Friday, August 30, 2013

Sitting Around

(Photo completely unrelated to this post, but after reading it you might find a subliminal reasoning for using this particular photo. Besides, Mike gets disappointed when there isn't a photo with a post.)

Last week, Mike and I got into a doozy of an argument. I'll sum it up by telling you this much, Mike eventually reached a point he was really mad at me. (I can count on one hand he's ever been that mad.) To which I replied, "I'm just trying to make a point." To which he then replied, "Oh, you're making it alright."

I continued "making my point" and he continued being mad at me for longer than either of us needed to engage in such drollness.

Blah, blah, blah, the details don't really matter, but this part does.

A dinner meeting with some business associates.
Some pretty hefty business talk.
One comment made by someone referring to his wife who works a job away from home, and said, "She wouldn't want to just sit around."
To which I replied, "Not sure any stay at home mother does "just sit around."
I may or may not have ended the dinner appointment with a pretty stinky attitude, and Mike may or may not have been slightly embarrassed of my sudden change of attitude toward said dinner companions.

And then mine and Mike's next few days went rapidly downhill.
Not because Mike does or doesn't think I "sit around", but because I chose to take offense by the guys comment, when no offense was meant.

It wasn't that I was offended per se, I just have a passion (and protection) for mothers.
All mothers.

Today I'm talking about those that stay home and have no outside employment.

We don't "sit around".

I honestly don't care if women choose to work, or need to work to help provide financially. What I do care about is when people (I've heard it more times than I'd like), make comments like, "Would get bored at home" or "Wouldn't want to sit around" or "Want to be actually doing something." (Those are all exact words I have had said to me over the years by people I know.)

Now. Perhaps some mothers would feel bored, or feel like they are sitting around, or feel as though they are not doing something if they don't have paid employment. That is very fair to say-just as some don't feel as fulfilled by motherhood in and of itself as some do. Fine by me. Just don't assume that those of us that do stay home fit that same criteria.

We're all different. And though "words are just words" they can totally set me off.

I am rarely bored, I never "sit around" and I am pretty much always doing something.

Mike and I have made the decision to go without a lot of "extra" things and have me stay home. I will absolutely admit there are afternoons I may sit outside on a chair and read a book, but I wouldn't classify that as "sitting around." If my child starts throwing up that night, I'm the one that will likely be holding the ponytail as vomit falls into the toilet, and if a child has a bad dream, I am most often the one to go help. Not that Mike doesn't do those things, but we've always had the arrangement that if there is a sleepless night, I can be more sluggish the next day than he can. (Laundry can wait. Business deadlines can not.)

As for wanting to be doing something. I do quite a bit BECAUSE I don't have a job to go to. I volunteer at the school, write articles for various web-sites, take cookies to the bus-stop, involve myself with Power of Moms stuff, etc. etc. All things I would likely not be able to fit in, were I to fit in 20-40 hours a week for paid employment.

As for being bored?
Don't get me started on that.
MAYBE I got bored once in a while earlier on in my career when I had one child and not enough personal interests. Boredom now seems like a desirable, yet elusive reward I will likely never attain.

That's all.
Rant over.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Year

We take back-to-school photos in the exact same spot every year since Megan started 1st grade in 2005. The silly Japanese Maple tree next to them hasn't grown at all over the years, fortunately the children have.

Like I said to Drew as we exited the school on Monday morning, "It's just you and me now." Of course it was said through tears after we left Luke in his 6th grade classroom, Ellie in a 4th grade portable, and Joshua in the 1st grade classroom I left Megan in 8 years ago.

I'd already walked Megan half way to the bus stop an hour or so earlier.

Back to school is a bittersweet time for me. As much as my children make me C.R.A.Z.Y. during the long, lazy days of summer, I do enjoy them. Monday morning as I watched them eat breakfast, I ignored the climbing on the table to reach the syrup and I didn't yell at anyone to remove the backpack from the kitchen table. I didn't even comment on the syrup and powdered sugar that seemed to entirely miss anyone's french toast and went straight on the table instead. I just looked at them and smiled and thought about how much I love them. I thought about how hard it is to send them back to school, despite knowing full well had summer been much longer, it would have certainly done one or more of us in.
As we left the school, Drew asked, "Can we go to the dollar store right now? I really want a fishing 'pool'."(pole) I drove him straight there and promptly bought him the fishing pole he's had his heart set on for weeks, and threw in a couple other purchases for him too.

I feel as though I'm going to find myself bending to the whims of my 4 year old for the duration of this school year. Especially as I hear him playing nearby speaking into a pretend walkie talkie and saying, "Joshua, do you read me? Joshua, are you there?" Of course, Joshua is not responding like he did all summer long. Joshua is instead sitting in a classroom, while Drew plays alone at home.

I think I'll go answer the walkie talkie call-out. I know by now what really matters...

Less dishes getting done, more puzzles put together.
Fewer pieces of furniture getting dusted, more games being played.
Not so much of a rush for the laundry to get switched, patiently reading more books with a child on my lap.

One more year, til they all go to school.
I no longer count the months.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Good Parenting

Sometimes we take our children to a BMX bike track and let them ride and race.

We allow our 4 year old to do it too.
(Luke may or may not have a few issues that for some reason no photos of him were taken, yet he was the reason we went.)

Sometimes Mike and I get carried away in conversation.

We don't keep our eyes on all our children all of the time.

Sometimes nice people get our attention to tell us our child is bleeding.

We are greeted by a bloody faced child and have no idea where the blood is coming from.

Sometimes Dad takes charge and gets it *cleaned up* with borrowed napkins before Mother takes a picture.  
We figure out the blood is from a big nose bleed after the nose crashed into the handle bars.

Sometimes Mike thinks blood all over the handlebars is cool and insists I get photos of it.
Our children can't wait to go back.
Even Drew.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Actually A Little Vacation

Mike still claims it wasn't exactly a "vacation." I think it was pretty darn close. Regardless, we enjoyed a few days together as a family at beautiful Bear Lake. I haven't been there for years, and had forgotten how much I love that place.

"Does Ariel live in Bear Lake?"-Drew
"I'll buy you ice cream if you jump off the diving board?"-Megan
"I'll buy you ice cream if you go down the water slide?"-Megan
"What will you buy me ice cream for doing?"-Luke
"We're going to Idaho? Yessssss!"-Joshua

"This is a fun 'fa-cation', huh?"
"I love how pretty, pretty beautiful Bear Lake is."-Drew
"Yesterday, when we went to Mexico, I mean Idaho..."-Joshua
"Will you hand me my phone?"-Mike (repeated over and over)
"I've never swam so much in my life."-Megan

"Do you want to play a game?"-Ellie (repeated over and over)
"Can we rent a paddle board or a kayak?"-Luke (repeated over and over)
"Welcome to Home Family Primary."-Mike
"Heavenly Father was a good landscaper."-Mike
"Do you know Jesus loves us really hard?"-Drew
"This has been my favorite part of the trip. Sitting here in the evenings with this view."-Tiffany

"You're really going to exercise in a collar-ed shirt?"-Tiffany
"Who says I'm exercising?"-Mike
Day three: "GROSS!! I knew it! The boys haven't even unwrapped the bar of soap by their sink upstairs. How have they been washing their hands?"-Megan
"I did it on purpose. Did that mean I did it on naughty?" "Oh. I did it on accident."-Drew
"Relax Mike, it's just a little chocolate milkshake he dropped on your foot. Remember, he's six!"-Tiffany
"Bye Bear Lake."-Drew and Joshua

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Eight Zero

My grandmother recently turned 80!
We had a family party/bbq for her. It was elegant, yet simple. A wonderful tribute to a fabulous lady. One of my favorite things of the night, was the opportunity to reflect on what a great life she has lived in her 80 years, and the far-reaching influence she has had on people.

The evening made me realize how seldom we truly recognize people and their greatness. It seems too often we wait until funerals to tell funny stories, recall fond memories, or to honor a specific person we love.

Loved this evening!
Loved it.
Loved it.
Loved it.
Love my grandmother too!

Two birthdays, one day! My nephew Caleb who turned 18 and grandmother who turned 80!
Don't look if you're on my Christmas card list. This may be it. No formal family photos this year for us.

80 years! Here's to many more.

Monday, August 19, 2013

No Pressure, Just Love

I tried to talk Luke out of the county fair this year. But to no avail. He wouldn't even consider it, unless you count the pleasing side of his personality that relented with, "Well, I guess if you really don't want me to, I don't have to."

Shortly after my arrival at the fair, I remembered how much I actually do love the sights and sounds of the county fair--meaning, the 4H livestock judging portion of it. The sights, sounds, and smells make me feel as though I'm in a movie. The cows mooing in the background, animals being cleaned and trimmed, cowboy looking men swearing when a cow steps on their food, goats and sheep making noises, the misters spraying the pigs, and so on. For someone like me, who clearly considers herself a city gal, and a definite outsider amongst everyone else there, there is something charming about this part of the fair.

There are people dressed to the nines (in a 4H county fair type of way), and then there is me whose only rule of thumb is to wear closed toe shoes. (Figured that out finally my third year into it!--Next year, (I'm sure they'll be a next year, I will wear socks and tennis shoes!)

I love seeing the people in their white shirts with the 4H badge attached to the left arm, some of them so starched I'm surprised they can bend their arms to hold an animal leash. I love seeing the extension cords set up outside a goat pen to accommodate curling irons and makeshift beauty parlors. There are mothers who think this is some kind of beauty pageant extension, and fathers who think this is the make or break event of their child's farming life.

Then there was me sitting reading a book, Joshua coloring at my side, waiting patiently (keyword) for Luke's events. Neither Mike or I have had any involvement in the raising of goats, there is no multi-generational goat raising going on around here. We weren't part of any big family groups waiting anxiously for awards and accolades. There are no pressures of long standing traditions of Sowby's winning and succeeding in the 4H division of any fair. We're just along for the ride. I wasn't feeling any competition or pressure that some of those around me were. For me, all it's about is 2 goats, a boy, and a whole lotta love.

 (The lower middle photo on the poster is of Lily, and the caption above it says, "In memory of Lily, 2012-13". Made me cry.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Few Days of Nothing

The kids and I enjoyed a few days in Park City with my parents. It was a delightful, relaxing few days, even if my dad and I may have had a few complaints. (Him complaining about being asphyxiated by a generator while relaxing by the pool was totally justified!)  I like to think the free craft class I received for my children was justified too, after I made a kind inquiry about why in the world the hot dogs we had ordered were taking 35 minutes to cook.

I didn't however say a word, other than pick up all our food and drinks and moving abruptly to a different dining table at a restaurant, when A DOG got too close to me and my artichoke dip appetizer. My dad wanted to complain, and in hindsight, we should have. Who brings their dog into a restaurant, even if it is an outdoor seating area? The seating area was enclosed and it was NOT a service animal!
End of rant.

My mother of course, gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and was always quick to smile. My dad and I could benefit from taking a cue from her once in a while.

Regardless. Our few days in Park City were quite relaxing...
swimming, shopping, zip-lining, game playing, eating, and generally doing nothing.


Drew of course had to have a monkey floatie as soon as he saw it, and Nana obliged him. (It was quickly dubbed "Monkey Man.") Naturally Joshua, although hadn't paid any attention to the for sale floaties up to that point, had to have the turtle one, when he saw Drew with the monkey one. Perk of having Nana there--I would never have paid those inflated prices!
The practice course before they rode the gondola up the mountain to the bigger zip line that they then zipped down while propelled 110 feet above ground, potentially reaching speeds of 45mph. (Or so the pamphlet says.) Glad I wasn't where I could see them!

Good times, good memories, good company.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day Camp

A while ago, Megan did a neighborhood day camp for a second year in a row. This year 11 girls attended (one went home sick right before this photo). It began with me entertaining the girls for the first 30 minutes (believe me, a post (in fact an article) for another day). Megan filled the two day camp with all sorts of things from crafts, sewing, swimming, reading, dancing, singing, baking, and ended with an outdoor movie for siblings and other neighbors.
Drew was content to be included in most things... "I like this day camp even if we aren't doing a hike."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Memories are Made of This

Sunday night some of our dearest friends, Keith and Brandi and their girls came over for dinner. The first time I met Keith and Brandi was a month before Mike and I got married, when we and a bunch of other people were going on a camping/boating trip to Lake Mead.

I should have known Brandi and I would become kindred friends after our first conversation--about sweaty armpit stains. I adored Brandi from the get-go, and we have many cherished memories with these dear friends.

As is typical of our time together, we spent the time talking about this, that, and everything. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we are talking about such heavy stuff, the whole world seems to rest on our shoulders alone. Then we'll snap back into conversation about something that lightens the mood, and all is right in the world again.

Sunday night, as the sun was setting, the four of us adults sat around a table on our back patio. All the children, with the exception of the newborn in Brandi's arms, were playing a few yards away from us. The noises coming from the children sounded like their numbers were multiplied, but there was nothing but joy and laughter emanating from that area of the garden.

As I looked at the children playing, I couldn't help but think aloud that what we were seeing and hearing is what I believe those children's memories will be filled of when they one day recall time spent with the Wieland/Sowby families together.

I wish I had taken a photo of the four of us adults at the table. You see, years ago, just 2 months into this dear friendship, the below photo was taken. By photographic standards it's a pretty poor photo, but as far as truly capturing a moment and a feeling, it is one of my all-time favorites. It is the 4 of us, sitting on a tiny back patio one Saturday evening over 16 years ago. If we were to reminisce about that evening now, we would likely say none of us had any cares in the world. No stresses and no heavy life experiences. We likely would remember us feeling as though we had our entire lives ahead of us.

All of which are mostly true. It was a different time.

Sunday night as Brandi and I visited, part of our conversation took us to the fact that in a year from now, all of my children will be in school, and in 2 years from now, all of my children will be in school full-time. No longer something I count the days until. Although, a few years back in my mothering, I know I did.

A few hours after that conversation, as our goodbyes were being said, Brandi's 4 year old pee-ed her pants as she was getting into the car. As Brandi and I returned to the house to retrieve some clean-up items, Brandi, in that moment of frustration all of us mothers have, quipped sarcastically, "And how much longer do I have dealing with this stuff?!?" (She just had a baby 2 months ago.)

Almost in harmony we both said aloud my favorite phrase, which she is known to quote often now too, "The days are long, but the years are short."

It is so cliche, but OH SO TRUE!

I returned to the house after the final goodbyes were said. After banishing everybody upstairs, I chose to finish cleaning up the kitchen alone. My mind immediately went to the fond memory of our KFC dinner on our tiny patio. Life has changed. No longer would any of us feel as though we have no stresses, or never experienced any heavy life experiences. And although we are all still "young", I know none of us feel like we have our whole lives ahead of us as we did 16 years ago sitting in mismatched chairs, half of which didn't belong outside.

Time passes quickly.
Lives change.
Hair starts turning grey.
More pounds stick to our bones.

Now when we get together we sit outside on matching patio furniture chairs. If we wanted a photo of us, we'd have any number of children to ask to take it, instead of using a self-timer old fashioned roll of film camera. Our conversations are frequently interrupted by children and teenagers.

The days are long.
But they're good.


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