Little Mysteries

Each Thursday Reese returns from school with two library books in her backpack. For the past few weeks she's selected cookbooks.  She loves cookbooks. She pours over the pages, lingers over the pictures, and announces we've got to try that! whenever she finds a recipe that looks especially enticing.  Or a recipe that insists on mixing the ingredients with your hands.

I'm not creative or elaborate in the kitchen.  If I could secure outside help to complete any one of my regular domestic duties, I'd bypass assistance with cleaning or laundry without a second thought and instead select a personal chef to prepare our dinners.

Yet, Reese is my daughter.  The other week her school held a large fundraiser where gift baskets were raffled.  Reese wagered all five of her tickets on one basket that was heaped full of baking supplies: cookie sheets, cupcake trays, measuring cups, dish towels, and boxed cake and brownie mixes.

She won.  Our dining room table is littered with the contraband.

The only explanation for this might reside in the fact that I've always invited the girls to help me in the kitchen, especially when I'm baking.  As they stand on chairs at the kitchen island, they measure ingredients, pour, and stir.  Reese has begun cracking eggs without getting any bits of shell into the bowl.  Their involvement slows down the preparation, of course.  They jostle for position and occasionally fight over the mixing duties, but as we're all gathered in the kitchen I sense we're making more than a meal or a dessert.

I'm definitely making memories, and I just might be making a little chef.

She's a beautiful mystery to me.

Our children contain parts of us, yet they're so much more.  They're products of nature and nurture, such interesting amalgamations of personality and preferences.  I marvel when I read her teacher's words on her progress report: "Reese clearly has a strong math mind. She amazes us sometimes with her math fluency and speed in figuring out problems in her head."

She gets this from her father, I know, and yet I marvel.  She amazes me, too.  Our little girl: a lover of cookbooks and fluent thinker at math.  What else is hidden in there?  What other talents are under the surface that will rise to the top?

I can't wait to see.
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Short and Sweet: Eyewitness Reporting

An accurate eyewitness report in 100 or fewer words:

My nephew spends one afternoon a week at our house.  From the other room, I listened as he and my two youngest daughters played.  Their game was spontaneous, shifting quickly as they created new scenarios.  The floor was lava.  The pillows were safe.  The goal -- I heard -- was to jump.

Then I heard the thud.  Then I heard the crying.  I ran into the room as Kerrington picked herself off the ground.

Settling her onto my lap, I looked at the older kids for more information.  "What did she hit?" I asked.

My nephew pointed downward.  "The floor."

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On Being Needed

Over the weekend I stepped away.  On Saturday night Joel and I went out to dinner with a young couple that we've been meeting regularly with for premarital counseling.  They'll be graduating in May, and shortly thereafter our two oldest daughters will be the flower girls at their wedding.  It was his twenty-third birthday.  After dinner, they invited us to continue celebrating at his apartment.

So there Joel and I sat -- in a college apartment with a group of students that we've known for years through the campus ministry that Joel runs.  I slung my legs across Joel's lap as we wedged ourselves into an ugly brown armchair.  We talked and laughed, eating cake and flipping stations between a March Madness game and a random program on extreme rock climbing.

How was it possible that I felt that I belonged and that I was entirely out of place?  These students know me well.  I feed a group of them at our house -- sometimes up to 40 of them -- every Friday night.  Yet, I primarily see them on my turf.  When I'm in my kitchen, stirring the contents of giant crock pots and straining pounds of steaming pasta in colanders.  When I'm hoisting a kid on my hip or dismissing myself so I can change a diaper or tuck the girls into bed.

Never when I'm in a college apartment.  Never when I'm just Robin, unattached to children.  Never when I'm lazily curled up on an armchair with Joel.

After church the next afternoon, Joel hustled me out the door to the local bookstore so I could work on the current chapter I'm writing.  For two hours I sat at a corner table -- alone and anonymous.  No one knew me.  No one needed me.  No one talked to me.  For all I know, no one even glanced in my direction.

When I settled in the car to return home, my mind was full of the weekend and its uncharacteristic freedoms.  My appetite was whetted.  It's only a four-minute drive from the bookstore back to my house, even if I catch a red few lights.

I didn't want to go home.

At least, not yet.  I wanted to linger in a zone when time was my own.  When I could devote an entire afternoon to my own interests and spend an entire evening with a group of friends without anyone being dependent on me.  When I could leave the house without frequently glancing at the clock so I don't bypass my allotted hours out.  When I could enjoy my freedom without any twinges that I was burdening Joel because he was handling the girls alone.

As soon as I entered the house, Kerrington presented herself, crying.  Her nose was running, her shirt was stained, and her arms were outstretched for me to lift her.  From the kitchen, Brooke asked me to help her with an impossible craft that involved yarn, paint, and a stapler.  Reese appeared, bouncing and talking, recounting a story in unnecessary detail.  Everyone was on me at once.

I love them dearly.  So dearly.

Yet, there are days when I don't love being so needed.

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Search Terms

Over the past month, people have landed at this blog by typing various iterations of dryer lint into their search engines.  Many of them have to do with accidental inhalation, leading me to wonder how we survived or parented before Google.

"is it dangerous to inhale dryer lint?"
"child inhales dryer lint help!"
"how bad is it to breathe dryer lint?"

Of course, I don't pretend to understand all of predicaments that lead to these Internet searches, especially for the individual who arrived here by way of "pork lint of dryer death." Pork?  Death?  Dryer lint?  This is vaguely unnerving to think that these words, when linked together, somehow point to me.

To the person who wanted to learn "how to draw a Steeler logo step-by-step," perhaps this hopeful but unfounded projection and this photo of my daughter was a happy diversion for you.  By the way, a Steeler's logo is not that complicated of a design.  I think you can freehand a pretty decent approximation.

To the person who searched for the "white hand of Saruman," my hope is that you enjoyed this entry.  It's one of my recent favorites.

To the individual who searched "letters from buildings spelling name," I'm giving you the green light.  Go for it.  An aesthetically pleasing, easy, and meaningful project -- what's not to love?

To the person who found this blog through the keywords "when your kids annoy you," know that I said a prayer for you today.  Ah, dear stranger, I've been there.  May your day be getting better.

But to the individual who searched for "God's little monkey lip," and ended up here -- a mom blog that has very little do do with monkeys or lips or monkey lips -- I'm like Jeff Probst after a tribal counsel:  I've got nothing for you.  Head back to camp.

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Knowing the Location

I am holding a significant amount of useless information regarding the location of random objects in my brain right now, and my guess is that you are, too.  For example, if I wanted to play Yahzee, I would go to my bathroom in search of the missing red die.  It's been sitting on the windowsill there for almost a week, moved there by little hands with no apparent reason.

There's a kid's menu and coloring page from Outback Steakhouse in the back of our minivan from the night that we cashed in a gift card and celebrated nothing in particular.

A Strawberry Shortcake figurine is on the third step from the bottom of our staircase.

The Curious George sticker book is on the second shelf of our hallway closet -- on the left.

Joel's sandals are at the back door.  Brooke's tennis shoes are under the kitchen table.  Reese's flip flops were last kicked off on the mat at the front door.  Kerrington's sneakers are in the garage.

If someone asked me where the blueberries were in the refrigerator, I'd tell them to look on the bottom shelf directly behind the strawberry yogurt.  Brooke's Floppy is sitting on the bookshelf.  Reese's Brown Bear is on her pillow.  Kerrington's baby doll was dropped in my closet.

The receipt from my last Wal-Mart shopping trip is on the counter underneath the wall-mounted phone.  The camera is on top of the computer desk.  The nail clipper is on the sink in the girls' bathroom.  My Burt's Bees chap stick is in my left jacket pocket.

So, given this impressive mental prowess, why is it that I never can easily find my car keys?

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Turning the Day Around

My head throbs when I wake up this morning.   It's just a head cold, but it hit suddenly and drained all energy from my body.  When I return home from campus after my morning classes, I move through the kitchen and prepare lunch as if  I'm underwater.  My movement seems slow and distant; my thoughts seem cloudy and dull.

After eating we settle onto the couch with a stack of books.  I read them aloud on auto-pilot, hearing my voice in my head, listening to the rise and fall of my cadence.  Both girls seem tired, too.

Should we all take a nap? I ask, thinking that Brooke won't bite.  She hasn't napped for many months, but today, she slings her thumb in her mouth and nods.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is go to sleep.

A one-hour nap has entirely turned my day around.  I can go on.

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One Thing That's Constant

I'm surrounded by pregnancy and babies.  Two of my friends, one local and one distant, likely are rocking or nursing their newborns as I type this post.  Seven additional women I know are pregnant, all of whom are due in the next few months.  New chicks are hatching.

Last night I delivered a meal to my local friend.  As I carried the plates into her kitchen, I nearly sucked in my breath when I saw her ten-day-old daughter sleeping in the baby seat stationed on the floor.  Do they really come that small?

My three girls were in tow, following me like ducklings, all capable of walking and eating and jumping and climbing and talking and doing so many other things that this precious baby was not capable of doing.

Not yet.

Where did the baby stages go?  Whenever I nuzzle my face into my youngest daughter's curls, I still breathe in her scent as if she were a baby.

Whenever I see her still-pudgy feet, I remember how I kissed and tickled and marveled at her newborn toes.

My children aren't babies any longer.  At least, not when you compare them to a newborn.

Before we left, my friend asked if I wanted to hold her daughter.  I accepted immediately.  She gingerly placed her in my arms and memories flooded back: the silky hair, the squeaky noises, the wide-mouthed yawns, the one-eye-opened and one-eye-shut unfocused glance around the room before drifting back into a scrunch-faced sleep.

I look back at the pictures of my last pregnancy, knowing that I'm finished with this stage of life.

I study myself, knowing now that the photos captured me mere days before labor.  Alternatively, I remember the time as if it were yesterday and wonder whether it was me at all.  I regard the images with contradictory closeness and distance, stepping along to an elusive dance of time and memory.

These women I know, all of them, are living their lives in step with their music: the rhythms of baby showers and baby kicks, the choruses of sleepy newborns and nighttime feedings.  If I glance back too much at my earlier stanzas and steps, I start to lose focus on my current dance.

Our own routines seem so familiar to us as we live them.  Nothing seems inherently magical about a typical day with my girls when I'm in the midst of it.  Reese gets ready for school.  Brooke curls on the couch with me to read books while Kerrington takes her afternoon nap.  I clean up toys, prepare lunch, cook dinner, wipe up spills, sweep the floor, empty the trash, fold the laundry, check the homework, help with baths, say prayers, kiss goodnight, and then come downstairs for the quiet night hours, tired.

It's a typical day in a house with kids who are almost-seven, almost-four, and almost-two.

But, from experience, I know that I'll eventually look back at pictures from one of these typical current days, and I'll wonder how it's possible that the moment feels simultaneously like yesterday and forever ago.  I'll remember the magic: how Reese dashed off the school bus and flashed a smile with a new gap where her loose tooth used to be, how Brooke rested her head on my shoulder as we read the same book again and again, and how Kerrington reached out her arms and sang Mama! when I entered her room after her nap.

The one thing that's constant is time.  It passes equally for each of us.  No matter how hard we may try, we can't stretch it out or hurry it along.

What we can do is embrace it, no matter how it's currently passing.  Lord, I want to enjoy these days.  All of these days.

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Near-Drowing Experience

Title: Near-Drowning Experience

Thanks to my vigilance, he was rescued quickly from imminent death by drowning in chocolate milk.  There's a reason he's called Good Luck Bear.

Overlooking Offenses

If you can be easily offended, you will be easily offended.

My husband shared this idea with me years ago, and it still resonates.  Have you ever encountered a person who was characteristically quick to take offense?  It's terribly uncomfortable.  If you care about keeping the peace, then you find yourself walking on eggshells, speaking carefully to phrase things just so, and keeping your guard up.  When you're in this type of company, you're never at rest.  You're too occupied keeping the sleeping giant asleep, worried that one wrong step could unleash ugliness.

We are told that it's to our glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11). 

Overlooking offenses doesn't come naturally.  We want to have the final word, to tell others how badly we've been hurt or slighted, or to demand that wrongs against us be righted.

When my children make a mess -- not just a little mess, but one that undoes all that I've just done or adds a significant amount of work into my already-full day, my initial reaction is to take offense.  The internal dialogue begins.

They did this to me.  Don't they know how hard I work to keep this house in order?  Don't they see how much this inconveniences me?  How much it adds to my workload?  They don't.  They have no idea, so I'm going to tell them.  I'm going to let them know how bad they've been.

When I'm thinking this way, the words that tumble from my mouth aren't beneficial.  They're not words that that teach my children to value others.  They're not words that train them how to play neatly and clean up properly.  Rather, they're words that dredge out what they did wrong, words that harp on my own hurt, words that reek of offense.

How contrary this is to the nature of God.  God, who removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west.  God, who did not open his mouth when he was afflicted.  God, who did not retaliate when he was hurled with insults, and who made no threats when he suffered.

Let my glory be in the fact that I overlook and forgive offenses.  It's what God does for me each and every day.

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Bring It On. Spring, That Is.

When the weather hints of spring, as it has this past week, my motivation to clean, organize, and freshen up soars.  My motivation to complete actual work plummets, however, so there's probably a net yield of zero in terms of motivational increase.  Law of Conservation of Motivation, or something.

Clothes that were welcome and cozy in September and October now seem dull, drab, and entirely too familiar.  In short: I want to overhaul my wardrobe.  Out with the old; in with the new.

And when I say new, what I mean is that I just bought skinny jeans.  (Thank you, local college students who sell your gently-used clothing to our resale shop so I can pick off cheap items that you no longer deem fashionable.)  I wore them today with a striped tee shirt and a pendant necklace -- and, I'll admit, I felt rather cute.

My husband adheres to the premise that skinny jeans are odd-looking.  Perhaps he's right, but I'm getting suckered into the trend.  They're nice for tucking into high boots, for certain, and I think I pulled them off today with flats.

Now, given this, I recognize that this space will not suddenly morph into a fashion blog.

When my criteria for clothes indicate that cost, comfort, and the ability to be laundered to remove stains and encrusted Play Doh are equally as important as style, I'm clearly no expert.  But, gosh, I did feel cute today.

Here's to swinging into spring...

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Fashion Trends that Never Should Have Happened

Because I'm cool like this, I start many of my classes with a Stand-and-Deliver question of the day.  What's the last thing that you Googled?  Describe what you would want for your last supper.  What's the song most likely to lodge itself in your head?  Name one book that everyone should read.

Technically, it's a more engaging form of roll-call.  Plus, it provides students with frequent opportunities to speak in front of an audience in an informal and ungraded fashion.  (Public speaking premise number one: repeated exposure yields improvement.)

A recent prompt asked students to identify one past or present fashion trend that never should have happened.  The answers were fabulous: jean shorts (jorts) for men, gauchos, shoulder pads, puffy eighties bangs that curled both under and backward, the rat tail, extreme bell bottoms, leggings-as-pants, Ugg boots, black choker necklaces, the hairstyle where two small strands were pulled down as bangs to flank either side of your face, and -- of course -- the mullet.

Ah, the mullet.  It's wrong on so many levels, but I have a confession.  At one point in time, both of my older girls flirted with the mullet.  They hit a stage where the hair in the back grew more quickly and fully than the hair in the front, and the result was an adorable child who just happens to have a mullet because their mother (me) could not quite bear the thought of a first haircut.

My youngest just might be nearing this point.  I'm not ready to approach her with scissors because she has these amazing curls, and how can I bring myself to sever those precious wispy strands when she's still so small?

Until I'm ready, all I have to say is this:

Party in the back.

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The Pinterest Plunge

Roughly 250 million people -- including nearly all American youth, the majority of my high school graduating class, and my mother-in-law -- joined Facebook before I took the plunge and created a profile two years ago.  My hesitancy stemmed from ambivalence.  Do I need this in my life?  Do I want this in my life?  I honestly didn't know.

Even after joining I nearly deleted my profile several times, but I've since come to peace with this facet of social media.
Recently as I've thought about joining Pinterest, I faced the same ambivalence.  I have friends who say that it's wonderful, but there's always a tagline about its addictive nature which makes me ask those same questions:  Do I need this in my life?  Do I want this in my life?  I honestly don't know.

I decided to check it out to decide.  I began searching for craft ideas to do with my daughters, who were with me at the computer while I browsed.  This was a novice mistake -- a tactical error that I never will repeat.  I shot down thirty-seven requests of "Oh!  Oh, Mommy, please, can we do that?" in rapid succession.

No, we cannot hot glue 64 crayons to a canvas and melt them with a hair dryer right now.  No, I do not have self-rising flour to make paint that puffs in the microwave.  No, I do not have yarn to crochet that for you -- nor do I know how to crochet.

But we did make some nice hand puppets out of paper.  We have paper in spades and I am a competent folder.

So, yes, I am now on Pinterest with the full intent to handle it delicately.  I don't want it to suck away time that would be better spent elsewhere, and I will be sure to research ideas for the kids when they aren't present.

Plus, I have ideas to contribute, people, like this one below about how to store jewelry.

Do you have any pieces of jewelry that you don't remember to wear because they're buried in a drawer or a box?  Instead, put them on display.  I bought an inexpensive package of cup hooks, screwed them directly into the drywall in my closet, and hung my necklaces where I'm most apt to see them.

See, I'm a Pinterest natural.  Want to follow me?

Are you on Pinterest?  If so, please share your insights with me.  Who should I be following?  How do you use the site?  Recommendations are appreciated!

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Sundry Acts of Random Disobedience

In one morning -- a span of less than four hours -- my middle daughter dumped a generous bowlful of uncooked rice from her homemade maraca into the bathroom sink.  Recognizing that the rice had lodged in the drain, she tried to right her wrong by pumping soap into the sink and running the water until all of the drain was packed with rice.  I'm glad I arrived when I did.  The drain still isn't entirely perfect, but with the help of a plunger and a plastic snake, I was able to dislodge the clog.

An hour later as I was reading books to the girls, she climbed off the couch and wandered away.  I thought nothing of it.  Perhaps she went to use the bathroom.  Perhaps she went into the other room to play.  Once I finished the book I left my station at the couch to toss a load of laundry into the dryer, and I noticed that she wasn't anywhere visible.  I found her in my bathroom, coloring her face -- her whole face -- with my lipstick.

Later that same morning there was the brownie incident, which conjured in my mind the milkshake incident from the night before.

This isn't like her at all.  In fact, she seemed as surprised as I was by her behavior, as if she didn't know why she was doing these things, either.  I know this, which allowed me to be more patient and compassionate in my correction.

I think the root of these sundry acts of random disobedience lies in one thing: she misses her daddy.

Joel's been gone for eight days.  We are blessed; his job doesn't often require travel, so the girls aren't accustomed to his absence.  They tolerate it well enough on the surface and I keep them busy, but deep down they know that something's off.  Weeks like this make me remember families who have dads and moms serving overseas in my prayers even more.

In roughly six hours, Joel is due to arrive back home.  I can imagine the girls running into his arms, and how in that one moment, all will be right in their worlds again.

When I get my own welcome home hug -- and the I've really missed you kiss -- all will be right in my world again as well.

And he will know exactly what to do with the bathroom sink's drain.

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The Aftermath of Yielding to Temptation

Title: The Aftermath of Yielding to Temptation

Subtitle:  What happens when a three-year-old notices that there is a batch of freshly-baked brownies cooling on the kitchen counter.

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An Inability to Pronounce "Rural" (and other childhood crises)

During one elementary school social studies class we often read pages from our textbook aloud.  Each student took turns reading one paragraph, and I always counted ahead to see which paragraph would be mine.  I breathed a sigh of relief if it didn't have the word "rural" in it, and I lamented my fate if it did.  That word was impossible to pronounce.

As a child I disliked wearing a hat during winter because I thought I looked goofy.

In early middle school I habitually complimented a popular girl who lived in my neighborhood while we stood at the bus stop.  Depending on the day I told her that I liked her shoes, her jacket, her outfit, or her hair.  And daily, I immediately chided myself for my striving when she thanked me coolly.

These crises seem insignificant now that I face problems of adulthood .  But as a child, these issues were the stuff of journal entries, the concerns of my heart.  They were very real.

I think of this on the day when my daughter tells me that she and Emma didn't get along during the bus ride home, or when she voices her disappointment that the kids in Mrs. Bryant's class cheated during gym class.

Those issues may be small to me, but they're not to her.  I can't jump in with quick fixes or pat answers.  But I can listen.  And if and when it's time to speak, I can respond as someone who remembers what it's like.

Let's remember how it felt to be 6 or 8 or 11 years old today.  Let's listen from their level.

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Get Kids Moving: The Game of Tails

Have you ever played Tails?  If you haven't, you should.  It's a perfect activity for those days when you're stuck indoors but your kids need to burn off some energy; plus, it provides a significant cardiovascular workout.  The premise is simple.

First, tuck a short scarf or other small piece of fabric (say, a wash cloth or dish towel) into everyone's back pocket.  These are your tails.

Then, run like mad around the house as you try to steal someone else's tail while protecting your own.

It's brilliant.  It's fun.  It's exhausting.  Throughout our 40 minutes of play I had to take three water breaks, during which Reese looked at me as if to say, "What?  You're not tough enough?"

To which I looked right back at her as if to say, "You better get moving, kid, because you've got a target on your back."  Then I set down my glass and wiped my mouth with my sleeve in what I hoped to be a formidable way.

Then she ran.  And then I ran right after her.

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3:30 a.m.

I'm jolted awake by screaming from my daughter's room.  I throw off the covers and run down the hallway in a clumsy 3:30-in-the-morning fashion: bumping into walls, extending my arms as soon as I enter the room to grasp her even though my eyes haven't adjusted well enough to the darkness to discern her from her tangled sheets and stuffed animals.

It's the type of scream that you don't easily forget: so pained, so irate, so distraught.  It's a scream that I can imagine coming from a child who just witnessed their most precious toy yanked from their grasp and cruelly stomped on in spite.  Or, from someone being mauled by a bear.  That bad.

"Brooke!"  my voice is a whisper-shout.  "What's wrong?  What's the matter?"

It takes a moment until she can articulate coherent words, but when she does this is her proclimation:  "I want a milkshake!"

At three-thirty in the morning.

Let me note that this request was denied.

As well as one can, I talked with her about the ordeal this morning as we ate breakfast.  "You can't just wake up screaming in the middle of the night, especially about something like a milkshake.  Other people are sleeping.  You're waking us up."  (And when I said "us," I really meant me.)

Brooke appeared compliant.  "Sorry, Mommy."  She looked at me and smiled, "But, I was thirsty."

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Plowing Through

It's the Monday of Spring Break week, and I have emerged victorious.  You see, I collected a hefty stack of essays from two classes directly before break.  As one student passed his paper up the row, he announced with almost comedic relief, "This is your problem now."  (I am predisposed to automatically like a student who admits things like this.)

And he was right.  When I walked off campus with my work bag unable to zip because of its fullness, that stack of 40 essays was my "problem" of sorts.  As one friend has been known to say, Why do I keep assigning things that need to be evaluated?

After a brief moment of self-pity where I lamented the fact that Joel would be gone for the entire week -- an absence that left me by myself not only with the essays, but also with the girls, for eight straight days, I made some quick and definitive choices:  Get over it.  Be thankful.  Make progress.

When I haven't been playing with the girls at home or dallying for two hours at the Chick-Fil-A play area, I've devoted nearly every spare minute of these past three days to those essays.  Thanks to two strategically-timed and much-appreciated play dates, I was able to knock out a substantial amount of grading over the past two afternoons.  During the evenings once the girls were tucked into bed, I continued the work late into the night: stationing myself at the kitchen table, lowering my head, and plowing through.

I only left the table when I needed to refill my glass of water.  Or to get more Thin Mint cookies.
Last night, I reached the final essay.  I wrote my comments, recorded the grades, shuffled all the papers into one neat stack, and returned them to my work bag.

Oh, it feels so good.

It also would have felt good to spend my Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights watching a movie or going to bed earlier.  But not as good as it feels to have actually finished.  Not as good as it feels to be at the start of the week without any pressing work obligations.

Not that you'd be dragging your feet by browsing the Internet and reading my blog, of course, but are you putting something off?  I know it's not fun to tackle a hard task, but you'll feel so much better once you start.

And, you'll feel even better once you finish.

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Long Showers

I take showers that are too long.  There, I've said it.  (Actually I've written it, but you intuitively understood this, right?)

I have few vices besides from chocolate and no habitual luxury expenses -- no smoking, no drinking, no coffee, very little caffeine, no frequent trips to the salon, no manicures or pedicures, no massages (although, I'll admit, getting a massage right now sounds fabulous).

But I do indulge in one thing: I take long showers.

I'm not talking obscenely long -- just long enough that something in addition to dirt washes down the drain.  Stress spirals in that little whirlpool at my feet and slips away, too.  It's a form of therapy, a kind gesture to myself, a way to be in touch with my senses and revel in pelting, liquid relaxation.

My showers also are too hot.  I like stepping out of the shower almost flushed, even though this can't be good for my skin.  In general, I'm a heat-lover.  I'll station myself in front of space heaters and blast a heating vent in my direction as I drive, blinking away the dryness from my contacts but relishing in the warmth.  It's just so good.

What do you love?  How do you treat yourself nicely?

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