Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keeping up appearances

So the man I love most in all the world was out of town this week, leaving me to my own devices. I will say though, that things went reasonably well. It always seems to work out the same way - the few days leading up to one of Jon's trips are horrendous and I think to myself "I'll never make it without him!" And then he leaves and somehow God ups the grace-ante and we not only survive but have a good time too.

So we had a good week. It helped that Jack had Vacation Bible School every morning from 9am-noon. Sounds nice, huh? Three hours of an extrovert preschooler getting his love tank full of friends and fun? It is!  Except church is about a 25 minute drive from our house. Plus the time it takes to get three littles out of the car, herd them through a packed, busy parking lot, and sign Jack in to VBS. Then inevitably Jude has to go potty, I run into another mom to talk to, I have to make a stop on the way home to pick up some milk and before you know it I end up with only 1 hour of Jack-free time, a cranky baby who missed her morning nap and a hungry toddler who needs to eat his lunch in the car so he can go right down for a nap when we get back. Fun!  But really, it is worth it. Jack is having a FABULOUS time!  I get a little kick out of watching him sing and dance with his friends at the end of each day. And all the extra work and activity keeps our minds off a missing daddy.

The hardest thing about Jon being gone is not having that break at the end of the day. Typically, by the time the dinner hour rolls around, I'm teetering very close to the edge of "I can't take this anymore!" And I gotta say, one of my most favorite hours of the day (if Jon is home in time) is 6:45pm. I leave him with the Jack and Jude and I put Julia to bed. In other words, Jon plays with boys (or is at least physically present so that if something goes wrong he can take the blame) and my daughter and I go to the nursery, turn down the lights, draw the curtains, put on jammies and I nurse her to sleep. Actually, she doesn't usually nurse to sleep. But I do nurse to calmness and relaxation and tranquility... for her too. :) It is the most peaceful 30 minutes of my day.

Unless Jon's not home. Then it is the most dreaded hour. Because I'm trying to get Julia well on her way to dreamland and it's awfully hard when my only-have-one-volume-and-it-ain't-low guys are jumping around the room, climbing the crib and bouncing toys off the wall. Usually I give them the boot. But then my mommy-daughter moment is anything but peaceful because I'm constantly stressing and straining over every noise (or lack of noise) coming from the boys' direction.

Like Tuesday night for instance. I came downstairs from getting 1/3 of my offpsring to bed to find Jack and Jude playing nicely together (bonus) having water wars in the living room (notso bonus). My kids are geniuses for discovering devices that can hold water and then sources of said water. I didn't stand a chance. So I said to myself, "At least it was just water." Because it was only Tuesday and I still had a long week ahead of me.

Which brings me to my second-most missed aspect of not having the hubster home - my cleaning buddy. Jon's been known to mention, oh about seven days a week, "I feel like all we ever do is clean." Well, when he's not here that just gets doubled. I really don't think my kids are out to destroy my home, but geez kids are messy. And it's not all their fault. Being a parent is messy too!

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I've got no back-up, no one to keep the kids in line while I clean up, or vice versa.  So on Wednesday I just let it all go until Jude and Julia were down for naps and Jack was happily settled down to "quiet time" with a few Berenstein Bear books.  And then I tackled the kitchen.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall...

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I try, I really try to keep up with the cleaning.  See, I even busted out the steam mop this particular morning (mainly because Jude dumped ant poison in the kitchen and we've all been stepping in it and tracking sticky prints all over the house ...)  So I was thrilled to be reunited with the steam mop that I had completely forgotten about since moving into this house a year ago.  We (because of course Jude was helping) were about halfway through the kitchen floor when it stopped steaming.  And a minute later there was a loud pop that made us both jump and then lots of steam, lots and lots of steam, coming from everywhere but the mop head (where it's supposed to).  So anyway, what I was trying to say was, I really do try.

And inevitably, while I'm cleaning up one area.  The kids are off putting their mark on another.

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You may be wondering why Jude is not wearing any pants.  I was too after I took this picture.  A few minutes later I found out it's because he decided to pee in the Lego bin.  And for some reason, still unknown to me, Jack decided to dump Jude's pee out in the family room.  But he couldn't remember where.  So lucky me had to go searching for urine puddles.  By this time I was way over the edge of civility.  Because while seeking out the puddle I came across Jon's drill, drill bits, tools, paintbrushes, and all the other contents of his tool cabinet scattered around the living room.  What the dilly-o!?!

So I sent the boys up to their room to get ready for bed (okay, not really, because they can't exactly get themselves ready for bed yet, but I thought it sounded more official that way), did urine reconnaisance and cleaning and then quickly returned to my children who were already well on their way to emptying the bookshelf in their room and tossing board book bombs back and forth from their beds.  Thank heavens it was bedtime.

But seriously, other than that, a really great week. ... *sigh*

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