The Quietest Game

I live in a very loud house. I know, I am sure many of you do too as well. But seriously: we're all L-O-U-D. Even the dog is noisy. It's all fun being surrounded by such boisterous energy within the house; we can all go to our respective corners, rooms, shut doors, be separated by walls if need be.

But then there's the car. In the car, there is no escape. There is little room. Often it feels like there is little air.

Our once shy and quiet 4 year old Boo is now a non-stop talker. He doesn't stop talking for more than a few seconds, much less a whole minute. When he's not talking, he's singing. And yes, I love his singing to the moon, but sometimes, just once in a while, for a few seconds or even, dare I say, whole minutes, I enjoy something resembling silence.

And that's where The Quietest game comes in.

On one particularly L-O-U-D car ride, I challenged my non-stop talker to a duel of silent swords. "Let's see who can be the quietest for the longest amount of time!" I dared him. Ah, how his eyes lit up. I knew I had him. My son, while sensitive and giving and kind, is more competitive than a gambler in Vegas staring down the machine he could never win. My son likes to win, and he'll do what it takes to be #1. "What?!" he asked incredulously. "I bet I can be quieter than all of you!"

I smiled and nodded, then faced the road ahead. In silence. Even Baby Tickle played along; she knew what was up -- that, or she was totally amused at this strange new lack of sound in the car. And so we sat in silence. We did this for FOUR. WHOLE. MINUTES. My mind wasn't sure where to go with this ability to now hear my own thoughts and give them direction. In the end, Boo declared victory, but oh how the victory was truly mine.

And so now, when I am at wit's end after an insane day (more insane than the normal insane), and I need some peace and quiet but we're stuck in traffic and one kid is singing at the top of his lungs while the other is squealing in attempts to match her brother's loudness, I break out The Quietest Game. And as competitive as I may be, you can bet on this: I always let my kids win this game.


no reason, no warning

there is something about life that drives me crazy sometimes: that it is not permanent. that in less than a blink, it is taken away. whoosh. gone. sitting here, reading the tweets, the news updates, watching the news. another plane crash. 49 more lives, taken. whoosh. gone. horrific images. bystander interviews. phone numbers for friends and family to call for more info. i watch and listen and wonder: how do they dial? how do they pick up the phone, punch in those numbers, and ask 'is the person i love alive?' it's a question i don't think i'd want to know the answer, because the mere act of asking it means chances are slim.

as a parent, i am energized by the life my children bring, and paralyzed with fear at the thought of something ever taking that away. i am so incredibly in love with life and this world and think it's damn amazing we are all here to love, to laugh, to give, to learn. but it pisses me off to no end that these things happen. i cannot watch the news. i cannot read the news. i cannot talk about anything like this with anyone. at all. anymore. i shake. i ache. i cry and cry and feel like a shit because why am i crying? i don't know those people. i don't live near there. i don't have any connections. but that's the thing, isn't it? we could have had connections. it could have been us. it might be one day. me, trying to pick up the phone and punch in those numbers to find out about you; you, picking up the phone to find out about me. we are all here. we are all connected. and it kills me to no fucking end that these horrible things keep happening. and what can we do? i need, need, need to DO, to help, to comfort or something i don't know, but i can't do anything to save those people. the ridiculous part inside of me wishes i could have. everytime.

in the secret life of bees, there is a character who held my heart: may. she was a little off. she held the world's sorrows in her heart. she had a wailing wall where she wrote on little pieces of paper when something happened that hurt her heart so much she couldn't bear it, so she wrote and stuffed the paper into this wall as an attempt to let it go, set the burden of the pain she felt free. i get it, may. i cannot hear about things like tonight's crash and go on with my night, life as usual. i can't do it. i can only sit and rock and cry. i feel helpless but desperately, fiercely want to help. but how? i sit and allow my thoughts to honor those lives and hope. hope that the surviving families allow themselves to feel the loss and grieve as they need to. hope that they will eventually in time see the light of love and laugh again. hope that this never happens again. to anyone. a girl can hope.

my thoughts, my heart, my whole life right now, goes out to the families and friends of those beautiful people lost tonight on Continental flight 3407. i know it's a long shot, but if any of you are reading this, please know i am hugging you fiercely tonight. i am with you. i am right there. and if you need me later, i'll be here. just tell me how i can help.


I can see clearly now the mess is gone...

I am the first to admit: I've got a lot of issues. One being: I cannot work or really even start to think clearly if I am surrounded by a mess. It's as if I need to wipe the physical slate clean before my mental slate can start fresh and hit the ground running.

But here's the thing: I have two little kids who are constantly on the go and leave trails of random stuff all over the house. I have a dog that seriously sheds enough to knit at least a dozen baby sweaters...in a week. I have a husband who, bless his adorable laid-back soul, doesn't really seem to notice if things are out of place or, say, if there is trash on top of the kitchen countertop.

But I do--I see it all. Every last little bit. And when it gets a little too much, and I need to work or want to sit and read, it drives me batty. If I reach that point, my hubby knows: it's time for a massive clean up. If we don't, he knows what will happen: I will buzz around freaking out, grumbling, and then end up eating all of the chocolate or snacks in the house because I am freaking out. And that last part, my friends, is something that hubby does not want to happen.

So this morning, thanks to the help of my son and my sweet husband who puts up with my crazy anal-retentive uber organizing side, we did a big clean up. The toys are always the worst. Where does all this stuff come from? We put all of the toys in their respective bins, threw away itty bitty random parts, and dropped off a whole bag of toys to Goodwill. It felt SO good. We had an organized bin system before but this time I made labels with the names & pictures of contents to make it easier for my son to help out. He loved it!

I also cleaned up the pantry a little:

I also cleaned two of the bathrooms, including one nasty toilet (used mainly by the boys) and one very disgusting shower. I figure you don't need to see pics of either (you're welcome). Hubby managed the clean up of the puzzle drawers & shelves (trust me: that's a huge job at our house), vacuumed the upstairs, and cleaned out his old car (the latter being necessary since it's going back to the dealer this week).

And so, here I sit, able to breathe clearly again. Ready to write and work without messy distractions. And, as a bonus, the place is now clean for our morning playdate tomorrow.