Sunday, May 17, 2015

This week's truths

Jonathan left on Monday to a conference and although I was nervous, I had lots of votes of confidence from family and friends. I could most definitely handle work and caring for two kids. No sweat. Sometimes the kids are better behaved for one parent instead of two. It'll be chaos, but you'll survive. You got this. 

Those were the words of wisdoms I received.

So I did what I always do: embraced the challenge. I saw it as a chance to flex my parenting muscles. I wanted to come out the other end of the week glowing with my strong, capable, and flexible skills I had developed. I couldn't wait to rub my husband's nose in it: look what I can do! Run victory laps at my success.

Let me tell you: I got a good case of shut down! Things got ugly and desperate. I never foresaw how Vincent would react to having Dad gone. How I would have to battle his 4 year old coping skills. There was yelling and tears from both of us. And then I had to deal with Isla, the baby who sleeps in spurts made worse by coughing spells. Vincent even woke up in the middle of the night two days in a row. It was a tantrum to get him back to bed as he ran around the pitch black house screaming and crying. 

There were many phone calls to Jonathan asking him to talk to my erratic child as I couldn't muster the patience to calm him down and all my threats landed on deaf ears. 

Talk about a huge ego shutdown! By Friday I was singing just knowing that evening I wouldn't have to go it alone. That I wouldn't have to fail one more night. That maybe I'd actually get more than 4 hours of sleep. 

I wish I could say that Jonathan's homecoming made everything better, that our weekend ended up being beautiful and put all the wrongs right again. Instead, I woke up Saturday with a fever, sore throat, bodyaches, upset stomach, and sneezing my head off. This was supposed to be my crowning moment where I reaped my reward for single parenting for the week (although horribly) by heading out for a little me time. I deserved that. I needed that! Instead I lounged around all day only nursing Isla. 

I wish I could say that was the end of the story. 

Saturday night as I go to put dishes into the drying rack I had washed, a big fat drop of water landed on my arm. I thought at first I had just gotten myself wet washing dishes. I wish. Instead, there was a steady drip of water coming from our ceiling! And as I looked down at the kitchen rug, I realized it was soaked. 

At 9 at night my husband climbed into our insulation filled attic to determine the source of the problem. Vincent was still awake. I was still awake. 

We finally figured out an ventilation pipe was leaking. There are far too many boring details to that story to go into it, but...

This week was not easy. I didn't grow parenting wings. We survived. I realized how much I rely on my husband. 

I realized that even when you think it's bad, you haven't had it rain on you in your kitchen. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

What a Monday?

This morning, the day after that wonderful day called Mother's Day, Monday happened. It was a mother of all Mondays. So fitting. Like it was there to ground me and remind me of my real job. 

Isla didn't sleep very well. She woke up every hour or so whether she was being snuggled or not and whether she had just eaten an hour ago or not. Maybe it's another glorious growth spurt. Who knows. But did it really have to happen the Monday after Mother's Day and the week Jonathan will be gone to a conference for the week? (I've never had to be a temporary single mom before. Should be interesting.)

So you think: I'll just make myself a spot of coffee and all will be right. Only I have a four year old barista in training who loves to help. This morning Vincent got distracted by a magnet as he was helping and while we were cleaning up (I run a cup of water through the Nepresso after making a cup), his elbow caught the steaming hot cup and knocked it right in his chair and splashed all over him. Vincent screamed and the mug shattered. 

Boy did I feel guilty. As I rushed around stripping off his clothes and putting an ice pack where the water got him, he was upset he broke a mug and water got everywhere. Bless him! We managed to get all cleaned up and get out the door only 10 minutes late, my mommy guilt and Monday wrath following us out the door!

The drive to school gave me time to decompress and reflect. While I was complaining about my children, lack of sleep, and it being Monday, I was being taught something about grace. Apparently I could use a little bit more of it. Ironically, for the first tjme, my coffee did not taste good. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Nespress yoself

For my Mother's Day gift, an early one, I got a Nespresso Citiz. I tried out my sister's while we were in Colorado for my nephew's first communion. We were there for three days and two nights. Three days and two nights. That's all it took to become seriously attached. I would wake up and ask when I was getting my perfect cup of coffee. I'm such a gracious guest. Ha. 

When I saw that Williams Sonoma was having a sale and that Nespresso was doing $75 in club credit for pods, I knew it was a sign that I needed to make one of those lovely machines mine. The other sign: my Starbucks expenditures each month were getting higher and higher. With two kids in daycare, I knew I needed to get a better solution. Or a second job. 
There are several models to choose from and it can be confusing to figure out what the difference is. The latest model is the VertoLine, which has custom pods for both espresso and coffee. It actually customizes each pod by reading a barcode on the pod to give it the right amount of water based on that barcode. But it's a new line and the jury is still out. I already have a perfectly fine coffee maker, so I stuck with the OriginalLine. I debated getting the Pixie because of it's Swiss-made all metal craftsmanship, but it holds the least amount of water (in hindsight, this isn't a problem; you want fresh water for your brew). The Insissia is more affordable but not as sleek and doesn't have the almost 5-star rating the Citiz has been given. The Citiz is a little more pricier ($299), but the reviews make me confident I'm buying a solid product that's not just some trend. 
It came with a sample pack of pods to try and let me tell you, I'm having so much fun figuring out what intensities I like. Plus it's fun to mix it up. Some days are 12s and I need the flavor jolt; other days are 3s and mellow. I debating about buying an assortment pack with my credit just for fun. (Update: I bought the 200-pod welcome box. Loving it while I determine which pods I prefer.)

The other thing that came in my bundle is a milk frother. If you're in the market for a frother, I highly recommend it. It's $100 on its own but it really adds to the coffee experience. Plus it makes your cup so pretty and inviting. 
Vincent has really enjoyed helping me pick out a pod, load the machine, and push the button. So yeah, it's so easy a 4 year old can do it (with some assistance). 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

5.5 months

Yesterday I had a newborn and today I have a 5.5 month old girl with zesty personality! Let me tell you about this girl who we almost always call by her first and middle names, Isla Rai. So fitting for all that zest. She gets it from her namesake.

1. She'll grab anything she can get her hands on, hair (and facial hair), necklaces, toys, plates (loaded with food), food. You get the picture. Yesterday we had to untangle her from Vincent she had him by his hair so well. That'll teach him not to get in her face so often. 

2. She's getting bad about being held. I used to pride myself on being able to put her down anywhere and she'd entertain herself. Now, notsomuch. This weekend I had her in the swing and she saw me walk by. Boy, did that piss her off to be ignored. And she only does this to me! I think she just sees me as a giant hamburger when I walk by. Nothing but food.

3. She likes to eat! We had a suspicion she'd be a mighty eater, and we were right! We started solids this weekend. There was no painful tongue reflex and gagging we experienced with Vincent and that gave me PTSD. Nope. This girl gobbled down whole containers of baby food. Everyone told me that most likely she'd only eat a couple tablespoons. Ha. But I love it! I dreaded the solids stage after Vincent required occupational therapy to get over his eating issues, and some textures still to this day trigger his gag reflex.

4. She's starting to roll to her belly to sleep. It makes me nervous, but if it gets her sleeping longer, I guess I should get on board. 

5. She doesn't nap. She takes these tiny cat naps throughout the day. When she does sleep more than 20 minutes, we freak out and so does daycare. We rush to her side to check her breathing. 

6. Her hair has turned a coppery auburn. 

7. Her eyes are still blue.

8. She still hates getting dressed.

9. She still hates getting her hair washed. 

10. We love her to pieces! Tonight our neighbor's little 1.5 year old wanted me to hold her while my neighbor held Isla. I said maybe we can trade. Vincent wasn't having any of that, despite how much he adores our neighbor's little girl. He said, "No, you can't do that. I really like her." I guess it's settled. Isla is here to stay. 

What we're eating this week

OK, so I thought I'd try out posts telling you what my menu is for the week ahead? Why? One: so I can look back at it myself for meal ideas I sometimes forget about, and two: give you ideas for your menu. I love knowing what other people eat. I'm so indecisive and sometimes recipes are no help in telling you how pallatable or easy to prepare it is. Here are two things you should know about what I cook: I go for uncomplicated recipes, and most meals have meat. 

Sunday: Rotissorie chicken, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, and green beans

Monday: Hamburgers, Tator tots, and baked beans

Tuesday: Crock-pot beef and whole wheat egg noodles, steamed carrots

Wednesday: Breaded chicken, spaghetti, and mixed veggies

Thursday: Chicken stirfry and fried rice

Friday: Hot dogs and corn

Saturday: Flounder, brown rice, and asparagus 

Lunches this week: chicken salad on croissants, soups, and leftovers

Happy eating! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

let's recap the last couple months

It's been crazy! Isla went to daycare and proceeded to get sick and to get me sick and then to turn around and do it all over again a week later with a double ear infection. We were back to normal and then, BAM! she's getting another cold. On top of the nightly puke inducing hacking each night I think she's also teething. And in that time Vincent also had an ear infection so bad it burst his ear drum, and his ears had just been checked the week before because he was getting over an ear infection. Sleep isn't happening much. In fact the definition of that word is getting hazier each passing night.

So life has been about survival and keeping the kids on as much of a schedule as possible. So let's back up to Vincent's birthday at the end of February!

It was the birthday that seemed to go on for days because we first celebrated with family the weekend before, we celebrated with balloons the day of, his presents I ordered too late (oops!) arrived so we did those the day after, and finally he had a bowling party with friends and family the following weekend. I stressed out that I didn't have his presents the day of his birthday, but he could have cared less since I had personally blown up 30 balloons that I pelted him with when he got home that afternoon. We spent the rest of the evening playing with balloons. I guess that's the magic of a kid heart: they don't need presents and pomp and circumstance for their birthdays. It's the parents that do. Sad how we dwell on material items to fill our hearts and the hearts of our children when the best thing children can ask for is our undivided {device-free} attention.

He had a blast at his bowling party! It almost didn't happen on account of the only snow storm we had this year, and a lot of family couldn't make it up. His aunt in Colorado managed to time her trip to meet Isla that weekend so she was there to take part in the festivities.

 I ordered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cookies and a cake. Note to self: don't order both next year! Hardly any of the cake got eaten and I even had to finish off some cookies because Vincent didn't like them. And these cookies were amazing and beautiful! I splurged on them, but who can resist a cookie iced with such detail! He had so much fun bowling that I didn't get any pictures of him with the cake. Oops. Me and that camera need to become better friends during milestones.

These two love each other so much already. Well, Isla sometimes gets annoyed Vincent gets in her face, but I can't blame him; she's a cutie! Doesn't it look like they're sharing secrets here?

Isla and I finally made it to my doula's new yoga studio. This woman is amazing and helped me bring my children into this world. She was born to help women bore their children!

We went to an Easter egg hunt. Vincent's little basket was not big enough in the end. Isla didn't really have fun.

Vincent was excited that the Easter bunny left him stuff at our house and grandma and papas! We celebrated at their house amid packing boxes and no furniture. It's the last holiday there! It was sort of bittersweet even for me. I've been with Jonathan since 1999 and have even lived in that house off and on. 

Pretty girl in her Easter dress!

On the Easter egg hunt!

Vincent was so excited this year running all around. Oh to be a kid again and find treats in the yard!


Next year Vincent is going to a new preschool and we checked it out recently. He was pretty excited about all the games and toys he saw. It made me tear up!

This girl is always smiling!

We finally did something about that crazy hair! First hair cut!

Much better, right?!

She's a part-time thumb sucker. Kind of cute. Kind of not.

Those big (still blue) eyes and that auburn hair...thanks to her grandma!






















Sunday, February 8, 2015

First week back

My first week back at work wasn't horrible. There were only a few hiccups getting a defiant almost four year old out the door on time. I'm so thankful work from home. I don't have to rush or feel bad if I log on a few minutes late (or if I need extra time securing that victory Starbucks). Or dress up if I don't want to. And I can pump in the privacy and comfort of my own home. It also helped that Jonathan was home this week to bond with Isla before she sets off to daycare end of next week. 

I was still stressed thinking about a major website relaunch happening this week that required way too many brain cells that somehow burned up while on maternity leave, but that even went better than I hoped.

Or maybe I'm just learning there is only so much work life interfere with your family time.

This happened this week: 

Isla finally took a pacifier and a bottle (Born Free by the way). Daddy was super patient and after a couple tries learned that milk from a bottle is just as good! Girlfriend I think is going to end up having an appetite her brother never had. 

Isla turned 10 weeks. Was she ever a newborn? I feel as if those sleepy cuddly days are hazy memories that are fading fast. We have an alert social baby who is killing it at tummy time. It helps that every time we put her on the floor Vincent is right there to entertain (and sometimes annoy) her. He's such an amazing big brother! 

We had one rough night. Up every hour. Sleep deprivation is cruel. I earned those black eye circles. I deserve a medal. All mama bears do. I also learned there is a new kind of tired when you have two and one kept you up all night. It was painful, but we lived. Coffee helped. A lot.

When you're a sleep-deprived mama, it's important to do little things to lift your spirit. Like wearing a sweet bracelet from your sister to remind you how blessed you are. Forever. 

It was a good week. I wouldn't trade it for the world.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Chapter closing

Today marks the last day of the very last maternity leave I'll take. Monday I'll return to work, and right now, we're planning to be done with a family four strong. The sides are even: two boys and two girls. Right now we think that's pretty perfect, my body is tired, our mentality is tired from dealing with a baby and a preschooler, and we're ready to focus our energies to continue to raise these two halfings up proud. And maybe take some epic vacation in the coming years.

I've loved my 10 weeks off with my sweet Isla. She's such a good baby. Where Vincent was only happy being held and rarely smiled, Isla thinks being held means you're trying to put her to sleep (she's right sometimes), so you have to hold her a certain way or put her down and she's full of smiles, coos, and talks. The other day I'm pretty sure she tried to say "I love you." I think she's going to be my zesty energetic one, while Vincent is my deep sensitive one. I'm good with that. I love them both fiercely. I'm their mama bear. And I'm so excited to watch them grow up together. I can't even really remember what it was like before Isla, almost as if she's always been here.

Yesterday was chickabee's 2-month appointment. I've been fretting about her weight since Vincent struggled in that department. I can't help but compare and anticipate the worst because of him, but Isla is 2 ounces shy of 11 pounds! She's also in the 76 percentile for height. I'll have to dig out Vincent's stats to compare, I'm pretty sure she's beating him!

 I didn't get nearly all the things I wanted to get done on my maternity leave that I had planned, but I'm good with that. A new era is dawning in this household, so I've plenty of time to clean out the basement later. For now I'll just enjoy these sweet gummy smiles and almost four year old excitement over playing Go Fish with his mama. Plus, I found a new show, Castle, during my leave. I think that's a successful leave!




Sunday, January 11, 2015

All true

1. I think babies are cute. From a distance. Although Isla is my last baby and I know I should be savoring her babyness, I can't wait until she's Vincent's age. I do love it when she looks at me and smiles though. That's pretty fantastic.
2. Breastfeeding isn't my favorite this time. With Vincent I loved nursing and was sad when my baby was no longer thriving. Vincent and I made it 9 months. Now I contemplate switching to formula everyday, but then I remember I'm saving money and I'll be paying for another kid in daycare soon. We'll see how long I last. 
3. Sometimes I don't change Isla's clothes for a couple days. 
4. I'm praying for my coffee maker to die (it's 8 years old), so I can buy a Nespresso machine.
5. I'm already thinking about what I want for my birthday. In March. I'll be 33. Wow. I don't feel 33. These days I probably look it. Hello under eye circles. 
6. I think about a beach vacation everyday. And sometimes at night when a certain someone wakes me or another one starts snoring loudly. 
7. My attention span is really short these days and I get bored quickly with whatever I'm doing. I need to figure out how to focus. I'm also incredibly impatient. 
8. My car is 10 years old this year. It needs to hold out for another year. I think I'm going to hop on the SUV bandwagon again. I'll be sad to see my Scion xA go. I have a thing for tiny cars. I've never met a parking spot I couldn't fit.
9. I received my quarterly IRA statement this week. I'm fascinated with it looking at it. I don't get numbers and economics, but I'm always calculating how much more my account will grow. It makes me a little obsessive about retirement.
10. Speaking of retirement, I think I want to buy a tiny home and plop it on a sliver of land close to the beach. Are there tiny home retirement beach communities? If not, I'm starting one! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Isla takes over Instagram

If you follow me on Instagram, you know my daughter has taken over. People might think I only have one child or that Isla is my favorite kid while my son takes runner up. But really, I'm just seeing more of her while on maternity leave while he's at daycare, I'm holding her a lot (I try to get Vincent to snuggle more but he's more interested in his Star Wars figures he got for Christmas), plus she's so dang cute and learning cuter things everyday. 

This week alone she's discovered mom is up there while she nurses. She's starting to vocalize more than screams and crying. She loves when I make the sound agoo to her. And her smiles are social though still fleeting. 

So until I can top this, my insta feed will be overrun with this sweetie.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My word

It's been a tradition the last couple of years to pick a word I want to shape my year by. It was harder to choose this year because I'm sleep deprived and taking care of a new baby. I always say babies are in and out of phases, so when you have a span of good days, you have to know they're gonna throw you a curve ball by not sleeping, screaming with no solace, and decide not to nurse. Babies. A lot of work. And no consistency to allow you to really be in the moment and work on yourself and goals. I'm sure I'll be sporting my flabby abs for another year.

But back to my word. I thought sleep or be could work because I could achieve those fairly easily. Well, maybe not sleep. 

For the past two years I've been driven by the need and want to be more creative. Frustratingly so. And many of my goals are creative driven this year too. Create. That's my drive this year.  So while I'm probably a little too ambitious with my word this year, I think it's a good reflection of the direction I want to go. I just hope that baby of mine agrees.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Reboot

It's a new year! My favorite kind of fresh start! Last year was insane. I grew and birthed baby number two and my son will soon be 4. Creatively, last year was a struggle, but I guess if you think about it, a baby is a creative project. {wink} This year I'm dusting this space off. Perfection kept me from keeping it up last year. That and having a baby. Did I mention that?

This year my goals, as much as my kids don't keep me from them, are:

  • Revamp this space so it's inspiring for me to come write in. I'm thinking of buying an Etsy template for it. 
  • Take a Skillshare class on lettering and calligraphy
  • Break out the knitting needles more
  • Buy yarn that makes me want to knit more
  • Sew. Projects include my daughter'so stocking (I've sewed all of us monogrammed stockings) and a quilt using my favorite pattern designer, Bonnie Christine of Going Home to Roost, fabric
  • Fall more in love with my house by purging what I don't use, wear, or love. I also want to try moving things around. I read that you can fall more in love with what you own just by trying it someplace else. So simple yet so genius. I have lots of pictures and prints to hang up as well.
  • Speaking of pictures: to take more with me and my husband in them. I've always felt self conscious both behind and in front of the camera. I think because it's not a natural skill for me and because I'm a perfectionist all I see is imperfection. I have to remind myself practice is the way to perfection. 
  • Read more. I own both a nook and an iPad. I try to take my kids to the library. I have no excuse, besides time and sleep deprivation, for not reading more. Book suggestions?
  • Write more. Both here, journaling, and professionally. I'm getting rusty and words are starting to escape me. Yikes. 
  • Date my husband. Having a new baby is really hard on marriage because you're sleep deprived and at the mercy of the newest little and caring and entertaining the other. It's easy to let your life partner go to the wayside. My plans include playing scrabble and having him reteach me how to play chess since it's been years! And drinking wine. Oh how I've missed my wine.
  • Save money. 2016 is the year we pay off a car loan and all my student loans, so I want to focus on not spending, so our next year goes smoothly money wise. 
I bought a Day Designer to stay organized and inspired this year. Does anyone else love planners as much as I do?! I'll share my review of it since it's a pricey system.