On Saying No

As a mom, I say “no” a lot. You know, when kids ask me for candy for breakfast or to wear shorts to school on a 40 degree day-no is the answer, hands down. Sometimes I relent and give in, if the issue isn’t really worth fighting over (still no on the candy for breakfast though). However, I’m terrible about saying no when it comes to me personally.

I am a board member on our little league board and the hockey association board that my kids play for. Both these positions require huge amounts of my free time during their respective seasons (I’m responding to emails about hockey while writing this post). For the most part, I love being a part of these organizations; I get to know the parents and the kids for the divisions that I run, and I’ve known some of these families for years now. I also just finished up a volunteer coordinator position for the soccer tournament that my son’s league hosts. It was an intense month of work leading up to the tournament, as well as 24 hours of face time on the fields during the tournament itself. I enjoyed every minute of it, despite needing almost a week to recover from the weekend.

All these positions are things that I volunteer to do of my own free will, but sometimes I wonder why I agree to do them. Yes, I enjoy seeing my hard work come to fruition. Yes, I am very organized when it comes to these kind of responsibilities (but you can’t find my countertop or my desk because I have SO.MUCH.PAPER and my kids don’t always have clean folded clothes in their rooms). Yes, I like getting to know people and yes, I like making others happy. However, these things don’t always make me happy and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s time to say no.

I’ve already decided that this is my last year on the hockey board. I only have one skater left in the organization (Drew) and after 4 years, I’m ready to pass on my knowledge to someone else. The frustration with people who don’t listen or respect me outweighs my happiness in running a good division. I’m on the fence with staying on the little league board as well; this past season was too disorganized for my liking.

With all my volunteer jobs taking up large chunks of my free time, I haven’t had much “me” time since Annie and Izzie went to kindergarten last year. The plans I put in place for myself haven’t come to fruition and that saddens me. Sometimes my “me” time is sitting staring at my phone, playing Candy Crush, because it’s all the energy I can muster. I deserve better, and quite frankly, so do my kids. I think saying no is going to make me the happiest yet.

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Five for Five ~ Listening

I may be a day late but I’m completing the final day of Momalom’s Five for Five. The topic is Listening.

I spend many hours a day wishing for my kids to stop talking all.at.once. Their words get jumbled all together, so when Izzie is really trying to tell me that she wants pancakes for breakfast I’m not hearing her but I’m hearing Drew talk about Pokemon. I haven’t yet made the kids realize that all their talking over and around each other causes me to tune them out. I ask them to speak to me one at a time, but it’s a process we’re still trying to work out. The constant need to talk all at once leaves us all a little frustrated.

At night, though, when they’re all in bed, I listen for their voices. I force Doug to watch the tv on a lower volume, in case one of them starts to cry or coughs or whimpers for me. I listen for little voices calling for me to find a lost stuffed friend or to give a hug because of a bad dream. I listen for footsteps running down the hall to the bathroom or my bedroom, or clunking down the stairs. There is no tuning out at night, only tuning in.

My days are filled with their cacophany of words and I spend time trying to sort through them and give each child their due, but at night I can tell each little voice and footstep without any effort at all. I’m always listening to them, even when they’re asleep.

Five for Five ~Age

Today’s Five for Five topic at Momalom is Age.

Age: the length of time during which a being or thing has existed; length of life or existence to the time spoken of or referred to.

Eleven. Seven. Five. It’s hard to believe that my children have only existed for such small lengths of time. Haven’t they always been here? Twenty one; the length of time my husband has been a part of my life. Thirteen; the length of time we’ve been married.

The years blend together, filled with new homes, tiny socks, hockey sticks, books, papers, favorite stuffed friends, tears, smiles, hugs. First birthdays suddenly morph into 11th birthdays, first wedding anniversaries become tenth and almost fourteenth. The tiny socks become bigger, little ones fit into the clothes of their older sister, transporting me back in time.

Forty. My husband’s age and almost my own. We’re older, more gray, a little thicker around the middle than we were when we first met at 19. We’ve grown up together, celebrated births, deaths, built our forever home, fought, loved, cried, laughed. He’s still Doug, I’m still Kristin, despite the gray, despite our age.

We’ll all keep growing older, but I think that I’ll still be surprised at how little time seems to have passed. I’ll look around and Meg will be off to college, Drew to high school and the twins to middle school and it will still seem so much just like today. Eleven. Seven. Five. Twenty one. Forty. The numbers won’t matter much, as long as we’re still us.

Five for Five and Just Write ~ Words

Linking up with the fabulous ladies at Momalom and the wonderful Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary for Five for Five and Just Write today.

My days are filled with words from the moment I get up until the moment I go to sleep at night. I have my daily “just eat your breakfast and go get dressed” words for my three younger kids and my “do you have your clarinet/homework/gym clothes” for my oldest. I have my work words on Wednesdays, when I switch off my mom hat for a few hours and put my paralegal hat on, words like “probate and corporation”. I have my youth sports organization words, like “schedules and board meetings”. What I’m missing are “me” words.

Of course I don’t really know what “me” words are. I think I just feel like my words are used every day for so many other people, in good and bad ways, and they don’t directly apply to me. I keep my “me” words in my head, letting them swirl around among the words for others, and they tend to get lost. I’m hesitant to share my words, partly out of fear of rejection or criticism, and partly because putting them out there makes them real. It’s much easier to keep my words to myself, despite my desire to use them more.

There’s the issue of course~to use my words or keep them to myself. It’s a battle that rages in my mind all day long. When I’m busy with the kids or work or my other responsibilities, the battle rages less. When I’m alone in my car, or folding laundry however, the battle kicks into high gear and I have to force myself to concentrate on my task at hand. I have an old friend who told me that when her thoughts, her words, got to be too much for her, she’d picture an empty basket that she’d fill with the most troublesome words and thoughts before she went to bed at night. My husband says I over-think things. In a way I do over-think them because I’m so unwilling to share my thoughts, my words. The me words just stay inside.

I need to come here to this space more often, to put my me words out there. I’m sure I’ll still be hesitant to put them all out there, but some is better than none. Maybe in time more and more of them will find their way to this space.

All About Me (Not Eve)

I love orange soda. Root beer comes in a close second.

I love the show Auction Hunters but cannot stand the show Storage Wars. I think the players either make or break a show.

I would love for someone to come organize and clean my home. Then again, my house is gorgeous compared to those houses on Hoarders.

My favorite colors are pink and purple, but I wear more green than any other color.

I own one pair of shoes for fall and winter; I’ve owned them for 10 years and they’re still standing. However, I might branch out and get a second pair this year, just for variety.

Despite the fact that I’m a hockey mom, I do not skate. Oh, I have skated, but it was ugly.

I may have joined Pinterest. I’m still figuring out what I’m doing with it exactly, so my boards are a little sparse.

One of our chickens turned out to be a rooster. His name is Stubby (he was the last to get his wing feathers and they were so short!) and he has perfected the art of the 5:50 a.m. wake-up call.

I love Debbie Mumm calendars. I have had one every year for the last several years and it hangs by the sliding door in my kitchen. I keep a Mary Engelbreit calendar in my bathroom and on my computer desk. I don’t think I’ve had anyone other than those artists for at least 15 years.

Some days I love all aspects of social media, but other days I seriously question my involvement in it all.

The laundry fairy will never come to my house, so I’m forced to do the laundry myself. This is something I’ll never get over.

Is This Thing On?

Tap, tap. Hello? Is this thing on?

I have such grand intentions with this blog. I intend to write daily, post photos of my making-me-insane-at-this-very-moment darling children, make this blog a place that I (and others) want to come to. I mean, I even created a blog header that I like but never bothered to tell anyone! Life. It’s so daily, isn’t it?

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, to say the least. My grandmother passed away last Monday at the age of 92 and a battle with Alzheimer’s and while I need to post about that, I need to be a bit more removed from it in order to even see the screen while I’m typing.

And I’ve hit that point in the kids’ summer vacation where I’m quite ready for them to go back to school. I know, I said that I was happy for vacation and I was, at first. But now that the newness has worn off and the temperatures have hit 105, I’m ready for structure. I get this way every year around this time, when we still have a month to go before school starts and I just want to be that guy in the Staples commercial.

So if you’re still reading, THANK YOU! I have things to write about and photos to post. I hope you’ll stick around.

Where I’m From

I am from the newspaper being delivered twice a day, from a house full of GE appliances and musicals on PBS on Sunday afternoons.

I am from the organized home where everything except my room was always neat and tidy, where bathrooms were cleaned by Comet cleaner.

I am from the pine trees and pine cones and oak trees, the leaves and needles used to cushion our bodies when we jumped into them.

I am from traveling to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving and hiding Thin Mints for my grandparents to find, and short tempers, from Lucretia and Betty and Lizzie Borden.

I am from the high expectations and the never lets go.

From poll your friends and you’re not their kid, you’re mine.

I am from Sunday school and Christmas Eve services, from not really knowing what I believe and where I belong.

I’m from the rocky coast of Maine and the tiny state of Rhode Island, of coffee milk and hot buttered biscuits.

From the Lizzie Borden gave her mother 40 whacks, the aunt who survived polio and living in an iron lung, and the life of a young girl without her father.

I am from albums full of photos, of so few photos of my mom’s family, of my dad’s report cards we’d laugh at, of the special Christmas ornaments we made that hung on the tree for years and now adorn my tree.

I got this from Jennifer over at Playgroups are No Place for Children. If you want to create your own, head here to get the template.