12 October 2009

How did I do this?

I'm barely a week in "the real world" again, and I'm wiped.

Remind me, how did I do this five months ago?

09 October 2009

So tired . . . but grateful

I landed a job! Yay me! I'm back in the editing game, and I'm starting to hit my stride again.

However, I'm wiped. After nearly four months of setting my own schedule, I was used to my second-shift sleeping. I now have to be out the door at 6;45 a.m.; it's not a pretty sight.

The kids, to their credit, are stepping up and getting ready by themselves. Hubby has an awful month of travel, but he's trying to help. His parents will be here soon, so that will help.

Alas, I'm really wishing I had Monday off. I don't. Bummer.

At least I have one week off in November and two weeks in December off that I can enjoy. Until then, I need to find a way to get back on schedule. Yeesh.

28 September 2009

Swine Flu: Into the Viral Unknown

You'd have to be living under a rock in 2009 to not be aware of the latest plague to hit the earth. Earlier this year, everyone was freaking out about H1N1. It was new, it was scary, and youngish people were dying for no reason.

And of course, the Mommy-Tracked folks decided to move right to the heart of Texas, into the plague.

Summer was pretty calm. School was out. We were hermits, really, just unpacking in the triple-digit heat. We rarely left the house.

School started. Three weeks later, kids are dropping like flies from the flu. Mine included.

There is something so utterly frightening, something that works beyond your rational, scientifically trained mind, when you are facing an unknown. When my eldest came down with the flu (which we are pretty sure was H1N1, because the peds tell us that is the main virus ciruclating here), I was terrified.

Oh, sure, I tried not to show it. But I was pushing liquids and taking temps and checking the CDC website and the National Institutes of Health website and any other website that might, just might, have insight.

When her fever didn't break after day four, I was flipping out. Thank goodness for husbands with rational, cooler heads. He called the ped, we got a specific list of what to watch for that would result in an ER visit. Then, thankfully, her fever broke on day five.

Then our son got it. It ran the same course as hers did. It was a little less scary, just because we knew what to expect.

Then I got it. Again, not as scary. Knew what would happen to me. I was blissed out on Nyquil for days. I slept about 18 hours one day. I slept 15 the next.

So, I'm here to say: The swine flu isn't all that scary if you are healthy and have no risk factors. It's nothing to mess around with, and you should stay away from others, just to limit the spread. But, in my humble experience, I've had stomach viruses that laid me lower.

That said, I'm bleaching everything in sight and hoping my husband and my youngest avoid it.

10 September 2009


We all do it. You think you are doing the right thing, then later, hindsight is 20-20.

My poor husband has been doing this all year. He moved, we moved. It was the right thing to do for many reasons. But the fallout that our moving so far away from family and friends has been long-lasting.

Two of our kids still are struggling to find friends. Heck, I am, too. I miss my MO contingent who would happily go to lunch any time. I e-mail, FB and Twitter them, but it is NOT the same. Social networks are great, but your friends can't hug you online.

I'm still job hunting. The search is just wearing. It is a full-time job. I'm freelancing on top of that. Plus doing all the mom-stuff. Some days I just want to curl up and crawl under the covers and ignore the challenges that we still face.

Believe me, I'm grateful. We have a nice house, one that does not have termites or an RV parked next door. My husband's job is stable. My kids are healthy, and despite the lack of close friends, they are settling in well.

I try to focus on the good and not second-guess. But man, let me tell you, it is hard.

26 August 2009

Why is it

that laundry seems to multiply in this house faster than I can wash it?

no one can empty/fill the dishwasher but me?

I have a cat who insists on pulling off her collar at every opportunity?

my cats have, in tandem, decided to rip up every rug I own?

south TX can't get a good rainstorm, yet every one of my FB friends bemoans the constaint rain where they live?

the concept of a hamper seems to be beyond my children?

ditto picking up toys?

you always step on the one Lego embedded in the carpet?

I can't decide what to eat for lunch now that I'm working from home, alone, so I just don't eat?

Answers welcome.

09 August 2009


I should be writing content for a couple of websites (including my own).

Instead, I'm on a cooking/cleaning/planting binge.

Yesterday, rather than chain myself to the computer, we knocked out back-to-school haircuts for everyone, a Target trip and groceries to replenish the fridge after my parents and brother left. One week of extra adults in the house does a dent on my food supply. :0

I cooked like crazy -- minestrone, which has been packaged for easy school lunches, is now frozen in my freezer. Nazilla, a recipe a friend gave to me that used the multitude of eggplant and squash from my mom, is now a collection of frozen vegetarian lunches for the eldest and me.

Today, I decided I'd make pesto out of the huge basil bushes I've managed to grow. I'd hoped the tomato plant would take off and I could have bruchetta, but alas, the south Texas drought killed it. The basil loves the dry heat. I have tons.

Later, I'll plant some of the iris that my mom brought. They are bulbs from my grandmother's garden; I need a bit of my ancestral home here, those lovely old plants will do just fine.

Tomorrow, I stop slacking and start writing. Promise.

28 July 2009

I have achieved

school supply Nirvana.

I have everything. Everything. Bwahahahaha. Three gargantuan lists, from K4 to eighth grade. Including band supplies.

Read it and weep, kids.

27 July 2009

Too quiet

I'm ready to have the older two back now. I'm tired of playing Mario Party 8.

I'm ready to go back to work. Someone hire me, please! My house can't get much cleaner, and my dh refuses to fund any more home improvement projects. Plus, I think he's scared I'll saw my arm off if I try to build a deck.

17 July 2009

Camp Grandma

The next two weeks around here are going to be fairly quiet. Blissfully so.

My family has a tradition of Camp Grandma. It started when I was a child. My cousins and I would take turns staying together at Grandma's house; we were divided fairly evenly by ages. My older cousins and I (stairsteps, J's the oldest, then me, then L, then J2) would show up first, then rotate to each others' houses. Our sisters, all 4-5 years younger, would start at my aunt's house, then go to Camp Grandma.

The result: Our parents all managed a week of kid-free quiet; we had no siblings bothering us; we were able to hang out with girls our own age; and best of all, Grandma got her girls to herself.

We all have fond memories of those weeks in the summer. So when my oldest was old enough, I started lobbying for Camp Grandma to start anew. No cousins, alas, but bonding time with grandparents is always good. So is blissful quiet.

My older two are living the life of Riley now. They are on the lake house this week with my husband's parents, then they move to the farm with my parents. I'm enjoying some bonding time with our youngest. She's so used to being bossed around by the older two . . . now she calls the shots.

She's been playing Wii without interference. She's had me play Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Trouble. The cats are all hers.

Now, that's not to say she's not a tad annoyed that she can't do Camp Grandma this year. She's almost 5, but two weeks is a long time away from home. We moved further away, so unlike years past, it isn't a simple car drive to fetch someone who has gotten homesick.

Next year, we'll probably let her go. I'm going to miss my game-playing buddy, but everyone should have the memories made at Camp Grandma.

13 July 2009

Stupid genes

I have, in the past month, figured out that I've managed to send some lovely genes down the line to my kids.

My eldest seems to have inherited the anxiety issues that run through my family in spades. So I'm teaching her meditation and yoga and aromatherapy. That's what works without adding meds to the mix, so we start there.

At the peds this morning, it came out that the middle guy has my nearsightedness. He's apparently had trouble reading the board "but only when I'm in the last two rows, Mom. It's ALWAYS fuzzy in the last two rows."

So when I make my eye appointment later this week, I'll make his as well. Poor tyke. Although I may have to do a video of him when he learns that tree leaves have definition and are not meant to be gobs of green. I still recall the moment I figured that out on the drive home from the optometrist when I was newly glassed.

01 July 2009

Off to get a library card

This might not seem like a monumental thing, but it is Mommy-Tracked's sanity. Books. DVDs. Storytime. A place to take the kids where they won't whine.

I've moved multiple times in my life. I'm about to get my 10th. Every time I move, I keep the library card. It's my record of the places that kept me sane. Sorry, Plainfield. I'm not giving it back.

A shout out to all the libraries who have given me books, music and videos that have transported me out of the humdrum and into other worlds:

  • Scenic Regional Library
  • Daniel Boone Regional Library
  • River Bluffs Regional Library
  • North Castle Public Library
  • Pleasant Hill Public Library
  • Altoona Public Library
  • West Des Moines Public Library
  • Plainfield Public Library District
  • Springfield-Greene County Regional Library
  • 30 June 2009

    I now know

    what my medieval ancestors looked like. I'm dressed in princess regalia, watching Cinderella to learn "how to be a princess," -- or so sayeth my four-year-old.

    My outfit includes a lovely hat that would do a 12th century lady proud, I'm sure. Cinderella skirts work better as head coverings at my age.

    09 June 2009

    Surfacing from the stress

    I took a tiny (okay, months-long) break there.

    I had good reason:

    We survived the move to Texas.

    We sold the house (a minor miracle in this market) and bought another.

    You can call me "Master," as I've earned my master's in communication.

    Now I'm unpacking and arranging. I'm being Mom, which means being a taxi service (yes, I've learned how to drive like a Texan already, in a Mom Van, no less), a nurse, a photography model (our four-year-old likes to thinks she's Annie Leibowitz).

    I've also been a psychologist of sorts. My kids are adjusting to leaving the familiar behind and embracing the new. They are scarred by years in Tornado Alley. The first week we were here, San Antonio had a nasty thunderstorm blow through; our children were convinced an F4 would blow the house apart. I think they might have attempted to dig a basement, had I let them.

    Like so many out there, I'm job hunting. It is frustrating to be so well-educated and experienced, and not even get a call for an interview. I'm just starting. I have friends who are just as experienced and educated who have been looking for months.

    On the upside, I'll be blogging more now.

    24 April 2009

    Whew. Busy, busy, busy

    I'm in the home stretch.

    In the past few weeks we:

    Sold the house.

    Found termites in house. Treated termites (dead, they are).

    Flew to SA to look at about 20+ houses.

    Made a bid on one house. Was rejected.

    Made bid on second house. Yay, got that one.

    Worked on grad project.

    Started job hunting.

    Packing has begun in full force. We are T-29 days from being one happy family in one state again.

    25 March 2009

    I'm ready to go.

    I'm so ready for it to be June, for us to be moved and back together again.

    I'm exhausted. I know I'm on the downhill slide; only a few more months. But the daily grind is getting to me. Every day:

    I wake up.
    I wake the kids up.
    I negotiate the great cereal battle.
    I cuddle with the youngest.
    I dress the youngest.
    I negotiate the next battle.
    I try and shower and get ready.
    I make three or four beds.
    I clean up the bathroom.
    I clean up the kitchen.
    I negotiate yet another battle.
    I spot-check the house for show-readiness, just in case a Realtor comes by.
    I grab my cell, just in case a Realtor calls.
    I grab my work stuff. Jackets.
    Try to make the laundry area neat.
    Negotiate the car battle.
    Drive to school.
    Answer at least four questions from the kids as we drive.
    Drop kids at school.
    3 out of 5 days, I cave and get coffee on the way in.
    Run errands at lunch.
    Work more.
    Pick up kids.
    Negotiate the homework/chore battle.
    Make dinner.
    Do laundry.
    Feed kids.
    Negotiate another battle.
    Bathe kids.
    Clean up from dinner.
    Ask eldest to do some sort of housework. Half the time, she remembers.
    Take out trash.
    Tuck in kids.
    Say prayers.
    Spray monster spray.
    Re-tuck kids.
    Take my bath.
    Check on son; remind him it is an hour after his bedtime; must put Fudge book down.
    Try and do homework, give up, play on Facebook.
    Crash in bed.
    Try to sleep.
    Some nights, fall asleep. Others, toss and turn for hours.
    Get up, do it again.

    Add in allergies, my class on Tuesdays, and then the constant running on the weekends, plus the pressure to keep the house perfectly clean, and I'm just wiped out. Can someone please buy our house within the next few weeks? That alone would remove a huge burden.

    16 March 2009

    11 March 2009

    Why I like my Senator

    Sen. Claire McCaskill takes on a few of my reporter compatriots at the recent Missouri Democratic Days events:

    02 March 2009


    In preparation for the move, I had C2 tested for giftedness.

    I honestly had no hunch how smart he was until this September, when he suddenly had a switch go on. He started reading voraciously (like me). He started doing hideous math problems for fun (like C1).

    Unlike C1, it wasn't obvious right away that he was gifted. C1 was freakish in her ability to conquer skills that most three-year-olds don't have. For example, do any of you know a three-year-old who will sit for hours and do 40-piece puzzles, one after another? Yeah, that's how I worked from home sometimes: I'd edit book anthologies while she was surrounded by puzzles. Three hours, minimum, of quiet.

    Not normal.

    C2 was very normal. Hyper, active, boy normal.

    Then the switch went on.

    Don't get me wrong, he's still boy normal. But he's also incredibly good at making disparate connections (something I do, as well). He will just pop out of nowhere with this philosophical stuff, something C1 never did.

    So we had him tested for giftedness this weekend. Now I'm wishing I'd done it sooner. They fit him into the class right away. Even though it will only be a few months, he's completely psyched. He's been beaming ever since he found out he got in. He smiled when I dropped him off. He smiled all day, according to C1, who also attends the gifted pull-out program.

    "This is the best day ever!" he announced when I picked him up to take him to aftercare.

    I honestly have NO idea what we are going to do with him after we move. I suspect a very long conversation with the guidance counselor is in order first thing this summer. The gifted programs in Texas work differently than here, and as best I can tell, he has a long shot of getting in, despite IQ and test results. He needs a challenge, but he also needs to hang with other boys his age, socially.

    Parenting is not easy. Honestly, I wish I had a guidebook for this stuff.

    And I'm looking at C3 and wondering what freakish skill set she's hiding from me right now.

    18 February 2009

    Wow, so where's she been?

    It's been more than two months since I posted anything.

    In that two months, chaos (good chaos, but still) has entered our lives.

    My husband accepted a new job. One that's several states away. We've been communicating by phone and by Skype. Needless to say, that's not the same.

    I've been parenting three kids essentially alone. Getting a house ready for sale. Trying to finish my master's degree this semester.

    Oh, and my boss threw a monkey wrench at me, shuffled me to a different department, and for the past two weeks, I've been learning a new job. It's a good move (not that I think he meant it to be one, but it was).

    I've had updates occasionally on Facebook, but for the most part, I've been keeping things to myself.

    I've had to call in the help of family and friends. I'm not completely comfortable with that. I'm a pretty self-reliant person, to the point that I overdo. This time, I'm trying to call out the troops sooner.

    So, I'll be posting infrequently. The house goes on the market tomorrow. I'm hoping for a relatively quick sale. If it sells by summer in this market, I'll be happy.

    I'd like for our family to all be in one house again. Here's hoping this all works out the way we want it.