Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So we took a quick trip last week back home to Alabama and the Gulf Coast.  It worked out that my folks were here so they took the two oldest ones back with them and we followed later that afternoon with the little one.

JUST the little one.

It was amazing how fast I was able to get us packed, loaded and on the road.  And even more amazing that I spent the better part of the trip facing forward.  As opposed to crossing every state line with my rear end plastered on the windshield while I'm hanging over the back seat filling water cups, passing around some sort of cheesey sea life inspired crackers or swatting at unruly passengers.

But the most incredible thing, y'all, is how much room we had in that van after we loaded up our luggage.  Room galore!

Part of it was because we only had this one small child with us.  Part of it is because said one small child is the third and final small child for us and we've learned a lot in the past seven and a half years.  A.  Lot.

We were laughing remembering the first road trip we took with our then four-month-old firstborn.  We were going to the mountains just north of Atlanta and we were going to be gone for about 5 days.  Judging by our cargo, however, one would have surmised we were heading into a remote area of the north pole for the frozen season and the only way we would have access to food and various other sundries would be via air drop.

At that time our family truckster was a Subaru Outback.  With plenty of room to pack for such a trip for a family of two and a quarter.  But for some reason we felt the need to purchase a cargo carrier.  To pack on top of the car what would not fit inside the car.  These items included:

A pack-n-play, full size stroller, Baby Bjorn carrier, grocery cart seat cover, portable high chair (he wasn't sitting up yet but he might start while on the trip, you know), Bumbo seat, various collection of toys, plastic bathtub, various collection of bathtub toys, bottles, bottle warmer, bulk package of baby wipes, baby wipes warmer, bulk package of diapers,  baby food (not sure he was eating solid foods yet never know), white sound machine, aquarium crib toy, exersaucer, swing and clothing that spanned the seasons because you never know what the weather will be like.

And the thing is....we were never going to be less than five miles from a super Walmart.

Seriously?  We were college educated people, y'all.  Even then.

So the other day it was nothing to pack for us and number three.  We threw a change of underwear and a piece of gum in a bag and left.


Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Fake House

So I'm not sure anyone has noticed but we haven't posted anything since Valentine's Day.

That was nearly three weeks ago.

When I realized how long it has been since I wrote anything...and how long it's been since I wanted to, I told Kim I wasn't sure I wanted to keep up this blog thing anymore.

First I thought I was just bored with it.  Then I thought I just didn't have time for it.  But then I saw that my heart  didn't seem to be in it anymore.  And not just writing on my own blog....but even reading some of the blogs I have followed for years.  I think I finally figured out what it is.

I'm tired of creating the fake house.

And I'm tired of visiting the fake house.

You know what the fake house is....right?  It's like when you know company is coming, so you run around like crazy cleaning....stowing and hiding all the clutter that normally fills your counters and causes you to trip coming in the front door.  You put out the pretty white monogrammed guest towels and hide the ugly blue ones that don't match and look faded or stained.  You light candles....turn on some cool background music....and use dishes that match and don't have Halloween pumpkins on them.  In June.

We all do it.  We know we do it.  Yet when we go over to a friend's house for dinner and observe this scene we come home and feel grossly inadequate.  Because we trip over four pairs of flip-flops when we walk through the door, we see an ugly, stained, faded (wet) towel thrown on our favorite chair and a stack of mismatched dirty pumpkin dishes in the sink.  In June.  There are no scented candles lit....just the aroma of wet dog.  And the only background music we hear is the kids seeing who can yell "poop" the loudest.

And we think.....Ugh.  Gross.  How come my house can't look like "theirs?"

What am I doing wrong?

And it's the same with blogs.

We all do it.  We know people are reading about our lives so we pick and choose what we share.  We post the best pictures.  Tell the best stories.  Oh sure .... we tell a few "horror" stories that reflect a bit of life in the trenches of motherhood.  But usually they are for the sake of comedy.  Because they are funny and you really can't make that stuff up.  But even those stories don't show what our lives are like on a daily basis.

Homeschool blogs are the worst.

Don't hang up on me yet.  I'm just being honest.

You read someone's homeschool blog and they have pictures of their kids sitting sweetly, quietly and very still, reading books....or working on a project.....or drawing a masterpiece....or playing a musical instrument.   And in that same post they share how they grind their own wheat, churn their own butter, sew their whole family's clothes, feed their kids steamed vegetables twice a day (and the kids LOVE them by the way), are multi-lingual and arrange all of their books according to the Dewey Decimal system.  And you remember just a little earlier at your own "school" when your child fell out in the floor practically in convulsions because you told him to work on his math worksheet while you attempted to scrape dried oatmeal off of the breakfast dishes so you could throw some frozen chicken nuggets at them for lunch.  You haven't had a shower and may or may not have brushed your teeth.  Your laundry room looks like it could be featured on "Hoarders" and you can tell from three rooms away the dog has left you a nice present to clean up.  Again.  Awesome.

And you think....Ugh.  Gross.  How come my house can't look like "theirs?"

Look.  I've done it too.  In fact, I posted this picture on Facebook the other day.

I thought about doing a post on this blog about how it was Dr. Seuss's birthday so we had a big celebration.....had green eggs and ham for lunch....made all these wonderful crafts and then sat around studying Dr. Seuss's greatest works all day.   Which we DID!  Sort of.  Truth is I didn't even think about it being Dr. Seuss's birthday until we picked the little one up at school and he had on his fancy hat and bowtie and I thought....well, crud.  I didn't do anything all morning in our "school" except assign math worksheets that caused convulsions.  So out of guilt, I ran in the store on the way home, bought some ham, came home and scrambled some eggs and made them look green with some spinach (hoping the kids would gobble them up and alleviate some guilt from feeding them frozen chicken nuggets for lunch every other day), quickly copied little one's hat and bowtie for the other two, took this picture, and then plopped them all in front of the Cat in the Hat MOVIE so I could get started on the laundry before the TLC crew showed up to film the next episode of Hoarders.

I'm serious, y'all!

Truth is, I try. Day in and day out I struggle to do it all.  I try to be creative in my homeschooling.  I try to keep a clean and tidy house.  I try to cook homemade healthy meals for my family.  I try to have us read more than we watch TV.  I try to find my children's passions and encourage them.  I try to find teachable moments in everything.  I try to savor every moment I have with them, knowing how quickly the time passes.  I try to live intentionally.  I try to be gracious.  Merciful.  Kind.  Loving.  Resourceful and industrious.  But what feels like more often than not, I fail.  So I get up the next morning and I try again.  And that, my friends, is what my life really and truly looks like on a daily basis.  Trying, and trying, and trying.....and praying.....and praying harder.....and trying some more.

Who wants to read about that?

All this to say....I'm not sure about this blog thing.  I'm not sure there's enough time in the day to continue to keep up the fake house, or keep peeking into others' houses (which may or may not be fake) and feeling generally bad about it.

Maybe we need to be more real and get out the ugly towels for each other sometimes.

What color are yours?