the big stuff. I know this is a widely acknowledged fact and I'm not announcing anything brilliant or new, but it bears repeating, I think.

Therefore, what I'm curious about, as long as we're on the topic of how we deal with relationship issues, is this: do you think it's better to come right out and SAY every little thing as soon as you feel mad about it, to prevent the Simmering Rage problem, or is it better to shut up about it if you can, to avoid coming off as a nagging, harping, chronically dissatisfied partner/spouse? I've tried both ways with varying degrees of success, and I'm honestly not sure which makes for a healthier, happier relationship. So tell me!

*Oh and remember it IS National Delurking Day, so even if you don't think you have anything to contribute to the relationship conversation, just say hi, ok?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Keeping Score

Here's a Fun Fact before I dive into a semi-heavy topic: I just sawed off and consumed about four cookies worth' of dough that I had mixed up and frozen in a roll for later use. And I... I don't feel sick at all. It was delicious and now I'm also a little Awake! I feel like it probably says something a little worrisome about the state of my stomach that that much raw dough did NOT make me queasy.

So now the semi-heavy. Last night Jim and I got into- well, not an argument, just a discussion that turned into a discussion using somewhat prickly and sharp voices. It started with him remarking, not for the first time, about how nice it would be if I would actually feel compelled to get up with the alarm in the morning, so that I could help HIM get up with the alarm instead of slamming it on snooze, zombie-like, over and over again. He is a very deep sleeper. Deep like I often worry about burglars and fires and medical emergencies that would require him to wake up suddenly. He is fully capable of getting up, walking to the dresser to turn off the alarm, having a conversation with me about how he really must get up now, while still remaining technically unconscious.

But. I don't HAVE to get up until the kids do, and so I usually don't, because while I am not AS deep a sleeper as Jim (ever since the days of babies and nursing,) I am still by no means a morning person or a naturally early riser, and neither are my offspring. They have never been up at the crack of dawn like most kids- they usually wake up between eight and eighty thirty, so that's when I get up, too. The downside of this is that they're usually not fully settled into bed for the night until eight thirty or nine, which is, like, HOURS later than a lot of kids I know. However since I am not at all a morning person and never feel like it's really morning until the sun is up, this late-waking, kind of late-to-bed schedule has always worked out for me pretty well and I've never felt compelled to change it.

In the beginning I thought it was the good mama thing to do, because all the books about nursing on demand said to find the baby's natural rhythms and let them dictate how your day goes, if possible. And for me it WAS possible, so that's what we did. Both my baby's natural rhythms were to stay up kind of late and wake up kind of late. But now I realize that the days of internal infant timetables are kind of over, and it would probably be best for us all to be waking up and starting our day together. It would also be good for Addy to get used to waking up around seven if she's going to go to preschool in the fall.

I've had this mental conversation with myself many times- as well as actual verbal conversations with Jim- about how I REALLY MUST get up earlier and get our day going sooner so we're not still in pajamas and washing breakfast bowls out at ten AM. And how it would really help Jim to feel a sense of "Hey! It's morning time!" if the rest of the house was getting up too. But I guess the morning me is much more selfish than the daytime, rational me, because I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've actually followed through on those conversations.

So Jim has a very reasonable point and it is not a wholly selfish request at all. Yet my immediate response was to begin listing the things I wish HE would do for me that often go undone. My list included more intangible requests, like more compliments and praise and more cuddling and physically affectionate gestures (um, of a non MARITAL nature- I'm talking about snuggling on the couch here, people.) And these were also not completely ridiculous or unreasonable requests- affection is important to me, and sometimes it's hard for me to FEEL loved, even when I know quite well, mentally, that someone loves me, without the little romantic gestures more often observed between dating people than people with children and mortgages and slowly leaking pipes in their laundry room. (WHICH HAHA HA THERE'S A WHOLE 'NOTHER POST!)

What's bothering me about my response is that it's so SCORE KEEPY. Why can I not just hear a request/complaint, especially one that is not really accusatory or mean and certainly not unfair or unreasonable, and just try to meet the need, if possible? Why do I always get so defensive and then feel the need to make sure the other person knows what THEY do wrong, too? My points may have been valid, but they weren't things that I was feeling any urgency about discussing until HE started a discussion about an area in which I could be more supportive of him. SO what? Have I just been mentally storing up every little slight and wrong to have on hand for ammunition in just such a discussion? That's... not cool.

You know that passage from Corinthians that lots of people have read at their weddings? The Love Chapter? I'm pretty sure there's a part in there that says "Love keeps no record of wrongs."

Guess I need to work on that a bit. Dang it, I resolved not to make any New Year's resolutions and yet they just keep smacking me in the forehead.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Baker's Dozen

You know how people always joke that no one should ever get kids real gifts, and instead just give them boxes and toilet paper rolls and stuff because that's all they really play with anyways?

Well, I kind of disagree, because I have seen my kids thoroughly enjoy plenty of real toys. But I have to agree that kids do seem weirdly drawn to certain toys that don't SEEM all that fun to me. Here's the toy that has caused me to finally voice this observation:

Ok. Well. I thought that I could steal a nice Internet picture to put right here, but I can't find one and so I have no picture because I am also too lazy to go take one right now. But they're donuts. It's a dozen plastic donuts, with interchangeable disks of various toppings- some plain frosting, some sprinkles, some jimmies. Addy got this set for her birthday, so... about three months now, they've been in the house, and they are still by far the most popular toy in our house. Every day I have to search every room of the house to find all the different donuts and toppings, because they are inevitably strewn everywhere, and they will inevitably be sought out again the next day and if they are not all together in their box there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I just don't really get it. They're donuts. I see that it's novel, and that for kitchen play they would be fun to pretend to bake and decorate. But beyond that? I don't get how I find the donuts intermingled in the Victorian dollhouse and the Lego box and the dinosaur figurines and the race cars. How does one incorporate donuts and, say, the toy barn and farm animals? But they do it.

And also, I hardly ever SEE them getting the donuts out of their box. All I know is that I pick them up each night, and then at some point during each day, they sort of get assimilated into every other game and activity (and shoved underneath every piece of furniture.)

Also, perhaps not coincidentally, Curious George and The Donut Delivery is the most requested bedtime story lately.

Any weird or surprising toys that are popular at your house?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Rhymes With "Furby"

Suggestions for stay at home parents approached by traveling vacuum cleaner salespeople at two thirty PM:

-Do not believe them when they tell you that the demonstration will only take "an hour or so." "Or so," in salesperson-speak, translates to "or three."

-Do not be lured by their offer to remove any stains on your carpet or upholstery if you'll just allow them to do their demo. Those stains you can deal with. The shame and feeling of violation from being subjected to their demo? You're going to live with that forever.

-Do not think that your firm, initial pronouncement of "I am NOT going to buy this vacuum cleaner" is in any way going to deter them from trying to convince you to eat that statement. Do not think that they even HEAR you when you say things like that.

-Once you have allowed these people inside, do not have any hope of getting anything done for the next three hours. You are their prisoner now. Even saying things like, "I have company coming in thirty minutes!" will barely seem to register on these people's radars as they continue waving freshly procured containers of mattress dust in your face and demanding, "Do you want your CHILDREN sleeping in this?!"

-Also note that these people don't arrive in their own vehicle. They get dropped off, with their vacuum cleaner- er, I mean, HOME MAINTENANCE SYSTEM- and then have to wait for their ride. Which is apparently NOT COMING until you agree to keep said home maintenance system.

-Do not believe them when they write down an initial figure of $2150 as the going rate for this vacuum. An hour later, after much insistence from you that no one in your house is paying the cost of a TROPICAL VACATION for a VACUUM CLEANER, the offer will be down to $700.

-This offer, they will insist, is COSTING THEM money, but they just can't bear to leave you here with your sad, broken down, inefficient canister vacuum that is basically BLOWING AROUND FILTH every time you vacuum. They just CAN'T DO IT. They will be near tears at this point, imploring you to THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

-You should know that smirking and accusing them of being the Mother Theresa of vacuum salesmen, what with their kindhearted generosity and selflessness, will in no way stop their tangent. They will only agree that yes, that is pretty much the situation at this point, and you would be a foolish and ungrateful woman to refuse such an act of charity when you SO OBVIOUSLY are in need.

-Finally agree to call your (unsuspecting, soon to be bewildered) husband at work and present him with the offer, since you insist that you're not going to make such a big purchase without consulting him. Allow the salespeople to hear you try your darndest to convince your husband of the vacuum's merit, allow them to hear the great disappointment in your voice when you fail, and assure them that you are indeed brokenhearted, but now you REALLY MUST send them on their way before you BLUDGEON THEM TO DEATH with the many attachments for the home maintenance system, all twenty of which are now littering your living room.

Suggestions for Vacuum Cleaner Salespeople:

-Do not offer a mom of small children a crappy little jar candle in exchange for taking up three hours of her afternoon. Especially when those three hours were going to involve a shower, a napping toddler, and several loads of laundry, all of which are about to go undone. The candle is just adding insult to injury at this point.

-When enthusiastically demonstrating the horsehair dusting attachment, try not to wildly jerk around the homeowner's lamps, vases, picture frames, etc. leaving these objects askew and teetering precariously from their shelves. Nearly breaking people's stuff is not going to further endear you.

-Nor is forgetting to close the dirt canister, and sucking up a bunch of black soot from behind the fireplace only to deposit it all over the off white carpet. It may provide another opportunity to demonstrate your remarkable carpet shampooer tool, sure, but it makes you look kind of like a tool as well.

-There is no need to remark on the fingerprints all over the homeowner's TV. This has nothing to do with your demonstration and is therefore off limits.

-Don't suggest that a particular attachment (ambiguously called the "it" tool) could be useful for MASSAGING THE FAMILY DOG. Just... wth?

-Please try not to scare the household children by playfully sucking at their clothes with the vacuum hose.

-Trying to win them back over by blowing up balloons with the air compressor tool will probably be a big success, though. Good work there.

Bonus Fun!

Which of the following will happen immediately after getting rid of the vacuum salespeople?

A: Realization that house is fairly trashed and that the shampooed areas of carpet and upholstery are NOT yet dry as was promised.

B: Desperate run to shower and clean up before cousins and pizza and husband arrive (due in twenty minutes.)

C: Son will, for first time in his life, unroll an entire spool of TP into the toilet and flush repeatedly, so that upon tearing open the shower curtain, your naked, dripping self is greeted with the sight of a flooded bathroom and a sopping wet toddler.

D: A Fair Amount of wine will be consumed, and you will eventually cry in despair.

E: You realize the next morning that a LOT of the disaster that was the previous day can now be chalked up to PMS.

F: All of the above. And more.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Adelay goes to a dance class on Wednesday nights at five thirty. This normally wouldn't interfere too much with dinner, since we usually eat kind of late for families with small kids- probably between six and seven most nights. But Wednesdays are kind of rough, because the kids also like going to our church's kids' activities that night, which start at six thirty. I also have a women's group I like to make it to on Wednesdays, which starts as soon as we get our kids situated in their respective classes at church.(Using "group" pretty loosely here, btw- usually it's three or four people eating chocolate and discussing recently read books, sweet/annoying things our kids have done, rehashing birth/pregnancy woes, etc. But occasionally there's serious talk, or an actual study we go through, so I still think it counts as a church group!) So for about an hour or so, Wednesday nights always feel a little rushed and frantic.

Last night was particularly rough, as I had decided to try a new recipe for dinner that I THOUGHT would make the routine simpler, but in fact took about twice as long as I thought it would to prepare. I was frazzled, rushing Adelay to please eat her dinner, get out of her leotard and tights and into her jeans, and out the door in time to make it to her class at a still acceptable although definitely late time. As I hustled her slowpoke self into the car, I clapped my hands together in exasperation and said, "Addy! Let's move it- chop chop!"

She turned around with deep annoyance on her face and exclaimed, "Mom! You are always chop chopping me! Stop chopping me!"

Sigh. Maybe I need to make another New Year's Resolution: erase "chop chop" from my vocabulary.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Chivalry Is Not Dead

You know how sometimes reading novels that are even remotely romantic leave you feeling a little sour, like, "Oh sure. I bet there are just TONS of guys out there that would rather stay up all night watching their beloved sleep than actually roll over and fall asleep too." This applies to romantic movies, too. I've noticed in romantic comedies, the heroine is often neurotic and controlling, but these qualities are portrayed as being endearing and quirky. Whereas in real life, most guys would watch a chick spaz out about, say, the difference between tap and bottled water, and then head for the hills on the next vehicle that comes by.

Um, ANYways, my point was that a few days ago I was driving behind this older couple in a van, and when we stopped at a light, the guy reached across to the woman and took her hand in his, very tenderly. Then he kissed the back of it, like a medieval courtier, before cradling it against his face until the light turned and he had to drive again.

Sweetest. Thing. Ever. Men, take note! Not only will this smooth move win your girl's heart at least temporarily, it will also cause women in other vehicles to sigh and swoon over your chivalry.

Friday, January 01, 2010


A few days ago, Erin challenged us to choose a word (last year her word was "quiet" for example) to aim for this year rather than a list of resolutions, so that's what I'm going to do.

Um, well, except I AM resolving to meal plan and grocery shop better. I want to be a better cook, and a healthier cook, and I want to set up a better pantry-stocking system so that putting together simple and tasty and reasonably nutritious meals doesn't feel so daunting some nights. And mornings and afternoons.

But back to the main thing: my word this year is perspective. I feel like I cause myself a lot of unnecessary emotional turmoil by blowing things out of proportion in my own head and stewing, only to wake up in the morning and think, "Oh hey. Everything's fine and the world is still turning and maybe we were all just in a bit of a funk last night. Maybe we actually are not terrible parents with out of control kids, and maybe Jim and I don't really have fundamentally incompatible personalities but maybe we just all had four separate, incompatible cases of Bad Mood. Huh."

I feel like I have this little mental chat with myself at least a few times a month (maybe more often at certain times of the month, yes, har har, hormones are JUST SO FUNNY) and it's so silly and repetitive and AM I LEARNING NOTHING HERE? This can apply to areas other than marriage and parenting, too- friendships, family relationships, one's job, household stuff. For example another area I really struggle with in terms of perspective is our house, and the cleanness/orderliness thereof. I am constantly fretting about dust on windowsills and dog hair in corners, and then having to beat myself over the head with a stick of, "You are home all day with two kids. A perfectly clean house would be abnormal and possibly even abusive, because it would mean your kids are tied up and ignored in order to MAINTAIN that level of cleanness."

Something I've also been pondering lately is that while having a clean and tidy house feels great to me- for those two blissful seconds before it all gets destroyed again- it's a little dismaying to add up how many hours a day/week/YEAR I would have to spend cleaning and picking up in order to actually achieve an always perfect home. I don't want to look back and realize I spent the majority of my twenties vacuuming dog hair off the sofa and putting the same Legos back in their box ten times a day, you know? So I have been trying, the last two weeks, to spend decidedly less time fretting about how these rooms look and more enjoying how we all FEEL relaxing and playing and enjoying each other and wearing polar fleece clothing all day long.

What are some areas in which you would like to gain perspective this year?