Kathleen’s Winter

A few months ago, I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living. I don’t know why. I think it was free. Also sometimes I fancy myself a totally put-together lady who loves entertaining instead of someone who admittedly does love a good cocktail party but is also wearing leggings and no makeup and not minimal makeup, I mean NO makeup.

Anyway. Martha apparently has her stuff together. (Except for that prison stint.) Every month she includes a monthly calendar with all the different things she does every day, to keep your home and life running smoothly. It looks like this:


And it makes me feel really gross. Because my February calendar of barely-getting-by looks more like, well, something like this:

February 1st: Wake up in the morning anticipating gliding through the day getting ready for Squeak’s birthday like a party goddess. Stumble through the day more like an insane person who definitely did not shower. Finish with a drink and a good convo re:Mormons.

February 2nd: Squeak’s Birthday! On Martha’s calendar, family and friends birthdays are totally blocked off because you know she just is truly PRESENT to those people all day. Not the case with a seven-year-old’s birthday. There’s a lot more “No, you can’t play with the harpoon gun I know you got it for a present.”

February 3rd: Spend day looking around dazedly and wonder if you should just move instead of clean.

February 4th: Investigate mortgage rates.

February 5th: Decide you can’t afford to move and begin extracting glitter from between the floor boards.

February 6th: Glitter.

February 7th: Laugh when someone mentions bulbs or seeds or something to you because pssh it’s winter. I’m not doing anything outside until I have to.

(Probably not even then.)

February 8th: Today the snow melted and Martha suggest surveying property for damaged trees. I surveyed our property for summer toys we lost and wash the biggest chunks off of a boat I haven’t seen since October and gave it to my kid to play with because he was bugging me.

February 9th: Think about Spring cleaning schedule. Laugh.

February 10th: Still laughing.

February 11th: Ignore the dryer vent that will probably one day kill us all.

February 12th: Celebrate anniversary with husband by having him forget about it and you passive aggressively talking about the day you met all day.

February 13th: Display beautiful flowers from husband!

February 14th: Valentine’s Day! Make a lava cake that you hide until after the kids go to bed. Think that some day they’ll probably put you in a home and call over their shoulders “Gonna go have some lava cake by myself now, Mom!” as they leave you there. Decide that you still really need a little time to yourself.

February 15th: Throw away all the half-assed valentines your kids made that even they don’t care about.

February 16th: Attempt a pilates video on YouTube. Laugh at how ridiculous that is. Go back to eating left over lava cake.

February 17th: Brother-in-law’s birthday! Celebrate by saying horrifying things to each other under the guide of “Cards Against Humanity.”

February 18th: Consider spring wardrobe. Wonder when you last wore pants. Don’t care.

February 19th: Wrassle two children to Mass and yep, that pretty much takes care of the day.

February 20th: Long morning hike…through Aldi.

February 21st: Bring fresh eggs to office…wait. I don’t have eggs. Or an office. Settle for offering children Cookie Crisp OR Fruit Loops for breakfast. Like we’re a friggin restaurant or something.

February 22nd: Try to explain fractions to daughter. Have her respond with “But they’re all pieces!” just like you did when you were little. Stare at wall and reconsider life choices.

February 23rd: Begin to prepare for spring gardens…by picking the obvious Christmas stuff off the potted evergreens you bought in November.

February 24th: Dinner with friends…which is free and involves childcare. DATE NIGHT.

February 25th: Don’t put on pants.

February 26th: Relax after church ignoring responsibilities until half an hour before bedtime and then run around like a banshee BECAUSE WE HAVE TO GET READY FOR THE WEEK GAAAAH.

February 27th: MIL’s birthday. Celebrate by drinking her wine that you can’t afford.

February 28th: Look back at the month and plan for March. Cry. Laugh. Decide you don’t care. Pour another glass of wine.

Thankful

Six years ago today my husband lost his wife. My daughter lost her mother, whom she’d never really remember. A hole was ripped in people I would come to love very soon afterwards that nothing can ever fill, no matter how happy and fulfilling our lives are now.

There’s nothing I can do about that. And it sucks.

I can do some stuff though. I can be here for my husband. I can tell my daughter stories I’ve learned from other people so it feels like they’re her memories, like her mama is still here with us not only in spirit. I try to do those things every day, and more so on days like today. 

The biggest thing I can do, though, is so simple. I can be thankful. 

I am thankful for my husband. We don’t agree about everything. We are very stubborn. We have our share of disagreements and yeah, sometimes I look back at skinny, free 2010 me and wonder what happened and WHY. But I am always, always thankful for him. I am constantly reminded that I could be without him. In the blink of an eye, my life and marriage could be over and I can never forget that. I am so so thankful to have had four and a half years of marriage with him already. 

I am thankful for my children. I get to stress about birthday parties. I get to potty train. I get to lie awake at night and worry about how she’s feeling and whether I’m doing the right thing or whatever. I am so unbelievably privileged that I get to do that every day. 

I am thankful that I get to live in my dream home, happily and healthily. 

I am thankful that I get to be 29, even though I’m mad about turning 30. I am thankful to have this time with my mom, with my sister, with HER mom. I am thankful to be friends with her brother’s new wife and watch them start their family. I am thankful to be here to see my niece and when my brother falls in love and gets married.

I am thankful for budgeting and sick kids that climb in bed with me and then need help with their own blankets at 3:30am and gross colds and grocery shopping and taking out the trash and those few quiet minutes at the end of the day when my husband and I are finished with everything we need to do and can just be together. 

I am so lucky, and I am so thankful. 

Week One and Two: We Still All Like Each Other.

Kind of. I mean, the principal and I fight sometimes. Mostly because he doesn’t pick up his underwear from the floor. But then we also make out sometimes. Because we’re married.

Ha! Sorry. That will never be not funny to me, you guys.

Anyway, the first two weeks of school are finished and overall? Pretty good, y’all.

We’ve been super busy, which has made actually hitting our stride with scheduling. Squeaks struggles with transitions, so I’ve been trying to keep us working for a chunk of time in the morning and get everything done. But now she’s trying to get everything finished super fast and doesn’t want to stop to fix anything like, oh, her nines facing backwards.

So tomorrow I’m going to try to switch it up and schedule playtime in the middle of the morning. Hopefully it would be enough to give her a break but having it actually scheduled will be official enough for her little executive function-challenged head.

One can only hope.

My favorite part of this year is that both my mom and my bonus mother are so involved. both of them homeschooled their kids* and help me out when they’re able to. This morning I had my prayer group and so I laid out all the subjects I wanted Squeaks to finish and my bonus mom took care of everything! I even came home to cute pictures of her doing her work.

*I know. My husband. He loves him some homeschooled girls apparently.

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My mom helps out almost every day. We’re learning Latin together this year (or relearning as it’s been awhile since high school for me) and it’s so much fun to have my mom and my little girl bonding over a language. She’s also doing a ton with Buddy while I work with Squeaks. And now Buddy can count to fourteen now, so that’s super fun.

I know he’s three. We’re still happy about it. Shoot low. That basically my parenting motto.

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One of the best things I’m doing differently this year is actually for me. After having a slight (major) breakdown last year, I realized that unless I’m a happy person I am not going to be a happy mother. Or a very effective teacher.

So I’ve started getting up with Buzz in the mornings, which gives me about an hour to myself before the kids get up. I get my housework done, and have enough time to do my own reading.

This year I’m following The Coming Home Network’s plan for reading the Bible and the Catechism in a year. (I’m only doing it on school days, so it’s going to take me a little bit longer than a year.) It’s available for free as a download or a $1 booklet at chnetwork.org. It only takes about 10 minutes (I read fast) and it really makes me feel centered to do some spiritual reading every day.

I also have a pile of parenting books that I’m working through. I read a lot, but I tend to get caught up in mostly novels. Which is fine, but then I ignore the ones that I should be reading to help me along my journey. So I devote ten minutes to that as well.

Finally, I make sure to say a rosary in the morning. I love doing a daily rosary, and doing it in the morning honestly makes my day so much easier. I know part of it is just the meditative/repetitive prayer aspect, but I love starting my day by petitioning the Blessed Mother.

So overall, we’re still doing okay. And I get to make out with the principal.