How to Break an INFP

The kids stay up until 10:00 now, and since Ruthie wakes up around 6:30 or 7:00, they’re always awake when I am.

ALWAYS AWAKE.

This makes for a very long day of people asking me for things and/or making noise around me.

The CIA calls this Sensory Overload Torture.

Google it if you don’t believe me. You’ll see a video of my kids engaged in a conversation like this:

Thomas: Ruthie, look at this cool thing I made.

Ruthie: …

Thomas: Ruthie! Look at this cool thing I made!

Ruthie: …

Thomas: RUTHIE! LOOK AT THIS… RUTHIE!

Ruthie: …

Thomas: ***RUTHIE!***

*smack*

Ruthie: OUCH! *cries* MOOOOOOMMMMM! THOMAS IS HITTING ME!

THOMAS: I JUST WANT YOU TO LOOK AT THIS!

Ruthie: *cry-screaming* *running away from Thomas*

Thomas: RU!! THIE!!! *runs after her*

*door slams*

*banging on door*

MOM!RUTHIE!THOMAS!MOM!MOM!*bang*RUTHIE!*SLAM*MOM!*stompstompstomp*

*fade to black*

Anyway…

I usually make them go to bed at 9:00, but they can read or do something quiet as long as they stay in their room.

This works for awhile, but pretty soon their “quiet activity” turns into make-believe play, which turns into getting really wound up at 9:30, which turns into a lot of yelling about GO TO BED ALREADY WE’RE TRYING TO WATCH GAME OF THRONES.

My goal this summer is to run them so hard all afternoon that one of them falls asleep in the middle of an argument.

Which reminds me… I’m hatching a plan for my summer of juggling work and kids, partially inspired by a blogging friend. Stay tuned for the deets.

My Ideal Week

At the New Year I was inspired by Michael Hyatt’s blog to create an Ideal Week. I didn’t want it to dictate my life, but provide a little structure I could fall back on if everything got a little crazy.

Here’s what I came up with (green is work-related, pink is personal):

My Ideal Week
Click here to view in Google Docs.

After I created this, I realized my life is a lot less complicated than Michael Hyatt’s.

But even though it’s pretty straight forward, the exercise did help me realize I’m more productive with tasks in the morning and writing or focused work in the afternoon (which happens to coincide with Wine-thirty).

You’ll notice we scheduled in time to be with friends (Friday!). We had three successful weeks of dinner parties with friends, and then _________ [fill in the blank] happened and we haven’t had anyone since.

So you can see it’s not perfectly executed, but I highly recommend giving it a try. I plan to revamp mine for the summer!

The Life of Boys

I always imagined raising a pack of boys. A lot of boys. I love the daughter I have now, of course, but before I had kids it never occurred to me I might actually have one.

Now my only experience with a pack of boys is our Cub Scout pack, and it’s delightful.

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Last night we were at Golden Gardens beach to roast hot dogs and s’mores, and it was dreamy to watch them run, play, tackle, stuff their faces, and get dirty.

There’s just no drama with boys. Your hot dog falls into the fire? AWESOME! I GET TO ROAST ANOTHER ONE. You get hit in the face with a plastic shovel? AWESOME! I GET TO SPIT UNTIL THE SAND IS OUT OF MY MOUTH.

My favorite part of the night was watching the boys decode a secret message that was a clue to where the marshmallows were buried.

It took them quite awhile to dig out the canister, mostly because no one took point and delegated who would dig and who would remove dirt, and there was one kid who kept yelling EVERYONE STAND BACK, but no one listened.

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I followed the example of the other parents, though, and didn’t get involved, even though I desperately wanted to take control and make it easier for them.

I realized the longer it took, the more fun it became, because the best part is the digging, the yelling, the conquest, and the well-earned victory.

A New Era, Inspired by Lazy Parenting

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I’m a lazy parent, and also an introvert. As such, I’m inclined to let my kids watch tv all weekend just so I can have time to myself doing things that recharge me.

(By the way, what’s your tv policy? The Zuglets don’t get any tv time on school nights unless we watch something together as a family. After homework is done, of course.)

Also related to being lazy, I don’t like to clean my house. But when I do clean the house, I do it with great bitterness because all my kids do is watch tv and make a mess and they never lift a finger to do anything around here.

This is what we call a conundrum.

I’ve been quite convinced lately that in prioritizing myself as the Most Important Thing, I could possibly be turning my children into the sort of people who live in my basement and eat the Frosted Flakes I buy until they’re well into their 30’s.

At this thought, I decided to start weaning myself off the kids’ weekend tv time by first setting some ground rules about what needs to get done before they watch.

These are not unrealistic expectations, as you can see. And what I like about it, is that it removes any drama from the situation, which I tend to invite because I hate strict boundaries.

(When you have a child who tests the limits of every boundary to see what will happen, setting squishy boundaries invites LOADS of drama.)

Now I am no longer the gatekeeper to the kids’ tv time. They are their own gatekeeper.

(She said optimistically on Day One.)

My Ordinary Life

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I have a love/hate relationship with The Message. As a paraphrase of the Bible, I love that it awakens my perspective toward passages I’ve been reading my whole life, but sometimes it.. well… it seems to take some liberties.

So while keeping the actual Romans 12:1 in mind, The Message’s version gave it a punch of practical application that resonated with me this morning:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”

My life has always been pretty ordinary. In fact, most of us are pretty ordinary. I’m in a new phase of parenting more independent children, but I remember the postpartum depression, Dora the Explorer’s freaky eyes and obnoxious cheerfulness, children screaming just because I want to pee alone in the bathroom, and the isolation of scheduling my life around nap time.

If you’re anything like me, these “precious moments” feel less precious and more tedious and mind-numbing at times.

But take heart: your everyday sleeping, eating, and walking-around life matters to God. He sees the ordinary things you do and receives it with joy because your ordinary life is an offering to Him.

So again, if you’re anything like me and spend a more-than-healthy portion of your day rolling your eyes, gritting your teeth, and barely enduring the day, I encourage you to take a deep breath, inhale the grace of God, and release your ordinary day to Him as an act of worship, however imperfect.

This Is What Happens When You Take the iPad Away.

Tonight we turned on the tv channel connected to our building’s security camera. This is the entertainment that ensued:

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But it didn’t stop there. After each kid performed a closed circuit dance party, they started watching from the balcony for people and cars to approach our building…

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…then raced inside to see them go by on camera…

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I bet this is precisely the kind of city kid shenanigans that Bill just didn’t get about Curious George.

425 in a 206 world

Remember the 646 area code episode of Seinfeld? Back in the day all the native New Yorkers had a 212 area code, so if you ended up with a 646 you were clearly a newbie to the city.

After Elaine’s number got changed to a 646, new guys she met wouldn’t call her!

I think Seattle feels the same passion for its 206 area code, and I’m feeling a little insecure about my 425 number. Will I be taken seriously in this town??

Case in point:

Her: “And we can connect your building security code to a local 206 number and you just buzz people in!”

Me: “What if I have a 425 number?”

Her: “Unfortunately we can’t connect it to a long distance number. It has to be local.”

I felt like Elaine in that video: “But it’s not long distance, it’s just different!”

Scraptastic

I used to be a scrapbooker, which I’m sure conjures up a variety of assumptions on your part. It does for me, as I used to watch HGTV and I know how crazy those crafters can be. They have entire rooms filled with craft supplies! Oh the luxury!

*cough* Nancy Jean *cough*

I did not have a room in my house dedicated to scrapbooking, nor did I spend thousands of dollars on paper, tools, and accessories. I mostly bought cast off paper on clearance and slapped things together while I watched American Idol.

I don’t discriminate in my hackery, people. I do everything half-assed.

Every once in awhile we sit down to look through Ruthie’s 1st year baby book, which I scrapped. Notice the subculture language I used there? Scrapped? That means I made her babybook via scrapbooking. Crafters have all kinds of cool lingo like that. It’s pretty spectack.

Every time we go through Ruthie’s book, Thomas will say, “Okay, MINE NOW!” and I have to quickly think of a diversion like, “LET’S HAVE ICE CREAM!” or “HEY, WAS THAT AN EARTHQUAKE I JUST FELT?” or “THOMAS, I THINK YOUR BLANKIE’S ON FIRE!”

I was pregnant with Thomas when I started this blog, and my step father died right before he was born. I spent most of Thomas’ first year slipping in and out of grieving, post partum depression, and sleep deprivation. Writing became a soothing salve that stitched the holes of my sanity back together, and scrapbooking as a hobby fell to the back burner.

And besides, it was in no one’s best interest at that time that I play with sharp objects.

Seven years later, I bought a Groupon for Shutterfly with the intention of finally creating Thomas’ 1st year baby book. All his photos are digital anyway, so it made sense to make use of all these online scrapbooking-like tools.

Some things never change, though. For instance, I’m still a hack. I procrastinated this until the Groupon was about to expire, so it was put together with love around one in the morning.

No one ever accused me of being a perfectionist.

But the coolest part is, I get to over share my son’s first year like I over share everything else about my life. So here you go should you be interested… my son’s first year in pictures:

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create your own personalized photo books at Shutterfly.com.

I should point out that my kids were fascinated by how nice everything looked in our house. Especially the deck. It reminded me that I’ve been saying for about six years that we need to re-seal the deck. It’s so bad now that I make my kids wear shoes so they don’t get slivers.

And the yard? Yeah, we used to have grass. In fact, recently my kids were picking up trash in a patch of grass in Belltown, which is in the middle of the city, and Ruthie said, “Our yard used to look like this. We used to have grass.”

My poor kids. They don’t have grass, but at least they have scrapbooks.

Summer Reading Rocks!

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Last week we stopped in to our local UW Bookstore and signed up for their Summer Reading Rocks! program.

Most reading programs ask kids to record the amount of time they spend reading, then after 500 minutes (or whatever) they get a prize.

My crew acts like that’s such a chore, and it makes me feel like a nag!

I like the Summer Reading Rocks! program because they count how many books the kids read, and right off the bat my kids we’re ALL OVER that challenge.

We go back for prizes after every five books they read, plus we got a coupon for 20% off any children’s book.

And the best part is they get these awesome lanyards to keep their reading logs in! Now maybe they’ll stop stealing mine.

Jesus Is Bigger Than The Pile I’m Standing In

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Life is good at the ZugHaus. Not rainbows-and-puppies good, but I-have-a-basement-during-a-tornado good. I’m continually encouraged that Jesus trumps All Things Shitty, which leads me to complain less when circumstances are less than desirable.

Our car broke down again, for instance. We were on our way home from the Folk Life Festival – tired, hungry, thirsty, and cranky. We have a knack for breaking down late on Sunday afternoons, by the way.

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Usually I’m a glass-half-empty kinda girl, and I’m also likely to complain that the glass has a piece of food stuck to it or is the wrong color. “Fuck you and your stupid glass metaphor!” is what I often think (and occasionally say out loud).

But I can’t deny the miracle that is happening in my heart. Specifically, the miracle that happened in my heart as we sat on the side of the road while I tried to keep my kids from running onto the highway. As my mind clicked through all the events our car was needed for in the coming week – a school play, hauling video gear to an event, grocery shopping – my heart kept not freaking out.

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The miracle in my heart that week was not that I saw the glass half full for once, but that I found it SO AMAZING THAT I HAVE THIS AWESOME GLASS!

At the time, I didn’t know how the week was going to come together, but as it played out I realized…

  • I got to snuggle on the bus commute home from an event with Bryan
  • We got to ride the bus as a family to a school event, and my kids thought they were on a roller coaster adventure
  • A friend was able to serve and bless our family by replacing the broken hose in our car
  • Grocery shopping became a social event when a friend let me tag along with her to the store

When I’m in my Eeyore mindset I see those things as burdens, not blessings; disruptions, not adventures. But a changed perspective and open heart made a stressful week so much more fun.

I’m curious… How has your perspective toward shitty circumstances been challenged?