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I want to remember today.
It’s just an every-day. Nothing extraordinary has happened. No monumental events experienced.
No, today we just…played outside. We blew bubbles and hit t-balls. We filled buckets with water and dirt, and dug holes. We pulled dandelions and rolled balls; sat on the deck and stuffed ourselves full of fresh fruit and hummus.
Today the smell of sunscreen mingled with that of the sunny marigolds next to our blanket, and our soundtrack has been the banjo strums of Mumford & Sons wafting between peals of laughter. Only now is it quiet, as the babies fell into an afternoon slumber without protest.
I want to remember today — the beginning of that magical time of year where our days fade lazily into one another and the evenings hold the heat of the sun just long enough. The anticipation of the three magical months ahead. I want to remember because it is the start of something wonderful.
Welcome, Summer. We have missed you.
- Over the last few days my nose has become progressively more congested, to the point that now it’s just spontaneously leaking. I was all ready to blame those snot-nosed kids at story hour (not that my kids ever have snot, oh no) for hacking some germ on me, until my eyes started to itch and the sneezing kicked in and woe is me, I totally have seasonal allergies. Only, the hell? I’ve lived here how long and at my last check I was 30 years old. Why exactly am I just dealing with this now?
Well whatever reason, it sucks, and my face feels like a giant inflated helium balloon draining directly from my eyeballs and I’m blowing my nose every two minutes. And WHINING ABOUT IT. I’m not going to mess with any over-the-counter stuff while I’m nursing so that’s that. Hopefully whining cures allergies.
- The timing couldn’t be worse for me to be sniffing all the live long day, because Ryan’s baptism is Sunday. Nothing is worse than someone sniffing/sneezing/coughing in a quiet room full of people. Like, uh…a church, for example. I’m totally going to be THAT person. I will hopefully be able to convey with just a look that it’s allergies and not some disgusting plague brought upon by the grimy hands of children, all while mouth-breathing. My goodness, can you just picture how attractive I’m going to be?
- As like any formal-ish event, the whole what do I wear? dilemma has come up. Not just for me, but for the kids. I pulled out the next size up for Ryan yesterday and while I was digging through the totes I became confused. Their birthdays are only a few weeks a part, and yet I found hardly any summer clothes in the 12-month size. How could this be, I wondered. I swear Owen didn’t go naked the summer of 2011. He must have been wearing clothes.
That’s when I realized that I had an abundance of 12-18 month clothes. Emphasis on the 18. Oh, right. Owen was a butterball. Of course he didn’t fit into 12 months when he was ACTUALLY 12 months. Sigh.
Thankfully, I did discover that I had some really sweet polo shirts in a brand that runs small, so Ryan is all set. That left Owen, and I was able to run out yesterday and found an equally cute polo for him. I love having boys, but the only time I get real pangs for a girl is when I see their adorable outfits. However, once you have seen your little boy in Ralph Lauren and Dockers, there’s no fighting the omigod, so cuuuuuuutttteeee!!!! from coming out. Nope.
- A baptism is as good an excuse as any to make banana pudding. Bring on the fat!
- (OMIGOD, MY NOSE.)
Yesterday I spent the day in Massachusetts at my friend’s bridal shower. It was lovely to leave the mommy world for an afternoon and spend some time with some girlfriends and some mimosas. I was gone seven hours — the longest I’ve been apart from Ryan to date — and as much as I love my boys, I’ll admit that I didn’t miss them all that much. Mama needed a break. And enjoyed eating two (TWO!) cupcakes without having to share.
Practically everyone at the shower was wearing either blue, stripes, or a combination of the two, so I fit right in wearing a navy and white striped maxi dress which I bought a few days before at — well let’s just go ahead and get it out in the open. I bought the dress at Wet Seal. The store is across from the bookstore I was buying the shower gift in and I figured I would pop across the way and see if they had any cute inexpensive jewelry. They didn’t, but they did have the dress all cute and cheap at $16, and so I bought it. Thirty years old shopping at Wet Seal. Ahem.
Anyway, while I was at the party, the bride’s sister came up to me (Hi, Ronnie!) and was all, would you update your blog already? She told me she checks daily to see if I’ve written, and since I’ve gone so long in between posts lately, I basically figured no one was reading anyway. It was nice to hear at least one person was, so it kicked my butt into gear.
I’ve just had a touch of the Blog-itis lately. Life is happening — and quickly — and I just haven’t been able to put it down in words. Ryan is nine months going on, oh, who knows. The kid just wants to be big. He’s all over the house. Mostly backwards crawling and some sort of unofficial frontwards army crawl. It’s not what I would call traditionally crawling, but it does the job. When he’s not doing that, he wants to stand, stand, stand, and has started to cruise the furniture ever so slowly. Yesterday he took my cheeseburger right off my plate and ate it. It’s probably second-time-around parenting, because I never would have let Owen do that, but I barely even blinked. Instead, I broke some up into tiny pieces and let him have at it.
Owen is almost three and he’s busy, and loud, and smart, and sassy, and infuriating, and fresh, and amazing, and awesome. Looking at pictures from even just six months ago makes my heart ache a little because he has changed so quickly. He thought I looked “sooooo beautiful” in my Wet Seal dress, though, so that’s pretty cool.
Me? I’ve been getting into photography lately and have really enjoyed photographing my friends’ children along with my own. It’s become a fun hobby for me and one that gives me an outlet beyond the daily stuff.
Ryan and my dad
The other day I uttered the words, why is the baby under the ottoman covered in poop?
That’s life, y’all.
I long for the day I wake up and find myself one of those women whose house is uncluttered and beautifully organized. I suspect that won’t happen until the kids are grown, or at the very least, when their attention span for toys isn’t that of a gnat.
Home organization I don’t quite have down, but dinner? I’ve figured that one out. I look forward to sitting down each week with my white board, pen and paper and figuring out our meal plan for the week. Not only has it eliminated the end-of-the-day what am I supposed to make for dinner??? panic, it’s streamlined both my shopping trips and food budget.
Below you will find all the meals we ate this past month. There were some repeats of our favorites, and occasionally we get a take-out pizza because…well, I love take-out pizza! I also make a lot of salads because it’s an easy way to get veggies in. You can put almost anything in a salad! I’ve gotten into the habit of snapping quick photos of a lot of our meals, but I will work on getting the recipes written out in the next few weeks and link back to them.
- Calzones, salad
- Cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries, broccoli
- Garlic noodles, salad
- Asian sticky rice bowls
- Roast chicken, sweet potato crisps
- Take-out pizza
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Mini meatloaves, acorn squash, broccoli
- Chicken soup, homemade bread
- Chicken ranch calzones, salad
- Dinner out with friends
- Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad
- Chicken bites, spinach, roasted carrots
- Taco salad
- Homemade pizza, salad
- Baked potato soup, homemade bread
- Sweet potato quinoa chili
- Leftover soup, salad,
- Chicken and vegetable stir fry, rice
- Slow cooker shredded beef tacos
- Chicken soup, homemade bread
- Quinoa mac n cheese, broccoli
- Homemade pizza, salad
- Mini turkey meatloaves, mashed sweet potatoes, peas
And here’s what we’re eating this week:
- Philly Cheesesteaks with peppers and onions
- Skillet lasagna, broccoli
- Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, peas
- Taco salad
- Chicken tamale pie, salad
- Spaghetti, chicken meatballs, salad
I like to make at least one dessert a week, too. But maybe that’s a post for another time…
After Hurricane Sandy and the four days we spent without power, we started talking about buying a generator. Michael started doing research on them, but the price tag and life getting in the way made us push it to the back burner. Which is why I started panicking on Friday when reports of 60-80 mile winds hitting the coast on top of two feet of snow started pouring in. If we lost power, we lost.
Not surprisingly, the power shut off that evening. In anticipation, we had cranked the heat up to nearly 80 degrees before it shut off, so it sustained us through the night. In the morning, I bundled the kids in multiple layers and Michael set about trying to get us some power.
There was no rhyme or reason to the outages this time. I saw reports of more than 180,000 customers without power, but by the luck of the draw, a lot of our friends did not lose it. Because of that, if we HAD to leave, we could — assuming we could drive anywhere — which was iffy. Thankfully, friends with a generator didn’t lose their power, and helped us out. By 10 p.m. the generator was running and though the house was cold (it had dropped below 55 by then), it gradually started to warm back up.
I am blown away by the kindness of our friends and neighbors the last few days. Those who could offered whatever they had. Heat, food, a place to stay. One neighbor spent the storm away, and when he returned he said his house was 39 degrees. I am so thankful I was in a position where I could keep my babies warm.
Scenes from Nemo: Happy dog in the snow, a little boy snow gazing, a bundled baby playing and a tired husband snow blowing his mom’s driveway.
Digging out has taken a while, and a slow drive to my mother-in-law’s yesterday painted an eery, cold and still picture of our town. Down lines, telephone poles and snowbanks scattered everywhere. Reports of a transformer blown off into the river. Forty-eight hours later, the power returned. It was bad, but it could have been worse.
Actually, the worse part was last night. After a day with a constantly running nose, Owen woke a few hours after going to bed gagging and burning up. He threw up for the first time and it was a scary experience for him. His fever broke a few hours later and he is a much happier kid today, but I’m ready to wash my hands of the entire weekend and start anew.
Needless to say, we are purchasing a generator.
When I lost my job in public relations it felt awful. I left a job and people I loved in the not-for-profit world for one in consumer electronics because I thought it would advance me in my career. It was close to home and paid much more than I was making, and so, after much back and forth, I took it.
The problem was, I wasn’t very good at the new job. The passion I held for the museum I left could not be replicated in the consumer world. I felt timid and confused and spent a better part of a year hoping to not be put on the spot, afraid it would reveal the truth.
Despite all that, getting fired was terrible. Although a part of me felt relief that I could just go, I still felt awful about my performance. It wasn’t the right job for me, but it was still my job. I should have worked harder. Done better.
My current gig is one I am passionate about. Being a mother brings me both joy and a sense of accomplishment. I’m good at this job, most of the time.
Lately, though, I feel like I’m slipping into the failing zone, and while no one can hand me a pink slip, I’m still aware I need to do better.
Two and a half is a challenging age. Owen argues with me, is defiant and fresh. He refuses to nap, pushes boundaries and tells me “no” all day long. At 6 months, Ryan is a happy little thing, until he’s not. Lately I spend my days more frustrated than happy. I feel burdened and unappreciated by my two small people. I am grumpy and annoyed easily and on top of that, I yell.
I could hear myself yelling more than I should, but when Owen called me out on it, I knew it had to stop. After getting out of bed AGAIN to go potty (he knows he can get out of bed for that), I snapped that it was ENOUGH.
“Why are you yelling at me, Mommy?” He asked.
“I’m not, bud,” I said, backtracking.
“Well, you were…”
I’m afraid that I’m so caught up in the endless minutiae of the every day, that I am missing the good stuff. I don’t want to miss a funny quote or a big cheesy grin because I’m mad that I tripped over a stray toy for the 10th time. I don’t want my kids to remember me as a grumpy mommy who yelled over nothing. I want my words and tone to mean something.
I don’t like the mother I’ve been lately, but unlike my previous job, I’m going to do something about it. I need to take a deep breath, calm my blood pressure and start a new. One day my house will stay clean and no one will be fighting me over a nap, but that also means my babies will have left the nest. I need to focus more on the now and appreciate this time while they are still little.
And so, I have an opportunity to change the way things are. This time I can, I WILL, do better.
At least you can have an occasional drink at this job.
(He’s laughing at me. I lose.)
- I finally took the Christmas decor down last week and now it is glaringly obvious that there is nothing hanging on the unpainted walls. My living room is basically a sterile environment. If you don’t count the Cheerio crumbs and dog hair. I started to pin ideas for the room so if you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize for the recent onslaught of photos of mantels and gallery walls. I would also love to paint, but the room is big and neither Michael nor I likes to paint. Hiring someone isn’t in the budget right now so either we suck it up and do it ourselves, or continue to live in the vast whiteness.
- Anyone remember when we watched my mother-in-law’s crazy dog last year? I swore it would not be a repeat thing, and yet, here we are one year later and about to embark on 13 days with Lucy. Last year she was skittish and whiny and afraid of men. Which meant that any time Michael would come into the house…she would pee. And then, to add icing to the cake, she freaked out and expressed her anal glands in my kitchen, and I’ll just take a moment to let that sink in.
Expressed her anal glands. In my kitchen.
That smell is burned in my memory and so help me, if she does it again I am shipping her off to Florida so my MIL an deal with it. So, SO gross.
- Speaking of my MIL, she bought a cow. Not a whole cow, not even half of a cow. She bought something like a fourth of a cow so we could split it between us. Only, we don’t really eat that much red meat. Maybe once or twice a month. She was insistent, however, so now the entire bottom half of my freezer if filled with beef. Because even splitting up a fourth of a cow is still hundreds of pounds of cow. I’m not kidding when I tell you this meat will last us a year, maybe more. There’s just so.much.beef. I’m going to have to host a beef party or something just to put a dent in it.
Except a beef party sounds disgusting. No one would come if I cordially invited them to a beef party. Or they would, but they would think it was an entirely different type of party with a whole different kind of beef, if you catch my drift. And that would be awkward.
Every night before I go to bed, I check in on my babies. Owen is usually sprawled out on his back at some interesting angle, blanket askew, his “Mommy shirt”, an old t-shirt of mine he made his blankie, draped across him. I gently tuck him back in, occasionally removing his wedged feet from between the bed slats, brush his hair off his forehead, kiss him gently and tip toe out.
Next is the baby. I turn the light on in my bedroom across the hall so I will have just enough light to see him, but not enough for him to wake. He looks like the world’s sweetest little starfish zipped into his blanket. Ryan will have rotated to his right — he always does — and will have pressed his face against the one bumper I have in there. The one bumper I put back in because he kept waking himself up trying to snuggle himself into the crib rails. I have stopped stressing about him sleeping like that now, but I always pause just long enough to see the rise and fall of his chest.
It occurs to me that my children will never know I do these things. They might remember the story hours I took them to, the outings at the playground. They might one day remind me of the pictures we drew together or the songs we danced around the living room to. They will know I parented them all day every day, but the memories of the night will be mine alone.
At night I am transported both back in time, and towards the future. Ryan’s dewy skin and sleepy suckling are all baby, and Owen’s rosy cheeks remind me of when he was tiny. The other night, though, before my eyes adjusted to the dark, I caught a glimpse of who my little boy will become. In the dark, Owen’s sleeping profile was so strikingly similar to his father’s, I actually gasped.
Babies don’t keep, but these nights will. In my mind. In my heart. In the dark.
Last night Owen stopped what he was doing and stared down the hallway. “What’s that man doing?”, he asked me.
Man? What man? There was no man. I asked him to clarify. He plays pretend now, so I thought maybe he was being silly.
“That man! The one RIGHT THERE!” he replied, pointing at seemingly nothing. “Hes right there, Mommy. Why is he sad?”
He was so insistent that I started to feel a little strange. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Don’t people say children can see…ghosts?
I know. I KNOW. That’s one of the most absurd things a rational adult could say.
It was getting just a little too The Sixth Sense up in here. Owen was still staring down the hall and pointing, and if it wasn’t a ghost, then at the very least there was something human-like my kid was seeing and I’ve seen enough bad TV to know that means get the hell out. Don’t answer the door. Don’t talk about your favorite scary movie.
I was just about to grab something heavy and venture down the hall (though, if it was a ghost, I’m not sure how effective a Mag-Lite to the head would be…) when Owen added a missing piece to the puzzle.
“See, Mommy! The man is dancing in the window!”
That right there would be Twist, the doofy, beat boxing DJ from The Fresh Beat Band. Reflected in the window.
Let’s just pretend I never told you this story. As you were.
There’s never a good time to step in urine, but stepping in urine before 7 a.m. really takes the cake.
We’re knee deep in potty training Owen and while he’s doing excellent — really! — boys have that whole extra issue of having to tuck it in and because of that, occasionally I find myself dodging puddles. We’ve bought stock in Clorox Wipes.
I guess I can’t really complain too much. He announced one day while in the tub that he had to go potty, and after that things just took off. I still have to tell him it’s time to take a “potty break”, as he only sometimes tell us he has to go, but if we keep up on him he spends almost every day entirely dry and many nights too. He’s also been learning the concept of “privacy”, and now wants us to leave the bathroom and shut the door while he goes. Cracks me up, this kid.
ANYWAY, I digress. My point was that at 6:39 a.m. I opened the bathroom door to find that not everything had made it in the bowl and I guess those things can get some range, because the puddle I stepped in was closer to the door than the potty. At the same time, Ryan was complaining from his crib where I put him after he woke to eat at 5:30 and wouldn’t go back to sleep, and Kodiak was all up my butt wanting breakfast.
I finally got everyone situated, but before I could get a drop of caffeine in my system, Ryan was ready to go back to sleep (uh, yeah. Because you were up at 5:30, kiddo.), Owen wanted breakfast and Sesame Street and now the kitchen floor needed wiping from Kodiak shaking his face after drinking. Sometimes I feel like I’ve had an entire day before the day ever starts.
- I’ll admit it. I totally use Owen as a “babysitter”. For example, Ryan’s needs are all met and he is happily playing on his play mat while I write this. Until he’s not happy, for whatever reason, and starts to fuss. “Hey, Owen. Go make your brother laugh,” I’ll say. And he does. And I get five more minutes of me time. We’ll have to have another kid just to keep the cycle going.
- Have you started holiday shopping? I…haven’t. I kind of know what I’m getting most people, but aside from one purchase already made for Owen, I’ve done nothing. I always say I’m going to shop year-round to avoid last minute stress and I NEVER DO. Never. Of course.
- Speaking of holidays, don’t forget you have until Friday to enter to win $50 off your Tiny Prints order. Do it! Cards are expensive! Free stuff!
- Random (appropriate for this post, no?) but do you have a headboard for your bed? Do you love it? I really, really want one, but they’re so expensive and I just can’t commit. I want one that is padded but won’t collect dust and hair. I’m not sure I love leather. I’m pretty much screwed, right? Help?
Something like this, maybe. I really like the clean, modern look of it. I do not like the price tag. Damn you, West Elm and you’re pretty, expensive things.
- In the time it took to write this post, we had another successful potty endeavor. One and two, if you cared to know. (You probably didn’t.) I’m happy to report everything made it into the bowl and no mothers were forced to step in anything gross. The end.