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Friday, September 30, 2011

Make Mine a Double: Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not)


When we become parents, a certain amount of our identity is lost.  We become someone’s mom or dad instead of the carefree individuals we once were.  And it seems to me that moms are especially immune to this: boys will be boys but moms can’t be anything but moms.  Why is that?  Why do women feel like they have to give up their moments of letting loose?  Last August, I went to Las Vegas with my best friend Tiffany for three nights.  When I told people I was going, every single person inevitably asked, “Oh, what about the kids?”  As if they didn’t have a father, a fully-functional parent, to stay home with them.  But on the occasions when Trevor has had to be out of town, no one has ever worried about me staying home alone with the kids.  Ah, the joy of double standards.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  The new book Make Mine a Double: Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not) explores women’s relationship with alcohol (or not) and sense of self.  I was lucky enough to get an excerpt of the book, an essay entitled “Moms’ Club” by fellow blogger Laura Rossi Totten.  (Gorgeous and talented, no?!?!?!)


Laura has over twenty years of experience as a book publishing and public relations professional.  In New York City, she ran publicity campaigns for many celebrity and bestselling authors at such prestigious publishing houses as Random House / Bantam Doubleday Dell, The Dial Press, Viking Penguin and W.W. Norton & Company.
Laura’s book publicity experience includes working with Terry McMillan, Stephen King, Nicholas Evans, Danielle Steel, Elmore Leonard, Sara Paretsky, Elizabeth McCracken, Gina Barreca, Wynton Marsalis, John Cleese, Walter Mosley, Jane Brody, John Grisham, Dennis Rodman, John Lescroart, Paul Krugman, Garrison Keillor, T.C.Boyle, Chuck D and Fay Weldon among many others. (I'm seriously hyperventilating looking at that list, y'all!
Laura’s public relations agency experience includes leading media initiatives for national clients in the fashion, food, home, nonprofit and design industries including The TJX Companies (T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods), Chadwick’s, Bread & Circus/Whole Foods, Bertucci’s, Backyard Farms,  Fidelity Capital/Devonshire Investors, Easter Seals, World Trade Center Boston, Altitude Inc., Shoebuy.com, The Seaport Hotel, Amica Insurance and Ross-Simons among others.
In September 2011, Laura Rossi Totten makes her publishing debut as a contributor to MAKE MINE A DOUBLE edited by Gina Barreca (University of New England Press).  The book is a collection of witty, intelligent, and provocative pieces from a diverse community of voices including such luminaries as Fay Weldon, Wendy Liebman, Amy Bloom, Liza Donnelly, Nicole Hollander, Beth Jones, and Dawn Lundy Martin.
Over the course of her accomplished p.r. career, Laura has booked guests and products on nearly every major national television, radio, and print media outlet. A leader in social media, Laura brings a fresh, current approach to all of her campaigns and clients.
Laura majored in English and Communications, is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Connecticut.
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Mom's Club by Laura Rossi Totten
The New Happy Hour
Recipe: The Momtini
Prep time: 20 minutes (2 minutes to pour, 18 to drink)
Mix equal parts friends, fun, and your favorite alcoholic
beverage.
Serve immediately and, if possible, without children.


When we exchange our Prada bags for BabyBj√∂rns, we also unwittingly check off the box that says “mothers don’t drink.” But just because we popped out a baby does not mean we still don’t want to pop the Veuve Clicquot!

Why is it that as soon as we become mothers, we are expected to leave our cosmos at the bar and settle for reruns of Sex and the City? Are all mothers who crave a glass or two of wine regarded as closet alcoholics like Stefanie Wilder-Taylor1 or Meg Ryan in When a Man Loves a Woman?
When I was single and living in New York City, I regularly went out for a drink with the girls. I loved these evenings (or Saturday afternoons or Sunday brunches)—they were a fabulous mix of fun, laughter, and group therapy with smart, funny, like-minded women. After I married and moved to Providence, Rhode Island, I continued the tradition with new friends, sharing a glass of wine with a gal pal after work or on the weekends in my new city. My friends and I always referred to these nights as “going out for drinks” or “cocktails with the girls.”
1. See Jan Hoffman, “A Heroine of Cocktail Moms Sobers Up,” New York Times, August 14, 2009.

So you can imagine my surprise when, after having my twins, the happy hour invites stopped and were suddenly replaced by e-mails and evites for Moms’ Book Club, Mommy Spa Day, Make Your Own Purse Night, Mother of Twins Club, and— well, you get the idea. In my sleep-deprived, housebound-new- mommy state of mind (did I mention that I was socially starved after weeks of pink and blue onesies?), I dusted off my English major literary prowess and drove to suburbia to my first Moms’ Book Club.

Once there, I quickly learned that you cannot judge a book club by its cover. When I arrived at my first “meeting,” instead of the provocative book discussion I had expected, I was greeted with a formal wine tasting, followed by a gourmet dinner and after-dinner drinks that lasted well past midnight—on a week- night! And then the same thing began to happen again and again: Make Your Own Purse night offered pitchers of sangria, Mother of Twins Club was drinks and appetizers at a local pub, Mommy Spa Day featured mini-spa treatments accompanied by perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio and finger food at the country club. Soon I saw a trend in all these mommy events—they were our respect- able, socially acceptable alibis for drinking. This got me thinking (and talking) about the strange double standard between the non-moms and the new moms. What to Expect When You’re Expecting didn’t have a chapter titled: “Top 10 Cute Ways for New Mothers to Secretly Steal a Cocktail.” What happened to just saying (or even shouting) “I need a drink!”?

As I talked with other moms about this (over an Irish coffee during Knitting Club, of course), a common thread emerged: even when they try to hide it, all mothers (single or married, first-time or veteran) regularly celebrate, relax, and—yes—escape with a cocktail, all in the spirit of being a better mommy. A glass of Pinot Noir, or a chocolate martini or a pomegranate margarita — the cocktail does not matter, but the escape and the ability to temporarily blur reality does. Once, on a plane ride back from Las Vegas, another mother told me in a hushed voice that
her nightly cocktail was her “mother’s little helper,” filling that time we all call the witching hour (just after the children’s dinner and before Daddy returns home). The more I talked about this to friends and relatives, the more confessions I heard. One mom always jokes, “it’s 5:00 p.m. somewhere” while pouring a glass of Chardonnay and calling her sister for a virtual drink date. Others have a weekly or monthly Moms’ Club meeting that is never canceled. More attend Moms’ Shopping Nights that involve strolling along quaint New England streets where each boutique offers sips of their favorite libations (one store owner and mother told me that these shopping nights can turn into shoplifting nights if the ladies get too tipsy).

Sitting at the computer with a glass of my favorite port, I have a realization: we really aren’t any different than our single sisters. Sure, we are moms now. Okay, we left the city for the suburbs. Yes, we have children. Yes, some of us drive minivans, and many of us now call happy hours “moms’ nights.” But we will never pack away the Prada. We still have shrines to our Jimmy Choos. We will never, ever don mom jeans or need a tlc make- over. Regardless of labels and outdated stereotypes, we will always love and crave our cocktails with the girls. We are still as complicated and delicious as the perfect martini.

As I finish my drink before heading out to the Go Green Trunk Show at a nearby mom’s house, I think that maybe I’ll host the next event: a cocktail party.
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Okay, Laura Rossi Totten is all up in my dome.  So brilliant!  Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean that I’m a completely different person from when I was a swingin’ single.  I have grown and matured, and now I wear my heart outside of my body for my children.  But I still love to laugh and have fun and, yes, have the occasional drink.  And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that.  When Mama’s happy, everyone is happy.  For real. To read more insightful essays like Laura's, check out Make Mine a Double: Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not) at amazon.com.  While you're at it, check out Laura's websites: mysocalledsensorylife.com and laurarossipublicrelations.com.



“Moms’ Club” by Laura Rossi Totten from
Make Mine a Double:
Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not)
Edited by Gina Barreca
Copyright © 2011 University Press of New England
Used with permission from University Press of New England
www.upne.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amen

Lottie and Dallas both go to an awesome preschool, Good Shepherd Day School.  The school is affiliated with Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.  We love the school, the staff, and the whole atmosphere.

One of the components of GSDS is, of course, religious study.  The kids have chapel every Wednesday morning where they learn about God and Jesus.  Not being at all religious myself, I think it's great that my kids have the opportunity to learn about things that I wouldn't be able to teach them.  Sometimes Dallas throws a towel around himself and says he's Jesus. Lottie, especially, has really gotten into learning all she can at chapel, and that has been the catalyst to some pretty interesting conversations.

When I picked her up from school today, she decided she wanted to gather some fall leaves.  While working at her task, she nonchalantly asked if I knew that Jesus was the light of the world.  Three of four times a week, she bursts out with, "God and Jesus can do miracles!"  It's always totally random and apropos to nothing, but it's always stated with utter joy and wonder.  Around Easter, she was fascinated with Jesus's resurrection.  "Mama, they hanged him on a cross and his hands had bleeds but then he came alive again!"

Yesterday, we were stuck in traffic next to St. Joseph hospital.  There is a huge statue of St. Joseph outside the hospital, and Lottie always says it's Jesus.  I don't feel like arguing so I usually let it go.  While we were waiting at the light, Lottie asked, "Mommy, do I look like Jesus's girlfriend?" Um, okay.  I laughed so hard that I almost had to pull over.  Then she wanted to know if Jesus even had a girlfriend.  I told her that I thought that was an awesome question to ask Deacon Lauren the next time she had chapel at school.  Yeah, I passed the buck.  I'm not ashamed, either.  And if I'm ever the mother-in-law of Jesus, I'll deal with Him then.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome to my World

When I decided to stay at home with my first child, it was an easy decision.  Trevor and I both agreed that it would work best for our family to have someone home.  The decision was made even easier when we ended up with two kids under the age of two.  But it's not an easy decision for everyone; it's not even feasible for a lot of families.  I'm lucky to be able to stay home, but it's not always a bed of roses.



I'm proud to be a part of a fabulous group of women who have explored the topic of motherhood: stay-at-home moms versus working moms and moms who work from home.  We all do what's best for our families, so there are really no sides.  In Welcome to My World, an ebook available at amazon.com, you can read about all kinds of moms and how we all juggle motherhood and our "real" lives.

Buy Welcome to My World on amazon.com for the Kindle.
Buy Welcome to My World on barnesandnoble.com for the Nook.

Don't have an ereader?  No problem!  You can download the Kindle reader or Nook for free onto your PC or Mac.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

No tarts allowed

I have been cleaning, organizing, and rearranging the house in the last couple of weeks.  I feel the need to have a less-cluttered and more simplified home.  I have a feeling that won't happen in this decade, but I can always dream.

As a result of the rearranging, some things are getting the boot and some things are going in new places.  I have an old makeup table that was being used for pure decoration in the living room, and I decided to give it to Lottie to replace her old, pink, plastic Ariel makeup table.  As she is quick to remind us, she is almost five, you know.  She seemed excited about having the new furniture until she realized that makeup didn't come with it.  Trevor and I both tried to explain that four year-olds don't wear makeup, unless they're on Toddlers and Tiaras, and that she would get makeup when she got older.  She wasn't willing to accept that: shocking.  She ran into her room sobbing while Trevor and I tried not to laugh too loudly.  She flung herself down at the dreaded table and cried with her head in her arms.  When she finally came out, red-eyed and pouty, she told Trevor that she wasn't going to call it a makeup table anymore because she didn't have any makeup.  Instead, she was going to call it the crying table.  

If this is four, what are we in for when she's sixteen?  I shudder at the thought.  


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hungry?

Some people eat to live; some people live to eat.  In our house, we have both kinds.

Lottie basically eats to live.  She likes food, but it's rarely the first thing on her mind.  When she was a toddler, she had quite the sophisticated palate.  She ate butternut squash soup, white cheddar cheese, and mushroom bisque. But as she has gotten a little older, she has lost her desire to try new things.  She likes to stick with the usual kid fare: mac and cheese, hot dogs, pb&j, and the occasional chicken nugget.  Her main go-to is fruit, so at least that's something healthy.  However, if she had her way, it would be all sugar, all the time.  That kid loves dessert; her sweet tooth is truly beyond compare.  She loves any form of chocolate, ice cream, brownies, fudge, cake, cookies, and cotton candy.  She begs for m&ms as often as she breathes.  She spends half her time trying to cajole me into letting her have a treat or taking her out for ice cream.  I only wish she would spend a portion of that time cleaning her room.  Ah, pipe dreams.


(Chocolate face)


Dallas is the opposite kind of eater; he lives to eat.  He doesn't necessarily have a hugely varied diet, but some of that is due to his food allergies.  But no doubt about it, my boy likes to eat.  And if he doesn't eat, he is Mister Crabbarino.  Grumpy McGrumpster.  Low Blood Sugar Louie.  Angry Arnie.  You get the drift.  Like Lottie, he asks for fruit a lot, but he would rather have chicken, sausage, hot dogs, or granola bars.  He's definitely a kid who likes his savory food.  Dallas likes the idea of dessert more than he actually likes the dessert itself.  He'll request something specific and then eat two bites of it.  That's lucky for Lottie because she'll finish whatever he won't eat: she even licked the chocolate off the candles on his last birthday.  But don't mess with his gummy fruit snacks.  Seriously, things will get
ugly.




Both kids are getting a little better at trying new and different foods now.  Of course, I don't really give them a choice.  Whatever I make for dinner is what we have for dinner; I refuse to be a short-order cook.  They don't have to eat what I make, but they're not getting anything else.  They have to try a bite of something before they deem it "yucky."  I'm not totally hard-hearted: the kids can have fruit if they don't like the meal.  But I'll be damned if I'm going to make them anything else.  Momma's too busy for such nonsense.  All I can hope for is that someday, they learn to appreciate the new and the different.  After all, isn't that the whole point of living?

(Please note that the hats are both the same size: the kids' heads are obviously not.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September mourn

I wasn't alive when John F.  Kennedy was shot.  I was in middle school when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.  And along with pretty much everyone else in the world, I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard about the plane crashing into the first tower on September 11, 2001.

That morning was already an emotional one for me.  My grandpa Ted was in the hospital, and I hadn't slept well thinking about him.  He had always been one of the biggest constants in my life, and after a particularly hard couple of years, I wasn't sure what I would do without him.  I arrived at school that morning pretty early so I could try to get a jump on the day.  A few minutes before school started, I happened to stick my head into another teacher's room for a moment, and her television was on.  She said, "Something is happening in New York." We both stood, frozen, in front of the television and watched video of the first plane making impact on the North Tower.  The next hour or so is a blur in my mind.  Did I teach?  Did I talk to the kids about what was happening?  If I did, what did I say, because I certainly had no idea what was going on.

I was a traveling teacher that year, and after my first period class at the high school, I went to the middle school.  As soon as I arrived there, I was met with completely shocked faces.  While I was at the high school, the South Tower had been hit by a second plane.  I was already close to tears that I knew I couldn't really shed and hearing about the second tower was like a physical blow.  We were in the middle of standardized testing that day, so we were told not to talk to the kids about what had happened because it would upset them and they may not perform well on the tests.  It turned out that all the subterfuge was for naught as some high-ranking muckety-muck decided to scrap all the ISTEP testing done that day due to the acts of terrorism that had occurred.  But we didn't know that at the time, so instead of having a heartfelt and honest conversation with my students, I had to keep putting off their questions and pleading ignorance.  That was one of the worst things for me; I think there are teachable moments everywhere that need to be acknowledged if we hope to create better people.

The rest of the day was spent as if in a fog: people walked slower, talked slower, and looked as if the weight of the world were on their shoulders.  I couldn't pull myself away from the television that night although the vision of the planes and all their destruction was permanently burned into my memory.  It was almost as though I had to continue watching to truly believe that it had happened.  I was also trying so hard to understand why.  Ten years later, I understand the logistics of the why, but I don't think I'll ever be able to understand the emotions behind it.

Two days later, my grandpa died.  Some of my family members couldn't make it to the funeral because the airlines were still grounded.  I'll never forget my mom saying that she was glad my grandpa was unaware of what occurred the day of the attacks so he never knew what happened to the country he loved so much.  The full impact of September 11 was a little lost on me at the time because I had to put aside national grief to make way for my personal grief.  The United States was mourning the loss of a certain innocence and the idea of invulnerability; I just missed my grandpa.

 The ten year anniversary has weighed heavily on my mind, and I think it has everything to do with my kids.  I'm watching them grow and learn new things every single day, and I wonder how I'll explain the significance of September 11 to them some day.  Will they be scared?  Will they think it would never happen again?  Will they want to travel the world or will the thought of terrorism make that impossible?  I don't know the answers, and I probably never will.  I want to raise children who are aware, but I refuse to raise my kids with fear.  The world is a pretty crazy place, but there are still so many good things about it.  I wish Lottie and Dallas safety and the confidence to face whatever is coming their way.  I hope they never have a "where were you?" moment in their lifetimes.  Each night that I put my kids to bed and get to tell them how much I love them is a good day to me.  I hope that they learn not take anything for granted, because if 9/11 taught me anything, it's that anything is possible, and nothing is certain.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

1,095 days

On Tuesday, my baby will turn three years old.



I remember realizing that I was pregnant with him.  Lottie was eleven months old, and we were getting ready to take her to a Sunday tradition: story time at Joseph-Beth bookstore.  I don't know why it even occurred to me, but I vividly remember saying to Trevor, "I don't want to alarm you, but I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant again."  He laughed it off, but I just knew.  While he sat with Lottie at story time, I browsed books about raising two kids, pregnancy after 35, and baby names.  Indeed, when I took a pregnancy test later that day, it was positive.  I was pregnant and terrified.



I'm pretty sure I cried for the first six weeks or so of my pregnancy with Dallas.  Trevor and I had always planned on having two kids, but I wasn't sure I was quite ready to add another family member to the fold.  Lottie was still just a baby herself, and I had no idea how I was going to deal with two kids under the age of two. During one of my crying jags, I wailed to Trevor, "I just don't think I can do this!"  He very calmly said, "Babe, we don't really have a choice."  And that was that.



My pregnancy with Dallas was really pretty easy.  I honestly didn't have time to think about it too much because I was too busy chasing Lottie around.  When I was pregnant with Lottie, I had the luxury of time, and every twinge sent me running to the doctor, or worse, the Internet.  I was pretty sure she was going to be born with two heads or that I had contracted some sort of rare infectious disease only found in Liberia.  Trevor even threatened to take our computer's keyboard to work with him if I didn't stop trolling the 'net for symptoms.  But with Dallas, that never happened.  When Lottie napped, I napped.  When Lottie was awake, I didn't have a spare moment to worry about a little spasm here and there or a sore back.  But I still worried.



Would I be able to handle two kids?  Would I lose my mind?  Would I be a good mother to two?  Would Lottie get the attention she needed?  Would I love the new baby as much as I loved Lottie?  Was that even possible?



The day I went into labor with Dallas was like any other day...well, except I was in labor.  Trevor was out of town just for the day; I think he was visiting a client in prison.  I called him and left a message on his voicemail that said, "I'm pretty sure I'm in labor.  Just thought you should know.  Talk to you soon."  So blas√©!  That night, we put Lottie to bed for the last time as an only child at the tender age of 20 months old.  Trevor and I ate Chinese food, and then he got some rest while I sat on a birthing ball to try to alleviate some of the pain.  (It turns out that in addition to labor, I was actually having a gallbladder attack from the crab rangoons, but I wouldn't figure that out for five more months.)  Around 5:00 AM, I couldn't stand it any longer, and I told T it was time to go.  We called his parents, who had been put on orange alert that afternoon,and they made it to our house in eight minutes.  Off we went to have another baby.



When we arrived at Central Baptist Hospital, the wacky hijinks began.  First, we couldn't find an unlocked door to save our lives.  We walked and walked until we finally found a place to go in.  The night nurse in the OB ward asked what I needed help with, and it took all of my might not to scream at her to check out the way I was clutching my nine-month-pregnant belly and try to hazard a guess at why I needed help.  We checked in, got the room, and I put on the lovely gown.  I wasn't as dilated as I thought I should have been considering the pain, but again, that was my gallbladder protesting.  I labored for a while before getting an epidural.  I waited for the sweet release, and it never came.  The epidural hadn't worked, and we had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come back to do another one.  By this time, I was begging for someone to just rip the baby out of me right then and there.  The nurse gave me a shot of something to "take the edge off."  Boy, howdy.  Not only did it take the edge off, it sent me into lala land for a while.  I hallucinated gnomes and dwarves marching down a yellow brick road in front of me.  Gnarly, dude!  I faintly remember Trevor trying to talk to me, but the gnomes had all of my attention.  The anesthesiologist finally returned, and the second epidural took.  I rested for a bit before starting to push, but Dallas was stubborn.  Like his sister, he didn't want to come out the natural way.  He simply refused to move.  But I'm stubborn, too, and I desperately wanted a VBAC birth.  I pushed and pushed, but finally my doctor sat down on the bed with me, took my hand, and said the baby's heartbeat was dropping with every push.  She wanted to get him out, and I immediately agreed.  I just wanted to hold my child.






We had a son.  Dallas Simon Wells, named after family members, was born on September 6 at 10:13 AM.  He weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces; he was 20.5 inches long.  He was a very sleepy kid, and he didn't really wake up to nurse very well until the next day.  Had I known that he wouldn't sleep for the next ten months, I would have enjoyed that night in the hospital a lot more than I did at the time.  From the beginning, he has been a sweet boy.  The only thing bigger than his heart is his noggin: seriously, it has always been off the charts.  Lottie was in love with him from the first moment she saw him, and she still considers herself his number one defender.  They really are best friends, and my deepest hope is that they stay that way for the rest of their lives.  My boy is wicked smart.  He started talking at an early age, and he just never stopped.  He's methodical and deliberate in his play; he knows what he likes to do and how he likes to do it.  He's fascinated with how things work, and I wonder if he has inherited some of his grandpa's engineering mind.  Dallas loves dinosaurs, trucks, books, climbing, jumping, school, pirates, and Skittles.  When he laughs, it's often to the point of tears, and when he cries, he breaks my heart.  Second children are so resilient.  They get the hand-me-down clothes and toys, and their parents know exactly what they'll do to get in trouble before they even think of it themselves.  But they also seem to have more freedom because parents have learned so much with the first child, the guinea pig.  I never worried about when Dallas would roll over or crawl or walk because I knew he would do all those things when he was ready.  His tantrums are almost funny because I know it's just a phase.  When he goes down the slide head-first, I laugh because I've seen it all before with no tragic endings.  He may always be compared to his sister, but even now, he knows who he is and doesn't apologize for it.



The minute I held my little boy, all of the fears I had went out of the window.  How could I have ever worried about not loving his little face, his little toes, his beautiful blue eyes?  I can't imagine our family without his quiet intensity, his goofy laugh, his sense of humor, and his enduring sweetness.  About fifty times a day, he tells me how much he loves me.  Though the days tend to move slowly, these three years have passed quickly.  No longer a baby, my boy is (almost) potty trained, undresses himself, goes to preschool, plays silly games with his sister, and makes me smile each and every day.  Both kids define my joy, and everything I do is better because of them.














Happy third birthday, buddy.  I'm so proud to be your mama, and I love you so much.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Free time"

With Lottie and Dallas both in preschool, you're probably wondering what I'm doing with all of my free time.  Ha.

First of all, it's not exactly "free" time.  As anyone knows, houses don't run themselves.  I normally have to sneak in cleaning and laundry when the kids are otherwise occupied; if I don't, I get a lot of unsolicited help.  And by help, I mean the opposite of help.  I also don't have copious amounts of time.  Dallas is only going to school in the mornings, so I have between 8:30 AM and 11:30 AM to get things done, travel time not included.  That's not a huge amount of time, people.  Now before you roll your eyes, I'm not complaining about the lack of time I have alone.  I know that in just a few years, I'll be alone all day long and missing my kids a lot...maybe.  And despite popular belief, I'm not sitting around on the couch, watching my stories, and eating my bon-bons.  Au contraire.

In the hours I have to myself, I have been organizing the house, and I love it way too much.  The sense of accomplishment I get after cleaning out or organizing just one drawer makes me realize that I either need a hobby or to see a shrink to work on my self-esteem.  I mean, that's nutty, right?  Nutty or not, it feels really good to be getting the house back into shape.  Although, honestly, I'm not sure it was ever truly in shape from the first.  When we moved it, Lottie was only 11 months old, and within one month of moving in, I was pregnant with Dallas.  Not a heck of a lot was getting done for a while.  Now I have some time to breathe and take stock of what has happened to my house, and I don't like it.  I don't feel like I can really relax and have fun with the kids while things are falling out of the hall closet or clothes are spilling out of drawers.  I enjoy working on projects while the kids are gone so that I can enjoy spending time with them when they're home.  It's not fair to them that I get twitchy every time I pass a pile of laundry. although technically, the amount of laundry is sort of their fault.  That's the only reason that I wish I had a couple of more hours to get work done as well; once I'm on a roll, it's hard to stop.  I have a feeling the staff at Good Shepherd Day School is going to get used to me running in at 11:31 PM, covered in sweat and dust, with a rag tucked into my back pocket.

So far, I have cleaned and organized Lottie's room and Dallas's room; I have gone through all of their clothes; I have cleaned and organized the mudroom and the front hall closet; I have cleaned the screened porch; and I have begun to go through all of the books in our library/office.  Once the books are done, our bedroom and our closets will get the treatment. The basement is going to be a huge project, so I'll probably save that for the winter months.  By and by, I'm going to get my house clean and keep it clean or at least clean enough that I don't start to shake uncontrollably at the thought of friends just dropping by.