Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dance As If No One Were Watching

A few nights ago Grandma and Grandpa took all of us to see The Princess and The Frog and it is a very good movie. Perhaps my favorite part was during one really exciting jazzy song my daughter turns to me and loudly whispers, "Hold my popcorn. I need to dance!" Then proceeds to give me her popcorn and dances right there in front of her seat in the movie theater. She then danced again at the very end of the movie. So it was a big hit for our family.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Out Of Commission

Sorry for the looooong lack of posts. Our pretty new, sleek laptop broke. I took it in and as it turns out that enter key Greg pulled off ended up messing up the whole keyboard and the LCD screen also needs a total replacement. I swear we didn't do anything to it, but hp swears that's the only way this could have happened. So now we're waiting on the parts and everything. I had to get out our old laptop. This thing has serious issues that make it rather impossible to do anything. So I'll probably be unplugged until the new one returns home.

Terrifying

Today Charlotte went to the dentist for the first time, which is so not the terrifying part to this post. In fact I enjoy going to the dentist very much. But that's where the story begins. We were going to the dentist. Our neighborhood is set up very much like a lot of city neighborhoods were around the time it was built. The houses ring a block that has an alley intersecting it so our backyard looks onto our across the alley neighbor's backyard. That alley way is the access to people's garages or parking pads so you don't have to park on the street and worry about getting parking tickets each month during street cleaning day. Who can even remember when street cleaning day is? I can't so I'm really glad we have an alley and back parking area. I like the set up a lot. In fact it has facilitated me getting to know a whole slew of neighbors that I normally wouldn't have seen and quite a few handymen/maintenance guys that regularly use the alley for access to whatever house they're working on. But none of this is the terrifying part to my day. Back to the story.

I backed out of our parking pad and then pulled forward so that I could get out and close our gate. As I did this I noticed some man walking a ways further down the alley. I thought nothing of it because people use the alleys as short cuts all the time. So I put the car in park and jump out to close the gate.

When the gate is closed I turn and look towards my car to get back in it, but said man who I thought was much further down the alley is now loitering at the front passenger side bumper of my car. As I step toward the car he walks across the front of my car and starts sauntering down the driver's side of the car. Of the running car that my children are strapped into. My stomach flips upside down and my heart is in my throat when I casually say, "Hey." Usually when I say that even people who I previously thought were shady will say "How you doin?" and suddenly turn friendly. Not this scary man. He just keeps sauntering down the car looking in it and then down the alley ahead of him and then back in it.

I have made it to the back of my car and would have advanced into the driver's seat but for this figure who makes no motion to show he even sees me. Luckily he doesn't decide to steal the car and kidnap the kids. And I receive a momentary lull in terror. Then as he reaches the end of the car he drifts back to the center of the alley, which means he's heading in my direction. What am I going to do? Just as I'm in full panic mode he walks on.

What was going to happen? If the kids hadn't been in the car would I still have a car? What if he had taken my babies? What if he had attacked me? What if he was just on some sort of drugs? I have no idea, but as I got into the car my whole body was shaking from our brush with disaster.

**UPDATE**
After reading comments I just thought I'd add that I DO feel safe in my home and on my alley. I know who my neighbors are and our neighborhood. The city of St. Louis is big and noisy and diverse, but I have grown to enjoy it quite a lot. Moving here I have had to learn to really listen to my instincts about people to avoid and when to realize what I'm feeling is just preconceived fear of the unknown. I don't think that it would be a good idea to let one crazy experience in our alley jade me against living here. My more important lesson is to not be in such a hurry that I don't analyse any situation.

As far as hand guns or any other weapons I personally wouldn't feel comfortable carry them on my person. Also, I can't ever see myself feeling comfortable shooting anyone, ever. For me I think it would be good to practice and get comfortable using self defense of some nature. Or I could get my mom's T-ball bat and wear it as a necklace? If you want to carry a weapon, more power to you, but its just not for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Warm Fuzzies

There are probably about a billion better things you could be reading right now, but I just wanted to take a minute to tell everyone how much I love my husband at Christmastime. He loves Christmas. He loves everything about it and wishes it would snow every year for him. Unless you know him very well you would never know he is so passionate about the season because he has a very quiet, subtle passion. But when you know it seems like a little secret you share with him and the others that know him and it adds so much to the holiday spirit. I catch him humming "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" in his little hum all the time and I just love it. I love how he's instilling that joy and excitement into our kids. I also loved listening him tell Charlotte the Christmas story the other night while doing dishes.

Tonight, even though he has to take the shelf exam on Friday, when I asked that we drive around the town to look at Christmas lights he agreed. Also, when I started singing Christmas songs in the car (something I'm sure my sister would have said, "let's listen to the professionals" to) he chimed in and the two of us key surfed our way through a half hour of the songs. He even suggested some of his own. No wonder Charlotte loves to sing in the car. (Her favorite one right now is the "pum pum song" which is The Little Drummer Boy. After days of singing this song over and over she asked us tonight if the boy was "hitting his head" which put an interesting new twist to the song.)

I am just amazed at what a wonderful leader he is for our family and I love him for it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's Not Getting Done

When I came back from Thanksgiving break I realized that I had litterally two weeks to "do Christmas" at our house before heading back to family for the holiday. And you want to know what happens when you have a two year old, a six month old, and two weeks to get everything in? A lot of stuff doesn't get done. Because I hosted Joy School this week, and went to the library story time that Charlotte loves, and cleaned up after three accidents in the bathroom, and other errands that I do on a regular and an irregular basis we didn't make Christmas cookies. In fact, Daniel made us some peanut butter cookies with mini kisses in them and I think we might call that good. Since next week we have Christmas parties, finishing making some presents, more Joy School festivites, dentist appointments, flu shot boosters, Daniel taking the shelft, Music Makers and getting ready for vacation errands I probably wont be doing extra stuff then either. We're pretty lucky we have our decorations up at all. Most of what I'm not doing is stuff I didn't want to do anyway, but there's one thing I'm pretty sad I'm not fitting in. I'm not doing Christmas cards this year. After we went and got great family photos and everything. I just can't fit it in. So Merry Christmas to everyone I love.

Monday, December 07, 2009

In His "Off Time"

Just look at what my sweet husband installed last weekend!

First the before:


The fireplace surround is cement pressed into a broken brick pattern and then painted red.

And then the after:


Doesn't it look beautiful? In case you can't see it we picked 3"x6" travertine tiles with smaller tiles as accents. Then Daniel, who is incapable of just doing something plain, installed the tiles on the floor in a herringbone pattern. We ended up with only 4 tiles to spare. Pretty good judgement I'd say. Also, he installed a working, ventless gas log insert! It is so much fun to actually have a fire in our fireplace!

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Popular Subject

Wow! I guess a lot of you liked the last subject so I guess I'll flush out our thoughts on residency a little more. Dan wants to go into Orthopedics and is thinking of maybe specializing in either knee and hip replacement or pediatric orthopedics. Those specializing opportunities sort of color our preferences for residency since he'd need to do a year fellowship in pediatrics if that's the route he wanted to go. It would be really nice to have a year fellowship at the same place as his residency since we wouldn't really want to move our kids that much, but then again kids bounce back and he's not totally sold on the pediatric business.

Keep in mind that Dan has a list of somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 programs he's going to apply for. I once made the mistake of asking him where they all were, but then stopped listening at around 15. There's just too many possibilities and we really have very little say over where we end up. That's why I've chosen to focus on three. Three seems to be the number that my brain can actually handle.

Anyway, Daniel talked to his advisor after she'd met with someone from University of Colorado and she said it was sort of a long shot for him, even with his good board score and grades. There's just a lot of applicants and there's only really two spots open for students who didn't go there for medical school. She said though if we even wanted a shot at all he'd have to do an away rotation there. We'd really like to live in Denver because it's close to my sister and easily within driving distance to Dan's brother. We could also drive to other extended family on both sides even though that would be a long drive. Also, they have a pediatric fellowship and Daniel really likes how the residency program is set up. Knowing nothing about the programs I have no comment on that. On top of that Colorado is awesome.

She also raised concern about U of U. It is a little less difficult to get in, but, like Janelle said in the comments, their reputation is to stay away from our demographic (that being married with children and active in the Latter-Day Saint religion). Luckily Daniel didn't attend BYU as an undergrad because we've heard they really shy away from those students. I have no idea anything about the program other than Dan said it was "really good." We'd like to be in Salt Lake because it's fairly central to both sides of our extended family. Plus, I have a Grandma in Salt Lake that I'd really like to be able to live close to for health reasons.

The Mayo Clinic is also very competitive program, but each year a few students from Daniel's medical school go there for residency. They don't have a pediatric fellowship though so that's one drawback. But Daniel pretty much loves the way their program is set up. It has a lot of one on one instruction. I have heard NOTHING but positive reviews from people who have lived or vacationed there. Everyone loves it. The only cause for concern is that I looked Rochester up in my gardening book and it has the same climate zone as Siberia. SIBERIA! My husband is thinking of taking our family up to Siberia to become frozen Popsicles. He knows what a wimp I am.

So last night after reading the email from his advisor Dan said, "I guess I'm going to have to ask her what she thinks isn't a long shot for me."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Pushing Ahead

We're about halfway through third year in medical school and do you know what that means? Well neither do I when it comes to the actual schooling aspect of medical school. I guess my question should have been, do you know what that means for me? because honestly, that's way more interesting than say plugged sweat glands. Which, by the way, if Daniel ever starts to talk about those you should plug your ears and run away. At first you might think it could be one of those gross but oddly captivating stories. Then you realize that you just wish you didn't know what you now know. Trust me on this one. Saddly I know what I'm talking about.

Back to the point. Half way through third year. What happens now is that everyone starts seriously thinking and talking about where they want to apply for residency, where they want to realistically live for residency, where they'd be OK with living for residency, where they would rather poke their eyes out, but would live anyway if that's where they got matched to in residency. You know why all our friends are talking about this? Because next year they do away rotations, which is basically a month long interview where the program gets to see you at your very worst because you're still learning this stuff, but you want to make a good impression. Good luck with that one Sweetie.

Anyway, the point here is that we're talking and thinking and looking forward to moving, but we're still not done with our projects here! Or maybe that's not the point I was meaning to make, but it doesn't matter because it certainly is true. Maybe I'm seeing all these projects and getting a little panicky because I got home from vacation last night to realize that I have literally two weeks to get all our holiday stuff done before going back on vacation. Aaaaahhh!

I remember what my point was supposed to be now. My point was that I was thinking about all these places to live and realized that it doesn't really matter to me where we live as much as I previously thought it would. I think I can say with pretty good confidence now that I have lived in a variety of places in the US. Corvallis, OR-small college town filled with big-store hating, tree loving outdoorspeople. Clarkston, UT-filled with, well I don't think you can say that any place that has a population of 750 is "filled" but mostly you've got farmers. Spokane, WA- good sized city in the northwest, pretty average America I'd say. St. Louis, MO- big city. Lots of people. Lots of differences.

Anyway, I can pretty much say that I have loved every place I've lived in. Truly loved them all. Mostly people who know me can't believe that I spent a year living in a single wide in the middle of nowhere, but I loved that too. The middle of nowhere has great people living in it. So does St. Louis. I love the sights and sounds of the city. I love the sights and sounds of the country. I love it all. So I guess it doesn't really matter where we end up for residency.

PS. But just for the curious. As of right now the tops of our list for away rotation applications are:
  • Mayo clinic in Rochester, MN
  • University of Colorado in Denver, CO
  • University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT

Monday, November 23, 2009

Travelling Alone....Sort of

Our flight left at 6 AM, meaning we had to be at the airport at 5 AM, meaning I had to get my two children out of the house by 4:30 AM. Torture, but that's what you do for family. Plus, my daughter's excitement to see Grandma pretty much made up for it.

I had packed cereal cups to eat for breakfast and when we got through security I bought milk. We made our way down to the gate and I opened up Charlotte's cereal and got her settled as a man came up to gate check the stroller. He said we'd have about 20 minutes tops to eat our breakfast. I figured that would be fine. That is until Charlotte looks up to me and says the words every potty trained child inexplicably knows to say at just the wrong time, "Pee pee Mommy."

I look around at all the carry-ons that we had set down and rifled through to get breakfast out and wildly tried to think of a way to get all of them, our stroller, and us down one story to the bathrooms, have her go and be back up in time to eat breakfast before we had to board. My mind quickly ground to a halt, realizing that there was no conceivable way this could be done. I'm there mumbling, "pee pee...uh.....pee pee. Ok, hmm..." when a wonderful good Samaritan stepped in. A young woman sitting next to us heard the whole interchange and said, "I know I'm a stranger, but I can stay with your baby while you take her to the bathroom." Without even thinking I said, "Thank you!" Took Charlotte and ran. I got her squared away and back in enough time for her to finish her Lucky Charms and run right onto the plane. It wasn't until we were in the air that I realized I probably should have been a little more wary, but sometimes you just have to rely on the kindness of strangers and I am so very thankful.

Other than that our trip was surprisingly uneventful. Greg slept through over half of both flights and Charlotte only got antsy about getting out of her seat about half an hour from the end. Greg did like to do short, loud yells so that people would look at him, which was slightly embarrassing, but at least he wasn't awake for very long and also he wasn't screaming his head off.

So we're here at Grandma's house and settled in. Now if we could just adjust to the two hour time zone difference.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pajamas

This Saturday my two children and I will be flying across country without the aid of my husband. Our plane leaves at around 6 AM. Any suggestions? Also, do I even worry about the fact that my two almost three year old will be in her pajamas all day?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

A while back a friend of mine whose hobby is photography asked if she could try her hand at photographing a family, our family. I said sure. We went out last Friday. She just sent me a link to the album she created for us. I think they look awesome and I'm sure we will use one for our Christmas cards. Then I got to see the last one in the album and my brain practically exploded with how beautiful it was.

Thank you so much Kara!

The Stats And Another Funny Quote

We had Greg's six month check-up.

Height: 26 1/2" (50%)
Weight: 20 lbs 2 oz (90%)

So he's not extremely tall, but boy does he pack a punch! The doctor said that what Charlotte had last week was most likely H1N1 which actually gave me a little relief from worry. I'll probably still vaccinate her, but I don't have to worry so much about our air travel during the holidays. (Note: If you are thinking of commenting on how I might still want to worry, don't.)

Dan is currently on family practice rotation which is an absolute dream for the family. He has breakfast with us and is home for dinner. He only works a half day Mondays (he spends the other half studying though). And get this! He only has to work every other Friday. AWESOME. So last weekend since he got housework in on Friday we all went out Saturday late afternoon and evening to the zoo. We let Charlotte pick where we went so we went to the bird house, which she has taken a fancy to lately. As we were going by each cage she would ask me what the bird was and why this bird couldn't get out ("I told you the last time. The wires keep the bird in.") Then we came up to some guinea foul of some variety and instead of asking the kind of bird she says, "That's a pirate bird, Mommy." Who knew?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Glad It Happened Now

Guess who turns into a banshee screaming zombie when he teethes? For a solid 48 hours nobody slept in our house. The only positive I can think to this situation is at least it happened now and not say on the airplane on the way to vacation.

Also, Dan put in light switches upstairs! Honest to goodness hard wired light switches. For all the lights. And he's in the middle of installing a fan light for the bathroom! It's amazing how much you appreciate the simple things.

Also, Dan uttered the phrase I have been waiting for a year for him to say a few days ago. After he finished the last light switch box he turned to me and said, "I think I'd be OK with buying a newer house next time." Yahtzee! It's a whole lot easier to do voluntary projects to give your home "character" than it is to fix plaster walls, re-plumb the bathroom, and wire and entire floor.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Caution: May Impair Judgement

When your six month old only takes a total of an hour and twenty minutes of nap in a day, then by dinner you may have this happen. I've entitled this one "fine then eat it yourself."
And this one Charlotte named "My project"

Wishing for Photographic Evidence

In my ongoing battle against the trumpet vine suckers that keep popping up into my vegetable garden I hit a new high and a new low today. You see after going to the botanical gardens last week and seeing how perfectly their vegetable beds had been cleared and readied for winter I decided I had better take the opportunity this nice weather is giving me and do the same. The more I work now, the easier it will be in the spring right?

So I started digging up the overgrown weeds and ends of the vegetable plants last week. Turns out we had loads of carrots in there that I knew nothing about. That's what you get when you let a two year old plant the seeds for you.

It's been pretty slow going. Not because of the leaves that have fallen on top of everything or the grass that has encroached the withered pumpkin vine, but because of the evil trumpet vine. You heard me. EVIL. They must have powers from the devil since they seem impervious to roundup!

Anyway, today I went out thinking I'd at least get another one foot strip done in the thing. I came upon five trumpet vine shoots coming out of the ground together. It has been my experience if I just dig deep enough all those shoots will eventually converge onto one root stem that I can then pull out. So I dug and I dug and I dug (or is it digged?) until I hit what I thought was a huge rock. I showed it to Daniel as he was leaving for work (he's in family medicine right now) and he said that it wasn't a rock, but the root and I should just try to wedge the shovel under it. Well, it took me another 15 minutes to get the right leverage, but then the beauty came up!

Picture this if you will: two feet long, three inches in diameter, a foot and a half underground. I had dug up a LOG! Well, not really a log, it was indeed the root for the trumpet vine. In my heart I felt victory, and defeat. I had truly unearthed a huge part of the problem, but if that's how big the root for five tiny vines was I am in real trouble. I will never win to this plant. It will eventually overtake the lawn, and then start creeping up the walk to the deck. Finally it will engulf the entire house and we will never be able to step foot out the front door. Good news, we're moving before that could ever happen.

Oh and picture this as well: Charlotte was delighted when I finally got the log out of the ground because she could then fit herself into the hole in the ground. She called it her chair. She sat in her chair and found a worm coming out of one of the clumps of dirt she covered her skirt with. She uncharacteristically picked the worm up and called it her pet. Boy was she really miffed when I told her that she needed to get out of it so I could fill it in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

6 months

Today my son is six months old. Can you believe that? I sure can't. In the future when people ask me how third year in medical school went I will say quickly.

Charlotte came down with a fever last Saturday night and it hasn't really left her yet. I thought it had, then she woke up from her nap today with a return of the fever. I waited an hour thinking maybe she was just hot from sleeping, but it never went away. YUCK.

Then last night when Dan went to get Greg so I could feed him before going to bed we discovered that he had been throwing up on himself. When he picked the little guy up we realized Greg wasn't asleep, he just wasn't wanting to move his body at all. He didn't want to hold his head up or lift his arms and he didn't want to nurse. Or have his pacifier in his mouth. Or take tylenol. When we got it in him he threw it up 2 minutes later. You could tell Greg was scared too because of the look on his face as his body was heaving. I was really scared and I knew it was bad because Daniel was really scared too. Turns out this morning he's fine, but that was pretty much the scariest thing that's happened with him so far. Nothing equates to the fear you feel when your infant is sick and scared in the middle of the night.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Chicken N Dumplings

Last night I made chicken and dumpling stew. It was wonderful. I love dumplings. love. love. love. Charlotte I thought would love them too since they're mostly just flour, which she has taken to eating all by itself lately (gross). She didn't.

Dan: "Charlotte you need to finish your dumpling."
Charlotte: "No I don't."
Dan: "You need to eat three bites of carrot and two bites of chicken then. And be done with that sass."
Charlotte: "I'm not done with the sass yet."

I'm pretty sure she wasn't really clear on what sass was, but it sounded much better than chicken or carrot.

Monday, November 02, 2009

To Be Human Again

Boy it's sad when the titles of your posts come from Disney. Oh well. I do feel human again. And you know why? I slept. I slept and slept and slept. And the family rejoiced. Or at least the husband portion of it anyway. I'm fairly certain the child portion doesn't register much in the way of the mommy portion. Except one funny conversation that my daughter had with a friend of mine who was watching her.

Charlotte: "What's wrong with your finger?"
Friend: "I burned it."
Charlotte: "When Mommy burns sheself she gets mad."

And it's so very true. So at least she notices some things.

Our Halloween went well. (I was going to try to segue that, but I couldn't think of anything. So I decided you could just follow me along.) Charlotte was perhaps the quietest lion you have ever seen and Greg was a ghost.

She wouldn't let me comb out her hair to be the mane which was the crowning part of the cotume, but she's two and a half so, whatever.Apparently the best part of his costume was his ability to eat it.

I'm the only one in the family not in a costume. Daniel went as a logger. When an hour went by and nobody asked him what he was I told him that proved you can't just wear your normal clothing and call it a costume (even if your clothing is a costume for other people).

And because I got such a great response (thanks Grandma Jane and Grandpa Mel) to the other two videos I posted, here's another little one. I like to call it Guarding the Pumpkin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

My family is trying to kill me. Do I have hard evidence of that? No. But I give you my reasoning:

Why would my sweet child, who had previously been sleeping at least 5 hours at a time if not 7, suddenly decide to revert back to 3?

Why would my husband have to work evening shift last week and then night shift this week at the hospital catching babies? Or is he just saying he has to work, but really he's in cahoots with the non sleeping child? Maybe he's going over to someone else's house. Someone who has a sleeping child. Then he comes back home at 8 AM and goes back to bed to sleep for six more hours just to throw me off the scent.

Why would my sweet older child decide to get sick right at the same time? Requiring me to wake up multiple times a night and get her water so she doesn't cough until she throws up. This means I have gotten no more than two hours of sleep at a time.

Why also would my sweet child decide that he no longer can self soothe when waking up too early from his afternoon nap? Then my dear husband doesn't know how to soothe him so I must then wake up from the only nap I've had in DAYS in order to get said child back to sleep.

Then to top it all off, I'm awake from soothing said child so I pick up the house. Dear husband doesn't want me to get too suspicious so he helps pick up the house. Then what does dear husband do? Goes to sleep!

You may say that I'm crazy. You may say that all of these just happen to coincide at the same time. But I know the truth. They're slowly but surely trying to kill me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's A Pack Pack

We went shopping on Saturday and Charlotte found another thing she's in love with. I took a video.


She wore it around Eddie Bauer for a good five minutes before we made her take it off.

Strange things my daugher loves:

  • Unsharpened pencils
  • Buckets
  • Water bottles
  • Rulers
  • Pack Packs

Friday, October 23, 2009

The TV-Or Why My Kid Doesn't Sleep

After having my child for two almost three years now I've finally noticed a correlation between her sleeping habits and the TV. Contrary to what I would believe there does not seem to be any correlation between the total amount of TV she watches and her ability to fall asleep. The correlation happens between when she watches and when I want to put her down. I already had a sort of amount of TV limitation (nothing concrete), but recently I have enacted a time of day limit on TV and it has done wonders in our household.
  1. No TV until after you are up and ready for the day (clothing on, hair done, teeth brushed, bed made)
  2. No TV between lunch and nap time (Usually about an hour of time there)
  3. No TV after dinner (About an hour and a half before bed)

It is amazing the difference in her ability to go down. With this and some other slight changes in her bedtime routine I have discovered peace in our home at bed time. So why did it take me so long to figure this out? Why the difference in bed time? Does the TV way over stimulate her for when she needs to sleep? I have no idea. All I know is that I'm so very happy with the result.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How To Cross The Street

There are a few perks to Charlotte being in Joy School. One of my favorites is hearing what she's learning come up at home. ("You mean milk comes from cows?") One day she went on a field trip to the park. While there, the mom that was teaching talked about crosswalks and what they're used for and how to be safe around the road. A few nights later Daniel took her to his school with him to pick up a book from a friend. When they came back he told me that they encountered a crosswalk on their way from the car to the library and this is what Charlotte told her father:

Charlotte: "Are we crossing a road in a crosswalk?"
Daniel: "Yes."
Charlotte: "And do I need to hold mommy and or daddy's hand?"

I stinking love my little sponge!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Definitions

A few nights ago Charlotte was getting out of the bath. Mixed in with her constant verbal commentary on everything in her life she said,

"Greggie is Mommy's little guy and Daddy's son."

I thought that was really cute.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Solidarity

I had to run to the grocery store today, which I hate. Mostly its just annoying because I wasn't planning on going to the grocery store until tomorrow, but we ran out of milk. Our house without milk is probably the worst thing that could happen. Right up there with flood, fire, and not enough sleep. So I took my kids to the grocery store in the middle of the afternoon without a shopping list against my better judgement. Charlotte hadn't had a nap so I knew things weren't going to go well. Things went just about as well as I had predicted so when we got to the check out I told her that no I wasn't going to get her any treat. This leads me to ask why to grocers want to torture mothers? Candy? Where I can't have any distraction? This forces me to make the decision every time whether I'm going to fight that fight. Also? Why on earth would they put out the car shopping carts? Because if they don't happen to have a car cart handy then my daughter throws a fit. And if they do have a car cart handy she spends the entire time hopping in and out of the thing. I think they should have a wide load sign on them too since they can't turn right when you want them. So you end up running into things when you don't mean to.

Anyway, I had told her that she couldn't have a treat and that was pretty much the last straw for a no-nap little girl. She hit me. Which is never OK so I picked her up and held her until the checker was finished with all my items. Why are checkers always slower when your kid is acting up? Are they trained to go slower with the idea that you will finally give in and buy that stinking candy? Raising sales? It didn't work with me. I was holding her and she was screaming and I could feel my face getting redder and redder and then I look back at the couple behind me. They are both smiling. I'm pretty much just trying to escape Schnuck's with my food to get this screaming, scrambling, snot flinging mess back to our house and they're smiling. Then the couple behind me made my day. They said, "We know that face. We have twin two year olds at home." In case you missed that: Twin. Two Year Olds. Sometimes it's great to just know someone else understands.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just Say Thank You

There are many lessons I clearly remember my mom and grandma making a point to teach me. Make your bed when you get out of it. Wash your hands. Look both ways. Read books. Lots of books. Always keep learning. Hot water takes out chocolate, cold water to take out blood. Little things that I learned to lean on. One of those lessons I have found particularly important in my life. That is the lesson of how to graciously accept a compliment. Not many people do that and sometimes it can be hard.

For instance when I was growing up and would play my violin at a recital. People would come up to me later, no matter how well or poorly I did, and compliment me on my performance. Some of the time I would be thinking, were they actually listening to what I was playing? That doesn't matter though. What matters is that person enjoyed your performance and is letting you know that. The appropriate response is always thank you. Nothing more, nothing less.

In life I can be presented at times with situations where it is hard to accept other's compliments of myself without bravado or dismissiveness. The lesson that I was taught is that in complimenting me a person is graciously giving me a gift. One that they most certainly did not have to give. My responsibility in that situation is to accept that gift with the same grace and sincerity in which they gave it. I'd like to think that this lesson has been thoroughly learned.

Even though I feel I have mostly learned this lesson, there is a situation that I'm acutely aware of my lack of ability to accept the compliment. That is when people compliment me on the kind of mother I am. (Which my sister does quite often.) I wonder why I can't just smile and say thank you when someone gives me such a wonderful gift.

There are a few reasons why I think I have trouble with this. The first being that my job as a mother isn't done. How can I possibly know how well I've done on a job that's not finished? My children are so young. There's so much of their lives ahead of them. I have so much to teach them and so many, many pitfalls to avoid. The last notes of the sonata aren't ringing in the air yet.

Another reason is that nobody sees the mistakes I'm making quite as acutely as I do. Nobody sees when I lose my temper. Nobody sees when I'm lazy and let my kids do things that I told myself I'd never let them do. Nobody sees how amazingly my children bounce back from a mistake that I led them into. The sharp and flat notes I make as I play the song seem to be more amplified in my ears.

Regardless of those reasons though I should take the compliment as it is given. With love. Just like the songs I would play on the violin. When someone comes up to me afterward and says how much they enjoyed it, even if I think they're only saying that to make me feel better, my response should be to smile and say thank you. And you know what? It does make me feel better. There are too many times when I hear negative thoughts and actions about motherhood. Why not gladly receive any positive that may come along?

So to all you moms and grandmas out there that are trying your best to be good role models, WAY TO GO. I think you're great. I think your kids are beautiful, smart, loving, and gifted. You are amazing. Keep up the good work.




PS. In no way am I trying to fish for compliments. I've just been thinking about this lately and wanted to see if anyone else had similar thoughts on the subject.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Or Maybe Not

Last night was the worst night sleep I've had since I had Greg. Then this morning I accidentally tore the front bumper off the car. Great. Just. Great.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Tide Has Turned

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but I've been having a sort of string of bad days lately. Charlotte and I are butting heads it seems like at every turn and it's starting to wear me down. Also? She has found a noise that she makes constantly. A noise that I'm sure she has practiced specifically to drive me up the wall. Because kids do that right? Actually when it started I recognized it as the girl version of the the angry sound one of her cousins made. The only difference is that when her cousin made it I thought absolutely nothing of it. Now every time I hear that sound I want to hurt something. On top of that we're trying to get Greg to sleep constantly through the night. It hasn't been that bad actually. Compared to his sister it's been a dream. But he does wake up, make noises for about 10 minutes and then go back to sleep about two times a night. Dan thinks he's sleeping through the night, but that's just because Greg's sounds aren't waking him up at all. At least half of us are getting a good night's sleep. And last but not least we're fighting the nap time fight. Charlotte's almost three and I don't know how much longer these days are going to last, but that quiet time in the afternoon is priceless for me. I either get to nap myself, be productive around the house (if hallelujah my kids are napping at the same time), or spend the time making Greg smile and laugh. I treasure that time and I don't really care if she's sleeping, so long as she's quiet, in her bedroom, and doesn't come out for an hour and a half.

Anyway, my string of bad days culminated on Monday when I had to deal with poop on the outside of the toilet, no nap toddler, and stepped in cat puke on my rug. Then I got a call from the husband of one of my friends and my outlook shifted. She's 15 weeks pregnant and hadn't kept anything in her stomach for a day and a half. NOTHING. They were worried about taking her to the hospital because you have to be 16 weeks pregnant to go to the women's triage unit so she'd have to go to the regular emergency room crawling with the flu. The flu that kills pregnant women. So anyway, he was asking if I'd watch their little girl Tuesday. I, of course, said yes and thanked my stars I wasn't puking my guts out.

Tuesday morning came around and I wasn't worried. I got us up and started the laundry and changed the sheets on the beds and cleaned the kitchen (I always get a shot of productivity right after breakfast. Does that happen to you?). Then we went over and picked up my friend's little girl. The worry about the day hit as I had the three car seats strapped into the back of my car and was heading home. I had three kids for the WHOLE DAY. I could just see my daughter getting fed up with the situation and trying to punch her friend in the face. I could just see the little girl wanting to go home at lunch time so she could take her nap in her own bed and then proceeding to cry until she was picked up. I could just see Greg being woken up from his naps and then wanting to be held the rest of the time. I could see the house turning into a disaster zone. My husband comes home to a crazy wife and two angry children and no dinner. Not so different from the previous days, but that's life sometimes.

With all that set up, yesterday went fine. Actually it went amazing. Charlotte played with her little friend really well. And I got all three children to sleep at the same time. That's about as common as a solar eclipse, but it happened, oh did it happen!

So I thought I'd pass this little idea along to those of you struggling with nap time. I put a CD player up on the landing outside the kids room and told them they didn't have to go to sleep, but they did have to stay in bed until the pretty music stopped. Then I played the CD, when it got to the end I just went up and started it over until they had slept a hour and a half. They all fell asleep and slept for 3 hours. It probably wont work for too long, but I did it again for Charlotte today and she went right down.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Giggles

A few nights ago I had to get the dishes done. I put Greg in his highchair and he was fussy, but I just ignored him. His fussiness was coming to a crescendo when it turned into belly laughs. I turned around and my heart melted. I ran and got the video camera to show everyone what happened. Also, did you see the new highchair cover?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Learning Something New

Last Friday Daniel took the Internal Medicine Shelf Exam. During third year he studies different areas of medicine in rotations. After each rotation he has to take an exam to make sure he learned what he needed to know during that segment. These exams are administered by the same people who tested him on his step one test towards being a board certified doctor. So each test though not as big a deal as step one was, are still pretty important. But you want to know the best thing? The weekend after he takes a shelf exam he has totally off of everything. We decided to go camping at Giant City State Park.


And I'm sure you're wondering what new thing I learned. You may laugh at me for not knowing this one already, but I didn't. I learned that glow worms are real living insects. I thought they were just some weird made up toy that kids love to play with. They're real alright and they are awesome. I never actually got to see what they looked like up close, but collectively they looked like the stars in the sky, only they were on the ground. Kind of surreal to be walking along surrounded by points of light above and below.


Charlotte was excited out of her mind to be camping and her little body just vibrated with joy for about two hours after we got our tent up. She even ate a lot of her tin foil dinner. I think that must have been because it was so different. We had a great night and the weather was great and our tent was on a great smooth incline that was wonderful for sleeping. Greg had to wear socks on his hands, but other than that everyone was warm enough.


The next morning we woke up and ate scrambled eggs, and cheesy potatoes that Daniel had prepared for us with a good helping of hot chocolate with marshmallows. Then we hiked down to the small lake in the park.

After getting back we had lunch and Daddy and Greg napped while Mommy and Charlotte explored with some friends. Then we broke camp. Before leaving though we had to see the namesake of the state park. Daniel, Charlotte, Greg and I did a one mile hike through some sandstone formations that were beautiful. I had never seen sandstone so green with moss and other things growing on it. The hike was beautiful.



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Poll the Audience

I was talking with some friends the other day about getting things done around the house and time management. The thought came to me that my mom is amazing at this skill. I'm not trying to brag here, I'm just stating an observation. My mom had two small children and a teen age boy living at home and a full time job and our house was always picked up and clean and not only that I know I didn't spend my time at home watching hours and hours of TV. She had both my sister and I in private music lessons when we were five, which basically means she had to spend at least an hour a day helping us practice. So the question is how did she do it? I have two small children, but no outside job and no teen age boy. I feel as though the clutter in my home is slightly out of my control about 70% of the time, my house is a disaster about 40% of the time and would embarrass me if people just dropped by about 20% of the time.

I have learned not to compare myself to other moms around me because you never see behind closed doors. I don't see what they looked like, or how their house was, or the way their children were behaving or if that mom was having a rough day an hour before I show up. The thing is though, I have seen behind my mom's closed doors. I did see how we lived and the level of order that was pretty much maintained in our house.

Perhaps this is an issue of perception? I'd like to think I just didn't notice things because I was little, but I really don't think so. Perhaps the issue is that by the time I can remember how our house was my mom had a good 7 years of practice under her belt (my sister is about 3 years older than I am). Maybe that's just wishful thinking though.

So the question in the air is this: Is your home as ordered as you want it? Is your level of order the level that you had when you were growing up? How do you achieve your comfort level? Any tricks? (My mom just says to stay on top of it, but how do you do that when breakfast is over and you have a baby crying at you and a toddler wanting attention and you need to get the dishes done?) Any pitfalls? (I know a big one for me is wanting to SLEEP and if I can't do that then I just lay down and lose all productivity.) Do you do an extra cleaning when "grandma" is coming?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wherein I'm right

Dan got about 3 hours of sleep last night. He seemed really tired when he got home, but helped out with the kids and even played blocks with Charlotte after dinner. After she was in bed, a little before 8, we layed down on the sofa to watch a little TV. Here's the ensuing conversation:

Me: "You're about to fall asleep. You should go to bed."
Dan: "I don't think I could fall asleep right now."
Me: "You slept for three hours last night, I'm pretty sure you could fall asleep."
Dan: "I'll just stay down here a little longer."

Guess who fell asleep on the sofa about ten minutes after 8.

Like An Elephant

Speaking of recieving presents (which, by the way, my daughter is NOT getting an ipod) I just want to let everyone know that my daughter has a crazy and odd ability to remember who gave her everything she owns. Today in the car for example:

Charlotte: "Oh no! I forgot my dog!"
Me: "You don't need your dog. Here, you can have this teddy bear, or this bunny, or this baby doll, or this other bear."
Charlotte (from under her mountain of stuffed items we just happened to have hanging out in the car): "OK. I like this bunny. It's a soft bunny. Do you want to go to school bunny? Do you remember who got me this bunny?"
Me: "Not really."
Charlotte: "Anut Marci got me this bunny. And also my singing kitty card. Where's my singing kitty card?"
Me: "We lost it." (Really I threw it away after the 100 billionth time of listening to the Happy Birthday song being meowed to me. Sorry Aunt Marci.)
Charlotte: "OK. I really like this bunny though."

I had totally forgotten about that bunny, but she hadn't. She often reminds me of whomever gave her this shirt or book or toy or shoe. It amazes me that she remembers this so very well. Do you remember who got you all the things you have right now? Also, do you think it's normal that a two year old remembers who gave her every single item she owns?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Christmas List and BIG NEWS

Last weekend Charlotte was taking a shower. She was dancing in and out of the water spray having a grand time when suddenly she gets very quiet, turns around and sits down in the tub with a very sad look on her face. I ask her what's wrong.
She says, "I just want my own ipod."
Me (thinking Dan and I don't even have ipods you have no idea what you're talking about), "And what would you do with an ipod?"
She answers, "I would play Tinkerbell anytime I wanted to."

At that moment it dawns on my that when my mother was in town she downloaded the Tinkerbell movie onto her ipod and let Charlotte watch it whenever she wanted. I always knew that my children's Christmas wish lists would get more expensive as they got older. Basically because I could get them almost anything now and they'd be thrilled. I didn't realize how quickly things would change.

Also I'd like to share some BIG NEWS!! (Yes, I did just use all caps and two exclamation points. It's that big.) Greg slept through the night last night! I fed him at 10 PM and then again at 6:30 AM. I was so happy about it I even told the check out lady at Schnuck's. She was appropriately excited for me. Today is the first day of the rest of Greg's life (and he doesn't even know it yet).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Summer's Harvest

Our vegetable garden didn't get much of a harvest this year. The cards were really stacked against it so I don't feel too bad. Mostly I just wanted Charlotte to enjoy the planting seeds and watching them grow experience. Above is a photo of some carrots I got out, baby pumpkins we planted, and peas growing. We harvested precisely zero peas to eat from our garden this year because we were gone for family vacation right during harvest time. We ended up with maybe half a cup of seed peas. I figure the growing season is long enough here that I can hopefully get a fall crop in. Charlotte and I planted the peas in the egg carton a while back and they're almost ready to move out into the garden. You can completely tell which spots I put peas in and which ones Charlotte was in charge of. Some of the holes have a single plant growing out of them and others have about seven. She's loving it.

As for our other crops, the bell pepper plant was completely thrashed when some burglars came in our backyard and stole our lawn mower. Dan was so mad I was getting nervous. He just fumed around the house muttering "stupid" and "idiot" and "crap." Needless to say the rest of us gave him a wide berth. What I was mad about was that our bell pepper plant, the only one that grew from the huge amounts of seeds we planted, our miracle plant, was finally showing some promise of a harvest. Then they took the mower right over the top of it! Not only were we burgled (which I prefer over robbed, it sounds so much better right?) but we were also vandalized!

The asparagus is too young to have a harvest. They are really cute little guys though. Dan wants to give up on them and pull them up, but I say give them a little time. It's just hard to dig up the stinking trumpet vine volunteers around them. Tip for the future: NEVER PLANT TRUMPET VINE!

The baby pumpkins had a decent harvest, but what do you do with baby pumpkins other than paint them for Halloween? Charlotte wanted to plant them so we let her, but we wont be repeating that next year.

The carrots are our star crop this year. They are short and fat, but so satisfying to pull up and clean off and cook and serve to my family. I have noticed that we're all eating more carrots lately. Perhaps that's because we know if we don't eat them now, we'll just have to eat them later. While making soup for dinner tonight Charlotte actually casually picked up one of the carrots I had peeled and ate it. The whole thing. All by herself. It was awesome.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Feeding Him

Speaking of my second born. Given the go ahead to start rice cereal, last night we gave it a go and here's the what ensued.

Hmm, something new and different. I think I'll try it.I don't think I like that.Don't feed me any more!



It was pretty funny. I'm pretty sure he got exactly 1/8th a teaspoon down his throat.

Remember how Charlotte sucked down everything she possibly could when we first gave her solids?


This second one is SO different!

*Note: In case you noticed that the high chair had a cover for Charlotte and not for Greg the old one was stored improperly in the basement and got grass clippings and mold on it so now we have to buy a replacement.

Yesterday was Greg's 4 month check up. Can you believe that I've had two kids for 4 months now? Me neither. Or really with the lack of sleep what I can't believe is that we're all still alive and healthy. So back to the appointment. We found out that our little boy is:
  • 26 inches long (75%)
  • 17 inch head circumference
  • 18 pounds (95%)

Yes, I have a huge child. No wonder I feel like I'm feeding him all the time! The doctor asked if he's rolling over yet and when I told her that he is she seemed a little surprised. She said, "Usually when they're big like that they have a harder time moving around." Which I thought was hilarious. He seems comfortably in the middle as far as developmental milestones which makes for a happy family.

Then the doctor listened to his heart. Then she had him sit up and listened to his heart. Then stand. Then lay on his side. Apparently he has a little heart murmur and she gave me the number of a pediatric cardiologist for him to see. She said it wasn't a big deal, but they would want to monitor it and make sure it didn't need any help.

Remember when my first child had torticollis? And remember how that threw me into a tailspin? Remember how torticollis is simply a muscle issue that you have to work out and yet I was totally freaking out? Yeah, that freak out never came this time. My baby could have something wrong with his heart, but since the doctor didn't seem too concerned neither was I. Wow things have changed the second time around.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Right Side of the Bed

Last night I couldn't fall asleep. I tried and I tried until at last I fell asleep sometime between 11:30 and midnight. Not that late you might say. But wait. At about 1:30, Charlotte came into our room because her pillow had fallen off her bed and she couldn't find it LAYING RIGHT NEXT TO THE BED. Then at 2:30 Greg decided he was hungry and needed to eat. Then again at 4:30 Greg thought eating was necessary. I decided that it couldn't possibly be necessary because I just fed him two hours ago. So we popped up to put the stinking pacifier back in his mouth for the proceeding 45 minutes until Dan was awake and I was awake and he was going to have to be getting ready for the day any minute now. If Greg happens to be awake while Dan is up in the morning forget it for him going back to sleep. So I feed him again at 5:15. Then, just before Dan is about to leave at 6:20 little feet patter into my room. I tell Charlotte it isn't time to wake up yet and take her back to bed. This usually works, except for this morning her brother decided that it was also time to be awake.

There I am, face up in bed staring at the ceiling thinking how frustrating it is that all I want is sleep. What I want to do is hit someone, but I'm not really big on acting out those impulses. Instead I growled. And I growled loud. I was hoping that Dan would hear it from downstairs. He heard it all right. But you know who else heard it? The little two year old sleepily tip toeing into my room. It scared the daylights out of her. And the mother of the year award goes to the growler.

When Dan comes up to kiss me goodbye he's met with the three of us laying in my bed in tears.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Having Joy

We're doing Joy School with Charlotte. After one day I can confidently tell you all that I love it and it does bring me joy. There's only four kids in our group, they're all girls, and they're all right around Charlotte's age. She knows them all and all the moms from church and she's been to all their houses before. So there's nothing scary about it at all for her. It's really great to have her learning from other people. I knew we'd made the right decision when I picked her up from day one and she had a big smile on her face. Here's her first day of "school" photo.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flip Flop

Ever have one of those days where you have a plan in your mind and then in one instant time seems to shift and everything thereafter is totally different? Yeah, I thought so. My sister probably gave her husband one of those moments this past weekend with her surprise trip to California. I also had one of those moments recently only mine wasn't quite that pleasant.

After a wonderful long Labor Day weekend Tuesday morning hit. I woke up before my kids, which was great, and planned to take my husband's car in to get the oil changed and the state inspections done. Not the best of errands, but I was really looking forward to getting that one checked off my list. I had also planned to get all the laundry done.

A while later my daughter woke up with a cough. And she didn't want to eat breakfast. A little unusual for her, but sometimes she decides not to eat a meal and is totally fine. I thought to myself hmm, maybe I should stay home today. Then I decided that Daniel and I went to the trouble of moving out both car seats and I also really don't like to drive his car now that there's no AC so I was getting it done today. I called a friend who graciously told me that she would watch Greg for me and I could take Charlotte with me to the tire place.

We get to the tire store and at this point I'm feeling pretty great. Yes, Charlotte is coughing a bit, but nothing that should worry anyone and she's being so good just sitting on my lap. I stupidly think to myself maybe I should always take her to the car place sick! She's totally behaving!

It is precisely at that moment that time sort of slowed down to stopping while my sweet little girl erupted in vomit. It came out of no where, and boy did it come! She was sitting on my lap so there wasn't even any evasive actions I could have taken.

As my day suddenly morphs into a new and smelly shape I look up at the two middle aged men working at the desk. The look on their faces was plain to read, "I'm NOT cleaning that up." I totally didn't expect them to, but at least that part was a bit funny. My car hadn't even been taken back, which I'm sure everyone was grateful for.

After cleaning up the mess I said, "I think I'm just going to take my child and go. I'll reschedule." To which the two men replied, "Good idea." They had my keys back to me in record time.

Unfortunately Charlotte didn't keep anything down the entire day. Which means puke in the car on the way home, puke in her bed, puke on her little green bean bag chair, puke on my big green recliner, puke pretty much everywhere.

That was not the day I had intended to have when I woke up that morning.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rooting for the Home Team

After call days Daniel gets to have a half day of work. Presumably this is for sleep. Instead of that my husband spent his day post call taking his daughter to her first ever baseball game. Also? He took photos because he knew I'd want to see them. Now if that doesn't make your heart burst you don't have one. The tickets were free from the library's summer reading program. Charlotte read 15 books with me so she got the ticktes. That explains why they are up so very high.


Monday, August 24, 2009

This N That

There are a few things I want to get down before I forget them, but they're not really worthy of a whole post themselves. Sorry if this is boring.

Charlotte:
  • She says "me-mote" for remote
  • She constantly talks about going to Aunt Heather's to climb, Grandma Denise's house to see Quinnie, and having Aunt Katie and Uncle Garrett taking her to see the kangaroo. What kangaroo? (None of which is going to happen anytime soon.)
  • She's staying in bed at bedtime! This is amazing!
  • She is very interested in gender. Usually it goes something like this "Baby Jimmy is a boy, and Daddy is a boy, and Tigger (Grandma LeAnn's dog) is a boy, but Rommie and Mischief (also Grandma LeAnn's dogs) are girls. Quinnie is a girl and so is Mommy."
  • She's started to get mad. A lot. I was getting a little worried about it so I brought it up to Daniel. His response was, "Well she is part of the family and my family's default emotion is mad." I thought that was funny.

Greg:

  • He is quite possibly the world's stinkiest baby. Not in the way you'd think though. He is always wanting to be swaddled when he sleeps, which is still most of the day, and it's hot. So he sweats. And stinks.
  • He never wants to sit down. He is always wanting to stand up. He hooks his little feet onto anything that could give him leverage and pushes until his body is rigid.
  • Everyone says he looks like Daniel now. I now think he looks like my dad.
  • His favorite toy is the shower curtain.
  • He LOVES his sister. When she's around he's always watching her. I wonder when she'll notice.
  • We moved him into his crib to share the bedroom with Charlotte. This is AWESOME. In no way have the even bothered each other.

Dan:

  • I can't wait for this month to end! Not that next month promises to be much better, but at least he'll be closer to home.
  • For future reference, if you're calling home because you want me to know you're going to be late, but I don't pick up, the proper thing to do is to leave a message. If you don't leave a message, I will then spend the next 2.5 hours until you call me back worrying that what was really going on was that you were kidnapped and you were sending me an SOS to call the police to come find you. When I try to call you back and you don't answer because you're with a patient, it just leads me to believe that you are gagged and tied up and I really need to go get help. That's the way my mind works. Because that type of thing happens all.the.time.
  • How exactly do you function on so little sleep?
  • I'm so glad you and Charlotte will be going to the Cardinals game on Thursday. I think you guys will really have fun with each other.

Me:

  • I've made an exercise goal for myself. I'm exercising for 100 days and at the end I'm buying myself a new outfit. Pretty awesome huh?
  • Because I'm 7 I made myself a sticker chart to track my exercising progress. Yes, stickers are a great daily reward for myself because I'm cool like that. My favorite are the foil stars. Do you remember those?
  • My mom is coming this weekend to visit and I'm so ridiculously excited.
  • I cut out my new quilt kit a while back and started to sew it together yesterday. I wasn't paying enough attention to seam allowance though so now I have to unpick everything I sewed yesterday. Great.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Logic

Charlotte and I have four or five conversations that run in a constant loop throughout the day. Here is a sample of my least favorite:

Me: "Charlotte please don't do that."
Charlotte: "But I can."
Me: "I know you can. I'm asking you to please not."
Charlotte: "I will."
Me: "Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop."

I'm not entirely sure how to impart the idea that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Give Away

Not mine. I have nothing worth giving away at the moment. My cousin Hilary though is a very talented artist. She has an etsy shop and is having a give away. You should go check it out.

Magical

I got tired of seeing that last post at the top of the screen when I looked on my blog so I thought I'd post something a little more fun. When she was visiting us Grandma LeAnn bought us a year membership to The Magic House. I think living in St. Louis is going to ruin me for the rest of the country. There are so many awesome kid things to do here (which are free or really cheap) and The Magic House is no exception. Thanks to our membership we will be getting photos like these for the rest of the year:


Charlotte is taking a ride in Cinderella's carriage.

Here she is driving what I think is some sort of pretend delivery vehicle.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coping

So third year is hard. Not last month. Last month was a breeze. I kept hoping that the month would never end. Which basically means that it was over in an instant. This month slammed into me and keeps right on going with a seemingly endless marathon of coping. It's like summer skipped right past fall and landed me in the middle of winter. (That analogy only works if you're not talking about the climate of St. Louis. In St. Louis summer is a season to avoid. Don't ever vacation here in August. You might just die.)

I recently read a good friend's post about his hours during third year and what he's doing and they are what I imagine my husband to be doing right now as well. All I can say is that he's gone. He'd be here, with me and with our children, if he could, but he can't. Right now we are sacrificing with the faith that it will be worth it in the end. Mostly I think I'm doing just fine. Mostly I think we're coping well.

And then.

Then Charlotte wakes up from her nap asking, begging, for me to get Daddy. What a joke right? Now, when he can't be here, she's finally decided that she prefers him for some things. Not only that, we can't try to call him because he doesn't get great reception in the hospital and he might be too busy to talk anyway.

Then we're with a group of other women and children with spouses in medical school or residency. They're all talking about what their husbands are doing. The conversation is light and fun. Suddenly I'm thinking about Daniel being gone and having to put the kids to bed by myself three days in a row and I start to get choked up a bit.

Intellectually I know many other families go through similar situations. I also know that many families go through much tougher challenges. That doesn't change the coping that has to go on in our family when Daniel-the husband, friend, dad, lover, joker, and anchor-is gone. We hope he is energized about what he's doing and learning. We love to see him take the next step towards our collective goal. We also miss him.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Bet You're Jealous Now

So this is the post wherein I make you all wish you could be me. Just letting you know. Today we went with some friends to pick blackberries. Here are the photos of the day.


We started out the day bright eyed and bushy tailed and on the bus to the blackberry patch.

Then we picked and ate and picked and ate the blackberries.

Charlotte didn't quite understand being gentle while picking so mostly she smashed the blackberries in her little hands.
She also managed to get quite a few in her mouth and all over her face. I'm not sure if you can really see it in the photo, but she did mange to get blackberry in her right ear.
After my kids get up from their naps I'm calling my friends to come over and make freezer jam with me. It's gonna be great.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Getting Better

The last few days Charlotte has actually asked me for things politely without needing to be reminded. It's been amazing. Not every time, but to even have it happen on its own has been a little relief. Then today we went and visited her best friend and the two of them are doing SO MUCH BETTER about not fighting. Charlotte still has a way to go, but I can see a definite improvement. That's comforting.

Also, Greg has decided to start putting things in his mouth and grabbing for toys within reach. He's getting so big! It's exciting. Pretty soon we'll have baby slobber on everything!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Growing

Daniel says he can't remember ever having growing pains. I do. I remember laying in bed one night when I was young and my legs just aching with them. Does anyone else remember having those? When I told my mom about them she let me know that it was happening because I was growing so fast. That's why when I learned about how sometimes people cut their bones and then use screws to have them grow back longer I just cringed. That would be so painful.

I feel like the last three months of my life I've had a different sort of growing pain. I feel like I can literally feel myself growing in my abilities as a mom, and sometimes it isn't pleasant, but always it amazes me.

I worried about not being able to love my second child as much as I do my first. Honestly it didn't happen right away. Now though, I feel the love I have for him opening up in my heart like a huge well with no bottom. An eternal capacity to love him. He can coo and sit and loves to have me hold his hands to stand up. He's learning to laugh and it's so funny to watch him try. He is always looking around for his sister. He is amazing. When I see him I think to myself, how could anyone not absolutely love him?

I'm also being pulled to see how much I can get done in a day. This sounds a little shallow after talking about my love for my son, but it is significant. At times it really has been a confidence booster and at other times one of the most discouraging parts to my day. I can accomplish more today than I ever could when Charlotte was 3 months old. I have a greater capacity than I thought. I know this because each day has more activities and tasks than I can get done. Every.day. I have learned to pick and choose what I will be doing.

I'm growing in my ability to lovingly discipline my daughter. I desperately want her life to be puppies and rainbows and sunshine and I want to be the one that gives her every good thing that she will love all the time. In reality that can't happen and I have to be the bad guy sometimes. And I hate it. Also, I hate when I'm not successful at it-when the only thing I accomplish is making her cry and me angry. This is where the painful part of growing comes in. I'm getting better at it. I'm finding things that work and things that do not work and knowing that I'm getting better feels really good.

Along with disciplining my daughter my life is pulling me toward more self discipline. Confession: My life requires more self discipline than I currently have. I wish I could get up before my children so that I could use that time for myself productively. I wish I could continue to be productive all through the afternoon. I wish I didn't get angry so easily (or at all really). Unfortunately that isn't happening right now. SLEEP is way more important than any of that at the moment. I do see that little by little I am able to tuck in things I want to get done between things that I have to get done. I am also getting better at controlling my actions and words, even when I'm frustrated. I'm getting better. Not every day. Actually most days are tiny steps backward than forward, but I do see the forward movement and it makes it worth it.

So even though I sort of feel like two kids are stretching me farther than I am able, when I have enough sleep and energy to stand back and look at the situation I am ever so happy with it. My children, by just being themselves, are helping me to become the person I want to be.

A New Gem

We went to the St. Louis City Garden today and it is awesome. If you can you should go there. Next time we go I'll remember the camera. And I'll remember to not leave my glasses there.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Misunderstanding

On Sunday Charlotte temporarily broke our TV. She decided that it needed to be cleaned and proceeded to spray it with the water sprayer that I use on her hair. Needless to say, the TV doesn't do well with a bath. Overnight it dried out and everything turned out OK, but that night she was completely heartbroken to have been the one to break the TV. I desperately tried to calm her down, but nothing was working. Then I said, "Let's call Grandma and tell her what happened." Her response was incoherent bawling and nodding her head. Then I said, "You have to calm down because people can't understand you when you're crying on the phone."

Surprisingly it worked! She calmed down enough to talk to grandma and the calm did last for a little bit. So then when the tears started back up we called the other grandma and told her. It really helped.

A few nights later we were eating dinner and she started to tell us the story of the baptized TV. (She does this often when she wants to be part of a conversation.) She got to the part where I'm convincing her to call her grandparents and she says, "People can't stand me when I cry." I almost shot milk out my nose at that because it's so very true.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Progress

The weekend before Daniel started his thrid year he decided that it was high time we got the dining room painted. I'd been wanting to get it painted, but as you know, in a house this old nothing is as simple as it sounds. In order to paint the room we needed to fix any cracks in the wall and the texture of the walls so that they would match above and below the chair rail and also the rest of the house. Daniel worked very hard that weekend, but it didn't get finished.

Then third year started.

So now, a month later, we have it done. I must say that I'm pleased with how it turned out, but even more pleased with not having to eat in the living room anymore.
Here is a shot of before, just to remind you of what it used to look like. It wasn't bad, it was just really dark (and sort of purple).
Here is what it looks like now!



And yes, these photos do convince me that someone other than myself should be taking the photos of our house when we put it up for sale.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lazy Days

My sister mentioned to me a while back about how when she's at church she hears a lot about how being a mom is really hard. Her reaction to that, not yet being a mom herself, is to think gee you're really making that sound like I should run in the other direction. I understand what those women are doing and saying while at church, they are mostly surrounded by other moms and sharing your struggles sometimes lessens them and also other moms might have a tip or two with what you're struggling with. I also think that it's important to watch what you say. Being a mom does have it's challenges, but it also has it's rewards. Too often I find myself putting my focus on my struggles and not my successes.



Like yesterday.



Do you remember when you were little and the summer days just seemed to stretch out before you with endless possibilities? I remember being in the huge backyard of the neighbor's house across the street running through their sprinkler and loving it. It's for that reason actually that I always prefer to buy that type of sprinkler for our lawn.



Getting back to yesterday, I had watched one of Charlotte's little friends in the morning and was just about as exhausted as watching two two-year-olds for about 4.5 hours can get you. After her friend left Charlotte decided she didn't need to take a nap, but boy did she ever. I decided to give up on the productivity I was going to have that day and, remembering my love of running through the sprinkler, I thought I'd try to turn it on and she if she likes it too.



She ran around it a couple of times and then was bored. I was focusing on the challenge before me and not the opportunity. That is until I realized that nobody likes to run through the sprinkler alone so I decided to go out and enjoy the summer and indulge myself. We ran through the sprinkler and around the backyard for about an hour. It was at that point that I was so happy that my daughter had such a full and fun summer day. The type of day that I had and look back on and love.


My favorite thing about being a mom is giving my children moments like yesterday. Moments that she can look back on and say she had joy and love and that her mom liked to be with her and have fun with her. I know she wont remember much of her two year old little self, but I have faith that I'm laying the foundations of future awesomeness.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Fore

Grandpa Greg purchased Baby Greg his first golfing outfit which he wore to church yesterday. He got many complements.

Also, I got an interesting view of myself from my daughter's eyes yesterday. She was being particularly bossy towards everyone last night when this conversation insued:

Dan: "Charlotte, you need to stop."
Charlotte: "No"
Dan: "You're not the boss of everyone."
Charlotte: "Yes, I'm mommy."

Apparently I must be very bossy in her eyes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Gateway Drug

We visited over at some friends' house last Saturday and I mentioned that I was tired of watching The Incredibles (or really hearing it from the other room) and the wife offered to let us borrow some of her movies. I told her that it would be great for a little break and went over to look. She has a much better collection than I of Disney movies so I picked up Cinderella and The Lion King. I thought Cinderella would be a hard sell for Charlotte since she prefers The Incredibles to The Little Mermaid at home so The Lion King was to hedge my bet.

We have watched Cinderella EVERY DAY since then. My daughter loves it. What's more she didn't really get The Lion King. I was surprised at how wrong I was about what she would like. Now that she knows about Cinderella I'm sure it wont be long until she finds out about the whole slew of Disney Princesses.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What to Wear

I recently received a promotional email from the Picture People. They offered to get a free picture packet including one 8x10 a sheet of 5x7 and a sheet of wallets for FREE. I called to ask if I'd need to pay for a sitting fee thinking that there's got to be a catch, but there isn't. So I scheduled another session for Greg to get his photos taken. He already had them taken by the Picture People, but I hadn't planned right so he was hungry and tired and Charlotte wasn't too happy and so the photos, though good, weren't necessarily my favorite of him. I'm excited that they're essentially giving me a free re-do! Now I've just got to figure out what to put him in.

Attitude Adjustment

You know how every so often you're going along just fine and then one day a while later you realize that you're no longer quite so peaceful, happy, or content as you used to be? I realized that last weekend. Or rather what I realized I needed was an attitude adjustment. I've been losing my cool way too much with my children, finding fault with my husband where there really isn't any, and getting overly annoyed at the little things in life that aren't exactly as I would like them.

I know what you might be thinking, "you've got a two month old baby, that explains a lot." But the thing is that I don't think that's it. Or maybe it is, but I don't want to use that as an excuse. I don't feel like that's it anyway.

So I've decided to make a conscious effort to stay positive. Like last night when I'd worked really hard to clean the house (I even vacuumed under the couch cushions) and then still had the kitchen to clean after putting Charlotte to bed. I could really have lost it right then. I felt myself getting really mad, but then I thought, what's the point? So I just did the dishes and wiped off the counters and then as I was walking out of the room, just before I turned off the light I looked back at the clean kitchen knowing that my entire house was clean. That was a good feeling.

Or today when I took the kids to the Botanical Gardens with some friends. This is an activity that Charlotte normally loves, at a time she is normally most energetic, but not today. We made it all the way to the back of the gardens to feed the fish (which is what she requested in the first place) when she decided she wanted to be carried. I had Greg in the baby carrier and no stroller so we walked the entire way back to the entrance with her howling. My saintly friend took her 9 month old baby out of her stroller so I could put Greg in it and deal with Charlotte. I tried to get her to stop crying but it was no use. I wasn't carrying her after she acted like that. The people passing us were literally staring as snot was shooting out her nose. When we were close to the exit one very helpful father said, "You're almost there." I could have gotten frustrated that none of my plan had worked out that day, OK, well, I was mad. But instead of losing it I just laughed because there was nothing else I could do. I had tried my best and things just didn't work out.

So anyway, my point is that I'm trying to stay more positive and on top of things. I really am. My plan is to try and overlap naps at least a little and take some time to just relax. Everyone needs a break right?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

4th of July--Take 2

My camera battery died on the 4th of July so I didn't get to take these. Here's what my kids wore to church on the 5th. Here's what they wore on the 4th.
Aren't they the cutest?

Friday, July 17, 2009

We've Got Worms

Night before last Charlotte woke up about midnight screaming about worms being in her bed and touching her. Daniel went in to try and convince her that in fact she was dreaming and there were no worms in her bed. Try as he might he could not convince her. She knew better. So he ended up bringing her into our bed. For the first time in her life she spent the night with us. Which meant that Daniel spent the night on the floor next to the bed.

When she got up we tried to show and convince her that there were no worms in her bed, but she wasn't buying it. She refused to nap in her bed yesterday afternoon. So after dinner Daniel took her upstairs and de-wormed her bed. I pretended to look up on the computer how to get rid of worms then I told her you have to jump on your bed three times and then vacuum under the bed to suck up all the worms that fell out. If you do that three times all the worms will be gone. So she and Daniel went upstairs and did just that. It was really funny to listen to her dad very seriously tell her that she had to jump very high to get all the worms out. She actually made him jump on one end, which must have been the end that the worms were in in her dream. Then we all piled on her bed together to show her that there were no more worms. Luckily it worked and she slept in her bed all through the night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Steak Dinners

My husband got his board score today. What a relief! He did very well and I'm so proud of him. It really made the 8 weeks or so of not really getting to see him worth it.

When I told my husband I had called my mom and sister to tell them how awesome he did he asked me if I had remembered to thank them for helping us through that time. I admit that I neglected to thank them. So to everyone that came to us for that two month time period,

Thank You!

From the bottom of our hearts. He could not and we could not have done it without you. We love you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Testament

When Daniel was on his mission in Chile he decided to buy a wonderful alpaca blanket. It was purchased for his future wife, which he had never met. Then I got it for Christmas the year we were engaged. I love this blanket.


When Daniel was 8 he realized how awesome all his brio train set stuff was so he packed it up and stored it. For his future children. Last vacation we were at his parents' place and we dug it out of all the stored stuff. We didn't have enough room to put it in our luggage home so Grandma LeAnn mailed it to us. It arrived yesterday and I took photos. They are a testament to Daniel's foresight and Grandma LeAnn's insight.


She had added a set of farm animal stuff.

And sent it in a big box full of packing peanuts.

Friday, July 10, 2009

For Katie

My sister says I don't show her enough photos. OK, so technically she says I don't take enough photos. Here are a few the I have taken recently.


This was after Charlotte's bath. She ran into her room and then said, "Char-lotte, Ah are you?" Which is my cue to come looking for her. I walked in and she was hiding/pretending to sleep with her stuffed animals.

I was trying to get a photo of his dimples. I know he has one, but I think he might have another one on the other side. I just couldn't time the picture right.
Here's the family after Greg's baby blessing. It is super cold in the photo so Charlotte and I are trying to fake being comfortable. I don't know if we convinced anyone.
Greg on his blessing day. He's wearing the same outfit that Daniel wore and the blanket Grandma LeAnn made especially for him.The first time I was actually able to capture a smile!