Category Archives: Family holidays

The truth deep inside

Nobody can do it all. That’s the truth, plain and simple.

Sitting here, writing at 2.33 am, I am breaking my first cardinal resolution of 2013 – to sleep earlier each day so I can be a better wife and mother. It’s complex though and difficult to follow through especially on days I accidentally fall asleep nursing Piglet back to sleep at an hour I am supposed to be awake.

Today was a case in point when I had to settle him at 10.30 pm and awoke with a startled jolt at 12.30 am to the memory that I’d left hot chicken broth out to cool, unfinished laundry soaking in the tub and a study program I am hurrying to rewrite and edit because people want to use it by 23 February.

And then there are all those unanswered emails and facebook messages because I have been too occupied with life to get online properly, slipping in here and there just when I have to send an urgent email or quickly check for a reply and trying hard not to feel terrible about my growing inbox with all those blue dots glaring at me in the face.

But now the urge just to sit down and do something truly non-functional (non-household or homeschooling-related that is) is too compelling to ignore – even at an ungodly hour such as 2.33 am. Sometimes the need to have this kind of quiet time trumps the schedule, because that is going to make me a better wife and mom the next day. I’ll cope with lots and lots of prayer and a cup of coffee. Not too much of the latter because then Piglet will be too wired up to nap properly.

(For those who are new to my blog, yes I am still nursing Piglet and won’t be weaning him anytime soon unless he directs himself to it. He turned 2 just a couple of weeks ago and nursing is still akin to that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow so I am hard-pressed not to force him to wean.)

I am writing this post because from time to time many people have asked how do I do it all.

It’s so difficult to answer that question and I have been avoiding it mostly because it seems any explanation will be bound to have some gaps in it. The short reply is: I don’t.

I don’t do it all. (Even though I wish I could.)

Two weeks ago I went to the doctor about pain in my right hand and was finally bludgeoned to face the fact that my over-worked hands have been experiencing osteoarthritis for over half a year now. Stop all the hard scrubbing, the doctor said. I’ve called in domestic help once a fortnight for all the violent cleaning jobs I used to do and am trying to live with toilets that are less than perfect. Once in two weeks won’t relieve me of all the everyday work but at least it will stop me from stretching for the ceiling fans and shimmying up the windows with a rag cloth.

After a torturous period of surviving on 2-3 hours sleep a night for a few weeks copy editing last year, I have decided that I will not take on any major projects with short deadlines even though the money will probably help pay for our car quite a bit.

And speaking of more day-to-day things, last week I baked a lovely carrot cake with cream cheese icing but then had to contend with double laundry loads and lots of our homeschooling books to sort out into their various study corners. By the time I had to clean the house I found old, hardened chocolate tucked discreetly between the couch cushions.

Last week also I had a guest who came to stay with us for 8 days and we stayed up late some nights chatting in between my edit jobs and toilet cleaning (I can’t wait for a toilet to be washed only after 2 weeks can I?) but then I was so tired after that I felt like hanging myself from the ceiling one evening.

At this point I have triple laundry loads because we made a spontaneous drive out to the beach an hour away yesterday for a few hours of evening sea fun and dinner and I have the wet laundry to contend with along with the usual load, towels for our family of 5 and guest bedlinen.

Some thing always has to give.

Thankfully now the house is all cleaned up nicely for a fresh week of school but as I sit here a pile of work files loom up behind the computer screen. Strewn across this one table I haven’t cleared are toys, the whole range of stationery you’d find in a shop, a rag cloth, okra seeds for planting and a whole lot of mish-mash that will have to wait till tomorrow because I’m blogging.

I’m going to hit publish soon and when I drag myself out of bed in a few hours I will once again live with the regret of having stayed up late but I will also feel strangely happy that I am connecting somewhat with people I love even though writing is a little one-sided, admittedly.

Deep inside I am so grateful for friends who are patient when it takes a few days for me to respond to emails and text messages. When I don’t reply there and then I am probably attending to some soup and wailing at the same time because someone pee-d on the floor.

Right now I’m wondering when I’ll be able to watch Les Miserables with Sweet Man. It might happen, it might not happen, but I’m okay with it not happening anytime soon. Someday it will, when the time is right. When will that be?

I’m pretty certain that I’ll know when the time comes. By the wonderful grace of God, life is full as it is with big things in life like wee children who don’t come with reset buttons and have a knack of making time stop for a moment when they churn up delightful, horrific messes just 10 minutes after I’ve deep-cleaned the house.

Another week of everything

I know, I’m so behind!  But I just found Kira’s lovely blog and thought it was a great opportunity to link up.  If you haven’t visited her blog yet, please do.  It is a real treat!

Last week was the week everything was happening.  And by “everything”, I mean everything good – and bad – that I can just about handle in a week.

There is so much telling to do, and I am so tired I can only think by using a list.  Creative!  But it’ll keep me on track.  I think.

Do you like chicken?  Do you?  I’ll start with the chicken.

1. The chicken that got licked.  My favourite room in the house is the kitchen.  It’s where I spend lots of time with the family and we have a ball of a time mostly, except for the Why Haven’t You Finished Your Food Yet?? bit.

Oops.  Digressing already.

Anyway, the Bunnies have fun and learn so much by observing and participating in the kitchen.  (In truth, that’s just me hoping.) I venture to say there are hazards, of course.  Stuff. Will. Happen.

Like it did with the chicken.

Last week, my exceedingly sweet 3 year old Lamb poured a big cup of water over the roast chicken I was preparing for lunch.

Wait, it hadn’t been roasted yet – just all marinated and left sitting on top a rich layer of carrots, onions, potatoes and garlic cloves.  Being sleep-deprived, I wasn’t totally on the ball that morning and didn’t discover the deed until I started dishing out the food.  Did I ever produce such a dastardly chicken dish!  Thanks to the water – not roasted, not baked, not fried, not grilled, not …. whatever.

Here, I confess.  You should be glad you were not there to see the storm-cloud that was my face.  I am sorry to report that I should have kept a little lid on myself.  The kids ate in silence.  Which is not the norm.

I did not take a photo.  You’d understand.  I was not in the mood for anything positive at that point.

The good thing about that morning was that we all had a nice read-aloud prior to lunch and there was an interesting discussion.  As for the chicken (note: eliminate the word “roast”), we all ate what we could at a decent pace and I turned the rest into a stew the next day.  As always – there is hope, people.

I am also trying to remember that the Bunnies are always trying to be helpful, really.  Vindictiveness is nowhere an issue when it comes to putting a good thing, like a meal, together.

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2.  Baking is in the house.

Only mini muffins here.  Chocolate crackles are wolfed down too quickly for photography – after and before the cooling process.

Please excuse the poor photo.  I have a lousy camera.  And how do some people get those glamorous shots while holding a baby with one hand or having little ones clinging to their skirts?  That is really beyond me.

But back to the topic at hand.  I like doing things with the Bunnies and baking is just one of them.  Recently, however, I haven’t had enough energy to allow them to do messier things – like scooping out the flour.  So I do it myself and let them stir up.

The kids have a fantastic appetite, a love of variety and always want to participate in the kitchen.  I am hunting for scrumptious, easy recipes they can follow.  If you have any easy ones (repeat: easy easy easy), post a link in the comments section, will ya?  Loving you in advance.

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3. Critter fun.  It was a public holiday last Friday and upon rising in the morning, Sweet Man and I suddenly decided it would be nice to get out somewhere.

We got another family to join us and drove out of the city to a tiny place called Rabbit Funland in Semenyih where you get to feed and pet the critters.  Sweet Man’s cousin had told us about this place just last week, so the name was fresh in our 30+ year old memory.  Do not be deceived by the name.  There were other animals too.  Goats …..

Aren’t they the sweetest creatures?  I love goats.  I wish I had a goat, but it seems that they excrete rather foul smelling poo which is the last thing I’d like to add right now to my current poo-cleaning portfolio.  When Piglet is finally toilet trained, I shall start seriously considering goat-rearing.  ONE goat.  I kid you not.  HA!

Anyway, this clean, albeit sweet smelling place also had a few sheep and ponies.  Puppy and Lamb had their first ever pony ride and it was such fun.  One of the ponies had lost an eye in a horse fight, but that didn’t bother the kids as much as it did me.  Maybe I shouldn’t have stared for so long at the eye socket.

Rabbit Funland also had rabbits, of course.  They were well-fed, plump ….

and friendly.

When it was time for lunch, we left the rabbit enclosure and headed off for the Rabbit Funland restaurant.  Would it bother you if you ate rabbit meat after petting the fluffy things?

We ordered rabbit satay, served with peanut sauce …..

Rabbit sausage ….

Rabbit fried rice ….

And rabbit in a claypot.  No photo of this one – we were too busy tucking in by then.

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4. Revolution in the back garden.  The 2 humungous trees in our back garden got felled on the weekend ….. finally!  They had been growing for more than 30 years on the slope adjoining the garden and had provided us with some really lovely shade but were getting far too tall and had begun protruding over our kindly neighbour’s airspace.

Can you see the man in the tree?  I can tell you, those guys climbed up like they were walking up my staircase singing a song.

Did I tell you we live in a linked house?  There wasn’t any access to the road behind our house, so the men had to carry the branches through our living room, across our dining to the entrance landing, and out the front door to the driveway.

Yes. Read that again.

We had to push all our furniture aside and cover them with bedsheets.

The men finished the job late in the evening and we were expecting a guest who was due to arrive in an hour after they left.  He was going to stay for a few days and I had spent the whole morning dusting the spare room.  That’s the good part about having guests on a regular basis – they keep cleaning up to date!

Anyhoo, after the men left you can imagine the speed at which Sweet Man had to work to get things “cleaned up” while I got the Bunnies into the shower.  I say “cleaned up” because he really did try his best but there was simply too much dirt for a one-time quick clean to suffice.  Later that night, after taking our guest out to dinner and putting the little ones to bed, I had to do another round, dusting and wiping surfaces included.

Plus wash the driveway.

I was SO whacked.

I miss the birds already.  They were singing extra loudly yesterday morning and I figure they were wondering where their beloved trees went to.

But no matter, we have plans to plant more trees – avocado and passion fruit are what I have in mind.  Also, now that the land has been cleared, I have a farming project all ready to go.  Once I start reading more about it!  Sigh.  Whatever did I go to law school for?

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5.  A not-so-new resolve.  I’m going to start running again.  I’ve been feeling a little edgy with the kids and I think exercising will do me some good.

And apparently, if you blog too often and not exercise, your bottom’s liable to get jiggly.

That is not happening not going to happen to me.

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Have a good week!  If I don’t post tomorrow or the day after, you’ll know where I am.  Running!!!

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