Tuesday, June 28, 2016

14 Lip Glosses and Packing for the Coast

Sometimes the fourth part of the day occurs when the trade-off self talk takes place. Make sense? Maybe you have named the practice of 'if I do this then I can do that' chatter something else. Yeah, I do trade offs.

I would never, ever unload the dishwasher or put away laundry if not for trade-off self talk. The script usually goes something like the following.

Out-loud Jill: 'I hate unloading the dishwasher.'

Trade-off self-talk Jill: 'Unload the dang dishwasher and then you can sit and watch the DVRed RHO the OC. I mean, you already are a day behind watching the show so you couldn't listen to Heather Dubrow's podcast today.'

Out-loud Jill to the house full of four other people: 'I'm unloading the dishwasher.'

And, then, I sit down and watch shows on the DVR for my fourth part.

So that works, right?

What if you have a beach vacation upcoming and there is a family to pack -- clothes, beach gear, food, snacks, magazines, booze, styrofoam cups. There is a load of trade-off talking going on around here.

Here's what I decided to do because I need to pack and I want a fourth part every day. I mean the DVR and Bravo stop for no one.

I am going room by room each evening to clean out, sort and organize. The two bathrooms, the hall closet and the laundry room are the spots I'm working so that I can have a fourth part. I am packing during commercial breaks and making assignments for the folks in this family who stay home during the day during the summer.

If you read the above, yes, I'm doing two un-fun, yet gratifying chores so that I can have a joy-filled, TV-watching fourth part.

Tonight, I went through the girls' (and Chris') bathroom. With the first drawer, I threw out four toothbrushes and put all the hair trimmer equipment in one container (there are quite a few attachments for someone who simply trims his beard and does nothing to the mop on his head -- trying to ignore the hair, trying to ignore the hair). Don't judge because the oral healthcare is in the same drawer as the beard trimmer. There are two plastic bins corralling the contents -- no blending within a container.

In the cabinet above the toilet, we found some old play make up to toss and got rid of about 10 nail polishes. We still have about 20. Two seven-year-old girls can never have enough sparkly, glow-in-the-dark, hot pink polish. Right?

Under the sink, we found some expired medicine to throw in the trash and store all the hair products in their rightful containers. By the way, we have three bottles of olive oil hair cream. I don't need to buy those for some time now. (I also moved three boxes of tissue from th laundry room to the bathroom under the sink cabinet -- where it belongs!)

A basket on the counter with too many to count headbands was examined and we tossed a few broken ones. OK, they weren't all broken, but I had to convince the headband-wearing twosome some of the Frozen-themed headbands were just no longer wearable. Due to,them being broken. Or, just not so cute anymore. Or, just let's get rid of something you have not worn ever.

(G made dinner tonight so I didn't need to take care of that while I was working on the bathroom. Trader Joe's mandarin orange chicken saved the day.)

Then, the ponytail holder and barrette drawer. It is a full one. We have many, many ponytail holders because there is a lot of ponytail wearing going on here. The three-sectioned plastic container contains stretchy, elastic headbands, barrettes and clips, and ponytail holders. Oh, but there is another little plastic bin in the drawer that holds lip glosses, lip balms and flavored chap sticks. We have many, many flavors and colors. Some sparkle, some taste like soda and some really do moisturize and keep lips from being chapped.

We threw out 14 lip glosses and have 18 remaining. I like a Dr. Pepper-flavored gloss more than anyone, but we don't need a Mountain Dew flavor, Sprite flavor, Orange Crush flavor, Coke flavor, Hawaiian Punch flavor . . . and you get the picture.

So, we tossed them. Bonus, the girls thought the sorting and cleaning out of hair goods and glosses was a game. What fun.

And, I have a fourth part. Two grocery bags full of Styrofoam cups, snacks and paper plates also done. The girls' clothes for the beach trip stacked in a pile.

Tomorrow, the hall closet and beach gear.

And, a fourth part. I'm thinking there is a Bravo show or a Twitter feed to fall into . . .

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Check Ups and Charm Bracelets

The first few weeks after school lets out for the summer are a time for re-adjusting to a more relaxed schedule. Swimming is a priority for the day. Watermelon is a meal. Ice cream is served before dinner. Play clothes are all-day clothes.

These early summer schedule weeks are also a time to anticipate vacations, go through the school year's crafts and papers, as well as never tire of friends and play dates. Every minute available for time with friends is spent with friends.
My girls had to squeeze in as much time as possible with their very best friend over these last couple of weeks. You see, today, was the day their friend moved. (Pause for me to gain my composure. I've cried off and on all day. Hard crying. Like my throat hurts from trying to hold it back crying.)

Over these past weeks we went to the pool most every day and night, the girls played for hours upon end at each other's house and we drew too many pictures to count that showed what seen-year-old friendship looks like. (It's precious. It's colorful. It's a lot of words such as 'bestest' and 'funnest' and 'forever.')

We got in a few sleepovers and a trip to the movies. 

My girls and their friend also just played. Laughed and talked and danced and ran around playing Marco Polo. (A friend's house empty of furniture because the movers came last week provides good echos for the game.) Each day these last few weeks there was a conversation between me and my girls about their friend moving. There were tears and there were plans for visits. There were sad moments and happy reflections on our gratefulness of knowing her.

And, there were the plans for gifts. So, in my recent fourth parts, we found a charm bracelet, a two-sided picture frame and a Good Night San Antonio book (at a bookstore across town). A few errands run in between a dance recital, Father's Day and a couple of family birthdays. Lots of planning required and scheduling finessed to take care of gifts and cards. All the while, prioritizing time with the 'bestest, funnest friend.'

I'm tired. Real tired. With pool time ending late most evenings and errands being run at all times of the day, I keep thinking about a true re-fueling fourth part.  Remember, a fourth part is selfishly about me. It's my time to do what I choose. It's for me to enjoy. It's mine.

Tonight, the fourth part is being sad. I'm avoiding looking at the house across the street because I'll miss seeing our friends' cars, their vintage porch swing and their plants. My fourth part tonight is a quiet house because my girls are at their grandparents eating grandmother's comforting meatloaf and playing Go Fish. 

For this fourth part, there's no evening swim. There's no putting together a picture frame that holds a hand-drawn picture made with crayons (one side with both families drawn and the best friend has a crown, the other sentences that read 'two families, two together, for forever'). There's no picking up the charm bracelet because the charm with the two girls holding a jump rope and a friend jumping is ready. 

There won't be beach towels to wash tonight or stories to tell of the best times with our friend.  There won't be the question of  'what time do they leave?

Today, because of the move, I worked from home. I was able to catch up on reading, participate in a staff meeting, make some calls and write up some coaching plans. I also had the girls' seven-year checkup scheduled.

The move happened at 10 a.m. The tears lasted until almost noon. The cries of 'why can't she be our sister and stay' to 'I don't remember life before her' broke my heart. Real sadness. G and I did our best to comfort and soothe saying things such as we will call and FaceTime and visit. The words were as honest as the sobs. 

Our pediatrician visit was at 2:20 p.m. (Caroline wrote her first letter to her friend between the move and when we left for the doctor.) We have a gift of a pediatrician. He is so caring and ministers through his practice and his words. Yes, he talks about Jesus and faith and love.

So, today, after we asked questions about ear piercing (not until they are 10 in our house), loose teeth and trying new foods, I shared with our doctor that the girls' best friend had moved earlier in the day. He took a pause and then sweetly asked the girls if they knew about Joseph. They nodded and he started telling the story. He talked about how Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He talked about Joseph's dad dying and Joseph being very important in Egypt. My girls listened so carefully as he described the moment when Joseph's brothers came to him and were worried he wouldn't love them or forgive them. Instead, Joseph said '...but God meant it for good.'

Our pediatrician said to the girls it is OK to be sad, it is OK to cry and it is OK to know that God works for good. He told them they may not understand why their friend had to move now but if they pray to God and talk to Him, he will help them see what was meant for good.

Oh, there has been so much good. The girls had their first best friend. The girls have so many happy memories and stories about the two years they had their friend. And, now, they have someone who they can visit and will always have as a friend.

Me, too.

Because that first time the girls saw their friend getting out of the car at her house and Caroline said to me, 'she's in my class' was good. Because she was then in Camille's first grade class this year and that was good, too. God was working for good. They each had her in class one year.

And, so the tears are now streaming down my face as I sit in this fourth part and type. And, as I think of the past two years, they were good.

And, as I think of our November vacation to Kansas, well, that will be good, too.

Thank you God for your good.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Buttonholes and VBS

One of the best home purchases I ever made was a chalkboard cabinet from Pottery Barn. I bought it over 10 years ago. I stalked it. I waited for it to go on sale and then had an extra discount so it was quite a deal.

When we moved off Walnut Creek to our current home, it came with us. The buyer of Walnut Creek was upset it didn't stay and tried to claim it was a part of the house. No, friend, it's mine. It also was hung about 10 minutes after the multiple television sets were installed. Priorities, people.

This cabinet houses pens, pencils, bills to be paid, two staplers, rulers and tape. Lots of glue, too. Tape, glue and staples seem to be in high demand in the Adams house.

The cabinet fronts are chalkboard. Over the years, we've scribbled grocery lists, projects needing to be completed, countdowns to vacations and weekly dinner menus. Now, in my latest attempt to post my fourth part efforts for all to see, I've listed out each day what little things need to be done. The night before, I'll write down tomorrow's list of to dos not worthy of a calendar entry, but something that's causing me to get a little anxious. Right now, the items for Saturday completion (by the way, it is Sunday evening) are 'fix snap on plaid shirt' and 'buttonhole on denim shirt.'

Obviously, neither was finished yesterday. Remember the parenthetical statement above that it's not Saturday as I write this?

I had mapped out Saturday and even had a fourth part rolled in (G was going to grill our dinner, we had time for Caroline's voice lesson, dropping off an overdue birthday gift and go swimming ...... Plus, my three tasks.) I did finish one task -- booked a hotel for our summer vacation.

Then, I pulled out the sewing machine and the instruction manuk to remind myself how to make a buttonhole. Easy enough? I've done it before. Added thread to a bobbin and popped on the buttonhole foot. I was going to knock this out in a minute.

Beep, beep, beep. The joy of an electronic, fancy, technical, computerized machine. You get these beeps and a flashing red light to help you identify what is wrong. After multiple attempts to fix the beeping, I'm ready. And, then, I couldn't make the buttonhole. I've had time to process since yesterday morning and afternoon and evening and this afternoon so I'm not including any fancy, technical language in my writing.

Over and over and over and over I tried. I tested on another piece of fabric. I watched YouTube videos. I googled Singer Curvy buttonhole. Nothing worked.

I pulled that plug out of the wall, threw the shirt into the 'take to someone else' pile and packed up the sewing machine. I do t even attempt the snap that doesn't require a machine.

I am over it. What should have taken a few moments where my morning coffee stayed warm, took too much time and I didn't get to scratch it off my anxious-building to do list. Aargh!?!?!

Add to the list ... Find someone to make a buttonhole for me. That's one day this week.

The other activities this week are minimal. No tumbling or tap. No voice lessons. No school!

But there is vacation bible school at my church. The girls have invited two friends so Sunday through Thursday evenings this week are about getting the four girls there by 6:30 p.m. and getting them picked up at 8:30 p.m. to go home. The theme of our VBS is Submerged. There's a focus on exploring the depths of God's great ocean of love, grace nod acceptance. The kids will also be learning about the water crisis in Haiti (where we send mission groups each year). There's. Contest to raise money for Justice Water which aims to empower developing communities with sustainable water technologies using affordable, acceptable and available resources.

Add to the chalkboard list -- bring some money for Justice Water and revel in God's love, grace and acceptance.

A buttonhole really shouldn't be a focus that disrupts my day. I've got clean, running water and God's grace.

Should my chalkboard start including a verse ... Or a praise?

Consider that during a fourth part. (It's about time to get these girls). Fourth part pondering will commence later.