Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Slow takes, on a wednesday

1. MK has been sick this week so we've spent lots of time at home. I've felt differently at the end of these last few days. A touch of cabin fever, yes, but mostly I've felt some semblance of satisfaction in this vocation of motherhood/wifedom. I've felt uncharacteristically happy in this home making business, the making of beds and folding of clothes (NOTHING is in my dryer right now. cray cray), and even (pigs flying high here) the preparing of meals. I've always been better when I'm busier so maybe this sick toddler and needy newborn are good for me. Stay tuned next week when I'm on the edge of the cliff again. I wonder if this forced slowing down helped. Could it be that I'm happiest when I'm doing the job I know I was created for? Cray cray again.

2. We had a wonderful thanksgiving. With no offense at all to our amazing families, I kind of abhor traveling with children. Need I re-post for the 3rd time the pic of MK's locked legs and arms screaming for 3.5 hours after our trip to Savannah in April??  I've resigned that our families may talk smack about us when we're not there, but mama just can't deal. Come see us. anytime. But Lawd please don't ask us to  come see you. Anyway, we did travel this Thanksgiving because my husband asks very little of me so I pack the car every November for the relatively short trip to greenville as a gift to him. I realized that as kids get older and their rookie mamas start to chill the hell out,  it does get easier to be in someone else's home. Yes, they'll always sleep a little less great in a pack-n-play knowing their beloved Sha Sha is downstairs just willing them to wake up, but it does become a big help to be with these people who love these babies like you do. I found myself missing my elder gremlin by Sunday because she was always off somewhere, with someone, being cared for by someone else, and surviving it all quite well. I'd say we'd start traveling more but I have birthed a 2nd carseat hater. God dislikes me mucho.

3.I am just finishing Choosing Joy by Dan Lord and can't recommend it enough. Thanks to the aforementioned toddler wrangling during Thanksgiving, I spent many a baby feeding reading this little gem. As someone who kind of sucks at experiencing joy, this was a new take. If I can get my act together/get a baby on a nap schedule, I'll come back with some of the highlights.

4. I know I just talked about feeling all warm and fuzzy about domestic life over here, but I couldn't leave it all warm and fuzzy. I've written before about how 'glass half full' my husband is and how it takes a WHOLE lot to get that guy down. Since it takes a WHOLE little to get me down, I've been trying to make those first few minutes when he walks in the door a little less "pick a diaper to change. now. please (if I remember the please.) It is so not cool that the time dad gets home coincides with the hour all children turn into hungry wolves because these hard working menfolk really do deserve to come home to something other than wolves and angry mother wolves. So while I may be up for most improved in the domesticity department, I'm still getting a big, fat Needs Improvement on being someone my husband wants to come home to. How do you girls do it? How do you manage to have a semi-clean home, food on the table, kids looking un-homeless and not cuss within 5 seconds of your husband's arrival? And furthermore, how do you manage to stay awake for more than 10 minutes after the last needling (credit for best word ever to Grace) is in bed?  I watched a great 60 minutes piece on a couple who spends 16 hours a day together in a car filming lions in Botswana. When Lara Logan asked them how they spend that much time together, the presh husband said he never wanted a job where he worked 12 hour days and came home angry, grabbed a scotch, and got to spend 1-2 hours with his wife. All I could think when I heard that was that Ross would be happy with a half hour of semi-sane, happy wife. I guess there's a reason there are 4,245 books on putting your marriage first because it ain't easy with these little creatures demanding to be fed/bathed/prayed with at every turn :)

5. If anyone has an extra dose of self-discipline/ "shut up and do it-ness", please pass along. Thomas is 12 weeks. I think. Maybe 11? Whatev. He'll be 3 months old in 12 days which is plenty of time for me to have put down the 5 whoopie pies (thank you Sha Sha) and picked up the running gear. I was supposed to start Tuesday. But Mary Kate is way sick and Ross has a stooopid schedule this week. So we try again tomorrow. Must stop drinking diet cancer and start fueling with stuff that will give me enough energy to stay up for at least one round of Jeopardy with my hubs. Anyone want to sign up for an expensive race with me? About the only thing that could motivate me to train right now is the thought of spending and then wasting money. Or maybe the promise of a cupcake and dc at the end...

6. Please go fill your heads with some un-narcissistic ramblings. I just had 20 minutes and what does one do with that much time if the dryer is empty?  I did just empty Ross's cell phone pics onto my email so come back soon for some adorableness with a side of narcissism again!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Variety is clearly not the spice of life. 7 quick takes. again.

--- 1 ---
I so need to come up with my own material and stop piggy backing on poor Jen over there at Conversion Diary but to be fair, some of these were things I would have morphed into a post if I had time or two available hands.
--- 2 ---
Speaking of available hands, I almost always have one, if I'm lucky. My presh boy likes to be held and is dern adamant that I not trick him with sling or moby or bjorn or ergo. I know I will miss the days when he is most happy feeling my skin against his little face but man, somebody's gotta do laundry around here. Though I'm starting to think that should be Ross. He does 88.9% of the housework anyway but when I left for work the other night, he FOLDED 3 loads of laundry and by folded I mean, actually folded. Nicely, neatly, kind of perfectly. Honey, you are sooo much better at that than I am (being that you actually removed the laundry from the dryer instead of simply picking out needed item piece by piece). You're hired!
--- 3 ---
On a totally unrelated note, I wanted to blog earlier in the week about a lady at Mass Sunday. For whatever reason, the 9:00 Mass has exploded into a packed out house, complete with a children's choir every week, unannounced children's performances and a nursery at capacity. We don't know what's up but we miss the ole days when the 10:30 got all the crazy. Anyway, we got there early so MK got a coveted spot in nursery and all the angels rejoice. In front of us sat a precious lady, probably 70, 75 years old, heavyset with beautiful gray hair wrapped in a french twist. She wore a cardigan over her shoulders and just screamed sweetness. She was sitting when a family of 6, including twin toddlers, tried to squeeze in the pew in a space meant for 2 people, max. Instead of doing as I would have done, which is step out so as not to be TRAPPED in the middle with banshee family, she SCOOTED OVER! She let them have the coveted, easy exit aisle seat. She even smiled at them as the kids had their meltdowns (in fairness, they were pretty good. But even perfet toddlers are still toddlers and there were 2 of them with 2 big brothers!) She smiled when she got bumped and pushed and when she picked up sippy cup after goldfish cup off the floor. That lady exuded grace. And she made me feel like a jack behind for getting annoyed at the kids and the sound system and the packed house that was cramping my mass style. I hope I'm just like her when I grow up.
--- 4 ---
On another unrelated note (whoever said these things had to transition anyway?), I got a text from my friend Anna today saying Congrats! I thought she texted the wrong person but low and behold, I had won a giveaway on Sherri's blog. Sherri is transitioning from real estate guru to personal stylist with Edit.  The Edit team is led by Lauren who I knew from college.  They are masters in the personal styling world. Sherri, who was also an ADPi, has joined their team and as a part of her hazing, she is coming to my closet to put together outfits from what I already own. Yeah, she'll regret this giveaway for sure. She asked for comments on how we'd describe our current style. My answers "coveredinbabyspitup" or "easytopopoutaboob." I'll be sure to report back whatever magic she works in my repetoire of boring and boringer.

--- 5 ---
We are heading to Athens tomorrow and I am muy muy muy excited. I get to tailgate, eat bad food, feel all the gameday excitement that I love, and then, here's the kicker, go
HOME (to Elizabeth's home), put my babies down and have girl talk while Ross goes to the game. If you know me at all, this is the perfect combo. I am sooo in need of some hometown love (e is from savannah) and in need of feeling normal again, even if it means schlepping the gremlins all over Athens. Ross even said MK could wear bulldog attire. As if I weren't going to sneak it on her anyway. Prob won't press my luck with Thomas though.

and yes, DEAR, I know I'm not the best fan in the world but our kids look dang cute in Jawja outfits.
just realized she's holding a knife. lovely. 

--- 6 ---
Ross caught me re-reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and asked me how many times I was going to read it, as well as Moms on Call and The Happiest Baby on the Block. You didn't think you'd escape without a sleep post, did you?? I informed him that I would keep re-reading until I figured out the magic formula. Then I will share all my miracle findings with sweet Frances and there will be at least 2 less crazy mamas on the planet. We are making progress but it's 2 steps forward, one giant jump backward. To my dear friends Ashley, Joan, Ali and all the other sleep deprived women of the world, I truly am praying for you. It ain't easy raising up these future nobel peace prize winners, I tell ya.

--- 7 ---
Thanks to an extra pair of hands from my sister-in-law, I took the kids to see Santa at Phipps. I am not in the "must make this a family tradition every year" camp but I am in the "have an appointment in early November and escape the long lines" camp. Rae Ann sweetly agreed to come with and walked MK around so she wouldn't see the kids in front of us screaming. She did pretty well considering she walked up and said "no santa, no santa." I am still figuring out what "santa" looks like in our family. I don't want my kid to be the odd kid out who doesn't even know who the big bearded man is, but I really do want this to be a spiritual, meaningful season while fun and exciting. We'll figure it out as we go along and I know I'll always love these photos that so capture this season.
perfectly captures life right now

having to hold MK's hand down from pulling at her lip. She licks it instead. Lord help me.

it looks so sweet but I imagine Santa is saying "please don't scream. please don't scream."
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, November 9, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 195)

--- 1 ---
Life these days feels like a see saw. It is up and down with no real predictor of success, other than the number of consecutive sleep hours from the previous night. Yesterday- awful. Awful like crocodile tears, hopelessness, anguish. I questioned whether it might be a touch of post-partum depression. A wonderful trifecta of a listening husband, some solid time in prayer, and a late afternoon call with a friend who did suffer with it and I felt a little more hopeful. I went to bed feeling sad that I was not the mom I want to be but felt just enough resolve to start again fresh today. And today is better. The weather is gorgeous and a friend convinced me to haul those two babes out of the house for lunch on a patio so I could feel the sunshine. Vitamin D all around. I walked around in the sunshine holding my sweet boy while MK ran with her best friend. I kissed that perfect little head and smiled, remembering my high school yearbook quote. "The sun'll come out tomorrow." During some pretty hard days in high school and college, I tried to remember that. It is so, so true. The sun does come out, in every way. It just takes a little faith and good people around me to remind me.

Good friends make the sun come out a little faster!

--- 2 ---
I am learning a lot these days about sacrificial love. Fr. Silloway, an Atlanta priest I knew from our Catholic Center days at UGA, has said that if you are not sacrificing, it probably isn't real love. On days when I lament the hours of "me time" and the ability to just get in the car and go, I remember these words. Yes, there is a lot of sacrifice. My book pile is getting high. The blog gets neglected. Thank you notes go unwritten and hair most certainly goes unwashed. But there is also an indescribable amount of love. The sacrificing part just reminds me that it is authentic and right and just as God intended it.
My kind of sacrificing.

--- 3 ---
People who have small children and dogs and clean houses baffle me. HOW does one do that?? You are never  going to walk in my house with a white glove and leave without some stains on that glove, but even I would prefer a wee bit more order and cleanliness. Mr. "not happy unless physically touching my person" is not helping. Nor is his hatred of most slings/carriers. He knows I'm trying to cheat him of his right to be skin to skin and doesn't stand for it. Thankfully, we had about 35 minutes of success with outward facing action yesterday. I'm pretty sure he's too young to be outward facing (if you even believe babies should look outward. Our friends at Ergo would say no.) but I simply kept a hand on his little head most of the time and we didn't have any major wobbles. Good news: it was just enough time to sweep and throw a load of laundry in. Bad news: laundry is still in the dryer and it yielded enough time to sweep, not to sweep UP the piles. Baby steps people.

--- 4 ---
I am still trying to find the balance of getting out, being around people, seeing the sunshine, and not killing myself in the process. We are working on two extremes lately with either too much time out or too much time in. One physically exhausts me. The other mentally exhausts me. I've got to find a happy medium. If Mary Kate could stop running away from me in parking lots and Thomas could nurse without gagging, choking, thrashing the nursing cover from side to side, outings would be much easier. Also if they could both carry their own diaper bags and buckle themselves into carseats.
--- 5 ---
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Thomas has good nights and bad. I have been counting down the days until the blessed 8 week mark when so many, including Mary Kate, achieved a full night's sleep. Thomas heard me singing his praises all too often and decided to regress. A lot. Moms on Call says they won't starve and let'em cry. La Leche says my kid will be in therapy if he doesn't sleep in my bed and nurse all night. A friend's blog said she got her 6 week old nursing every 4 (?!) hours and sleeping until 5:30 am. I haven't figured out what works for us yet and am reminded that parenting is one big, fat game of trial and error.  I know that much of the bad days (see numero uno) have to do with pure exhaustion. 8 weeks of very little sleep plus the months of bad 3rd trimester sleep equal a cumulative level of exhaustion that people have used in warfare. I just miss sleep. That's all.
--- 6 ---
Last night I went to a work appointment and while I was gone, Ross and Mary Kate apparently played a mean game of hide and seek. Their game was real, unlike my version where I hide in the bathroom to make a call or have 24 seconds of peace. As he told the story of their before bed play time, I got a little sad. The day had been brutal, no doubt. But I was struck by how little I "play" with my girl. I take her places to play. I bring friends over for her to play with. But when we're home, I feed Thomas or change  diapers or try to do a few small chores all while suggesting to her things she could do. Rarely these days have I just played with her. We aren't making sacrifices for me to stay at home just for me to bring out a new puzzle or game for her to play with alone. She is in church nursery twice a week and mops childcare once a week so surely I can sit down 2 days a week, even as the less fun parent, and just play. It'd probably be good for all of us.
--- 7 ---
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, November 5, 2012

If I can get my act together...

It's that time of year again. That time when women everywhere are scrambling for a photo where everyone's eyes are open, smiles don't look forced and heads aren't cut off. If we find one, we may end up with actual Christmas Cards. If you, ahem, didn't get your act together to send out your son's birth announcement, making a Christmas card feels all the more important. Enter my friends at tiny prints. So, for your viewing pleasure, something for everyone.

Winter Boy Birth Announcements Today's Special - Front : Stream
Winter Boy Birth Announcements Dots and Joy - Front : Calypso
For the mom who needs to combine a Christmas card with birth announcement

Studio Basics: Christmas Cards Technicolor Peace - Front : Winterberry
for the family willing to bribe their kids for a cute photo
Flat Holiday Photo Cards Handwritten Love - Front : Bright Red
for the couple focused on the right things this Christmas season
Flat Holiday Photo Cards Soft Wishes - Front : White
when 3 little words send the perfect message
Folded Holiday Photo Cards Bethlehem Town - Front : Almond
for the family wanting to share the Good News

Christmas Cards Happy Christmukkah - Front : Peppermint
for the family celebrating more than one tradition

Go here for special offers from Tiny Prints and get excited about sharing in this sweet holiday tradition.
And for my sister, Natalie, and all the other pinterest fanatics out there,

Back soon with reflections on Thomas's beautiful Baptism!

*post sponsored by Tiny Prints*