Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The One Where I Got a Brazilian

(Get yer dirty minds out of the gutter. Like I would EVER tell ANYONE if I got a Brazilian)

This past weekend was Doug's 18th anniversary of his 21st birthday (i.e. he's older than me!) AND our 12th wedding anniversary, so we decided, being such romantics at heart, to combine the events and go out to dinner. I had to find us a babysitter since all three of ours had the nerve to go to college, but we found an old babysitter of ours (love Facebook) and she came to watch the kids so we could go out.

We pretty much stick to what we know and go to the same places for our anniversary~our favorite pizza place, our favorite fancy restaurant~so this year we looked for something different. A colleague of Doug's mentioned that he went to this new steakhouse on the waterfront in Portland. He said it was a fixed price dinner, all you can eat, and that he loved it. So, we decided to try it out.

Gauchos is a Brazilian steakhouse and holy cow (no pun intended) did it live up to the ravings. You get to place a card on your table with either the green side up (meaning "please keep bringing me food until I absolutely burst") or the red side (meaning "oh my god so much food in mah belly I may die"). We got offered steak, pork, turkey, chicken, more steak (oh my the steak was yummy), sausage. The salad bar was enormous but I only ate a little because I'd heard about all the delicious meats we were going to be eating and I needed room. We even saved room for dessert and Starbucks coffee. It was a really great dinner, despite the absolutely obnoxious man at the table next to us who was louder ALL BY HISSELF than the 2 large groups in the tables behind him. We happen to have a knack for being seated near really obnoxious people no matter where we go. It's a gift I tell you.

So while I'll never tell you if I got a Brazilian, I will definitely tell you that my Brazilian dinner was fab. Here's to another 12 years Doug!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Like Swirling Bubbles

Earlier today I was outside with Annie and Izzie, standing on our front lawn and blowing bubbles. The girls love to watch me try to blow really big bubbles and then chase them and catch them with their hands, face, even tongues. It's windy out though, so most of the bubbles whipped around the girls and then swirled upwards toward the sky.  While I stood there watching the bubbles swirl around and around, I realized that lately, my days feel all swirly and crazy, just like the frenzied bubbles.

We're not into any sort of routine here yet. While Drew and Meg are on their third week of school (albeit only their first FULL week), Annie and Izzie have only been to school for two mornings. Some days all the kids are up before I am (and I get up at 6:15ish). Some days it's 7am and I'm getting Meg up so that we can make the 8:10 bus at the end of our driveway. Some days Doug is home long enough in the morning to help get breakfast for 4 on the table and he puts together lunches for Meg and Drew while I lay out clothes so that kids remember to put on fresh undies and don't try to put on socks that are too small or wear pants that are high-waters. Some days he's out the door just as I come downstairs and then it's an hour  or so of kids demanding every last bit of attention I can muster without coffee in my system.

Then there's a sort-of reprieve during the day. Meg and Drew get on the bus (or I deliver them to a school to catch a bus-Meg-and head into school-Drew) and then I either take Annie and Izzie to school or we just come back to the house for more coffee and snacks/play/tv/fighting/play/fighting/lunch/fighting. You get the drift.

Then 3:45 rolls around and the bus drops off Meg and Drew and the frenzied bubble action starts all over again. The kids fight for attention to tell me about their day, Drew has a meltdown because he can't go to a friend's house/have friends come over/smack his sisters. You get the drift. It's exhausting. I want so much to give them all undivided attention but I am one person and they are too many and it's just not possible. I've tried giving them each time to tell me about their days but they interrupt each other and there's just the general chaos that goes along with parenting four kids. Not to mention needing to make dinner or dealing with laundry or checking homework or all that other crap that you have to contend with as an adult.

I don't like the swirly, frenzied feeling. I much prefer being the bubble that floats along evenly in the sky. I prefer calm. I prefer quiet. Of course then I went and birthed four kids and that kind of all went out the window. By the end of the day I am so beat that doing anything other than putting on jammies and sitting my butt on my couch is seriously out of the question. It's not what I want. It's not how I want to feel. I want to enjoy the frenzy, at least some of the time. I want to be able to remember these days in a good light, not in the "ohgoodlordwillthiseverendandwhycan'ttheyjustbequietforfivewholeminutes" way that I'm feeling now.

But today I guess I'll watch the girls play outside in the dirt and get the big kids off the bus and try to breathe in and out when the bubbles go swirling through my house and make a good dinner and try to remember that I have it very, very good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finding Time

I had not-quite three hours to myself yesterday while Annie and Izzie were at preschool. It was the first time since Drew was born 5 1/2 years ago that I didn't have a child in my house during the school day (not counting days when Doug is home and takes them out with him; you know what I mean). Because it was my first "free" day I didn't schedule a dentist appointment or run any errands other than the post office. I didn't arrange coffee with a couple of the other preschool moms I've known for a few years; I just wanted to be in my house and see how it felt to be taking back a little of my life.

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. I would do anything for them. But as my daily existence is so completely intertwined with what THEY eat and THEY watch and THEY read and THEY do that I have gotten pushed to the side. My blogging time, for example, is so limited because a)it requires some brain power, b)I am constantly interrupted when I try to write or think and c)did I mention needing brain power? I can't tune out the kids when they are here so more often than not, I don't blog. Twitter on the other hand, is easier for me to manage while constantly being interrupted.

Doug called me while I was sipping coffee and asked me what I was going to do while the girls were in school. I told him "nothing". I had emptied the trash and uploaded some photos that I took of the girls yesterday, but other than that, I hung out at my computer. It was nice to actually READ a blog post instead of  getting halfway through it and needing to feed a child/wipe a bottom/break up a fight. I wasn't lonely and I wasn't sad. I was just me and it felt so good.

Once we get into the routine of the girls going to school twice a week, then I'll do more things. I'll be volunteering in Drew's class on one of those days every other week. I can go to the dentist without taking the kids with me. I can clean if I want or edit photos or scrapbook. I can read a book. I can do those things that I never find the time for while the kids are racing around the house at warp speed (like right now). I'm looking forward to a better balance of me and Mama. I think I've earned it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slow Down, You Move too Fast

How did we go from this
To this?

Happy first day of preschool my girlies.