Gabbie's Horrible, Awful, No Good Week

Poor Gabbie has had a rough week, for many reasons, including:
  • Croup - She was fine on Saturday evening when she went to bed at eight. Three hours later she had a barking cough and a fever. She spent Sunday through Tuesday resting and recouperating, even though she was not happy about it. On Tuesday she was suffering more from Cabin Fever than the Croup (but she still had to stay  home from school because the last time she was running a fever was less than 24 hours before), so we went out for lunch - Chinese food, her choice. She got vegetable fried rice, and I had the most amazing Pho Ga. (Also, Gabbie ate all my cilantro. Plain. It is so weird to me, a cilantro-tolerater-because-my-family-likes-it kind of person, when she does that.)


  • Then she had a temper tantrum at the grocery store because she wanted to hold the yogurt covered pretzels, and I had the nerve to put them in the cart without thinking that possibly she would rather hold them.
  • Then, I had the nerve to make her take a nap (she finally submitted when I offered to rock her to sleep).
  • Yesterday she threw a fit when, after she asked me what kind of animal we are, I told her that we're humans. She doesn't want to be a human!
  • She has been testing out the whole lying thing lately, and I am amazed at how stupid she obviously thinks I am. I will catch her doing something, (SEE IT WITH MY OWN EYES!) and then she'll deny it. ARGH!
  • The toughest part for me was today, after her preschool Holiday Party, when she had to stay instead of going home with me, and she lost her shit in a spectacular fashion. She had to be peeled off of me by a teacher. It didn't help that I forgot something in the room and couldn't get another teacher's attention so she could hand it to me, so I had to slip in real quick to get it and she saw me again.
There's only one more day left this week, and I'm hoping I can make it a good one for her. Then this weekend, she gets a mommy date, and we're going to bake cookies with the rest of the women in Aaron's family. Gabbie's no good week needs turned around, and I think those two things may just be the way to do it.

Reason 193 That I'm Sure She's My Child

If we let her, she would subsist solely on food that consists of carbs and cheese.

Thanksgiving Weekend Highs and Lows with Gabbie

There was a conversation on Twitter yesterday about three-year-olds, and how the highs are so incredibly high, and the lows are head-explodingly low, and I could not agree more with that sentiment. In my line of work, I couldn't present such a statement without some sort of follow-up evidence, so I present to you: The High Point and Low Point of Our Long Thanksgiving Weekend!

High Point:

Gabbie helped me make pieson Thanksgiving eve/morning. She made a cookie crumb crust almost entirely by herself, by crushing the cookies with her miniature rolling pin, pouring the crumbs in a bowl, mixing in the sugar and melted butter I added, pouring it into the pie pan, and pushing it down on the bottom and sides. All I had to do was the baking part. I can't believe how big and capable she (mostly) is these days!

Then the next morning, she sat at the counter with me and helped peel and slice apples (using an apple peeler/slicer/corer thing - she turned the crank while I did the rest), and kept me company while I did the rest of the pie making. I also taught her how to make pie treats (sprinkle leftover pie crust with cinnamon and sugar and bake), which we shared while the pies were baking. She also was assigned duties as chief spoon/whisk/bowl licker with the spoon/whisk/bowl that resulted from making banana cream pie. (SO GOOD!)

It was lovely and picturesque. She was doing the things I remember doing when I was a kid, and I loved sharing these moments with her. It's moments like that when I just want to scoop her up and put her someplace for safe-keeping, so she never, ever changes how she is right now.

Low Point:

Most of yesterday was not quite so awesome. She was obviously exhausted, but is dropping her nap (I am NOT READY for this), and so was insisting that she wasn't tired and didn't need to nap. There were instances of talking back ("Gabbie, stop it." "No, Mom, you stop it."), being generally unkind to her sister (like holding out one of Sophie's toys just out of reach, saying, "Sophie, you can't play with this," and then snatching it away), and then came the cherry on top of the crap Sunday (haha - I love a good pun!). She was playing with Sophie's walk and ride toy, and I asked her not to ride it onto the wood floor, because she's a little heavy for it and so I was afraid the wheels would leave scrapes on the floor. Not two minutes later, I look over and see her watching me as she slowly and deliberately rode the toy onto the wood floor. (!!!)

At this point, I got a headache due to lack of ability to make my head actually explode, and she was placed in time out for five minutes, because I had absolutely had it. Up to HERE even!

Of course, at the end of her time out, she came over and gave me a big hug and some cuddles and was all sorts of cute and wonderful again.

Three. Man, oh, man is it a ride.

Green Beans, Two Ways

This is, surprisingly, not a recipe post.

The other night I was preparing some green beans for dinner, and the following conversation occurred:

Gabbie: Mom, what are you doing?
Me: Cooking green beans.
Gabbie: How are you cooking them?
Me: I'm steaming them.
Gabbie: Oh....that's not how I do it. I cook green beans different at my pink house.*
Me: Oh, yeah?
Gabbie: Yeah. Here's how me and my baby** make them. First we put down butter. Then we put the green beans on top. Then we sprinkle them with oatmeal. They're really delicious.
Me: Sounds that way.

At his point, she walked out of the kitchen, and I had to wipe a tear of laughter from my eye. She is just so awesome and her imagination is the best. I remember living in a world that existed almost entirely in my imagination when I was little, and I think it's fantastic that she's in that phase right now.

* Gabbie has lots of things at her "pink house," which is the place where she lives in her imagination, apparently. Her friends also have imaginary houses, including a yellow house and a purple house, and sometimes they trade, although the trading hasn't happened in a while. Often, when Gabbie sees something new, after we've explained it to her, she will say, "Oh! I have one at my pink house, too." Alternately, if there's something she doesn't like, it won't be at her pink house, or she'll do it differently at her pink house, hence the cooking of the green beans differently. I love hearing about her pink house.

**Gabbie also has an imaginary baby (sometimes two - yesterday there were two, one who was three like her and one who is 21, whose birthday was yesterday (her baby has a birthday almost every day - often a colored one, as in, "Today is my baby's blue birthday" - which stems from Gabbie's Very Pink 3rd Birthday Party). Her baby often does things differently than we do them, or her baby gets to do things that we don't let Gabbie do, as in, "My baby doesn't have to wash her hands after she goes potty."

Catching Up Tidbits

Sophie is at that awesome stage where she learns a new trick almost every day. Here is a list of things she has started doing in the last three weeks: crawling, pulling up to stand, walking while holding on to our fingers, clapping, signing "more", raising her hands above her head whenever we say, "Sophie's so big!" or, "Touchdown!", giving high fives, putting her hands on her head when we say, "Oh, no!" (or, conversely, putting her hands on her head and waiting for us to notice and say, "Oh, no!")....  The list goes on, but I think I've captured most of them.

She's still not too interested in food, and would rather nurse, unless she's at daycare, then she doesn't want her bottles and would rather eat food. All in all she's a happy, healthy girl, and if every baby were guaranteed to be so awesome, I'd have a dozen more. (I'm not going to have a dozen more.) She turned 10 months old yesterday, which I'm not sure is even possible. How in the heck is this year passing so quickly?

Gabbie is So. Very. Three. It's maddening and yet makes me love her all the much more at the same time. She and Sophie have started playing together, and will get each other squealing with laughter, and it sets my heart aflame with pride and love. These girls are so awesome I can't even stand it.

Gabbie is also thriving in preschool, although I still can't get anything out of her regarding what they did at preschool other than what they have for snack and, sometimes, what was brought in for show and tell that day. A couple of weeks ago she had her first field trip to a local apple orchard and pumpkin patch. I went along, and it was a blast. Of course, most of the kids liked the hay ride and donuts and cider the best, so the rest of the tour of where they make cider was a little difficult to get them through. It was nice getting to know some of the other kids and their parents, and I'm so glad I went.

We also have a halloween party this week in preschool, and she is so excited that it's going to be a long wait until Thursday for her! She's doubly excited because we signed up to make brownies. She's convinced she's never had brownies before (she has), and she can't wait to try them. (We have to designate all foods these days into two categories: she's eaten it before, or she's never eaten it before. She's very often wrong about the assigned category, which cracks me up. I love seeing her little quirks emerge as she gets older.)

Gabbie's first parent-teacher conference is coming up in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait to hear how things are going with her and preschool from the teacher's perspective, and perhaps even find out what they do every day!

Gabbie's favorite thing in the world to do these days is to go to the zoo. Any zoo will do, although she is partial to our local zoo, just because she knows it best (although she does wish that they'd have an elephant or a giraffe). A few weeks back on a beautiful Saturday, we headed over to the Detroit Zoo and had a blast. Then, just yesterday, we went to Boo at the Zoo here in town. It was a gorgeous fall day, and all the little kids were completely adorable in their costumes. And, because we go so often (and we got to skip the line to sign up), we bought an annual membership to the zoo.

I have pictures of everything above, but haven't had time to download them from my new camera, with which I am in deep love. I plan on doing that this week before it gets some major use this coming weekend. Hopefully.

It's nice to know my family has so much faith in me

Today is likely one of the last warm days of the year, so I decided to live it up and wear a skirt. It's all excitement around here all the time, as you can tell! Anyway, I already had the iron out to press Gabbie's dress for picture day today, so I thought I'd wear my favorite khaki skirt that I never wear because it always has to be pressed. The iron was downstairs, so I came down in just my underpants (and a shirt, of course) with my skirt in hand on the way to the ironing board.

Halfway down the stairs Gabbie looked at me and said, all incredulous-like, "Mom! You forgot your pants!"

About five minutes later (I was waiting for the iron to heat up, so I was still pants-less) Aaron walked into the kitchen, and said, "Um, Jess? You know you're not wearing pants, right?"

Now I know that my family thinks I am the type of person that would forget to wear pants.

My Sweet Girls

Due to various circumstances, including a nice bonus from work and our old camera dying, I got my birthday/Christmas present incredibly early this year - a Nikon DSLR! I have been wanting a better camera for a long time now; we've had our previous camera for about 7 years which is forever for a digital camera.

Of course, I had to break it out as soon as I could last night and have some fun with it!

Sophie, at just over 9 months, is not crawling yet, but is not far from being on the move:


I finally managed to get Gabbie to give me a good smile, not a goofy three-year-old funny face. (My secret: telling her to say, "I'm a silly monkey!" It's a hit with the preschool set.)


Between these two and the busiest time of year at work I feel like I barely have time to breathe these days, but I'm glad I have these two around to keep me smiling. They're so busy being adorable most of the time, that I just about melt on a daily basis. 

Overheard in my house this morning

We were running very late this morning, and so we were rushing around trying to get out the door. While I was wrestling with Sophie trying to put on her shoes (she hates her shoes because they thwart her efforts to remove her socks from her feet as quickly as humanly possible - down with socks!), I hear Gabbie in the other room say in a slightly confused tone of voice, "You punched me in the face."

Aaron replied, "You ran your face into my fist. For once, that is actually true."

(Not meaning for once, as if he regularly punches her in the face, but for once, in all the times in the world that excuse is used, it was actually true.)

Then we all laughed. I'm still laughing. My family makes me happy in so many, varied ways.

P.S. She's fine, was not hurt, just a little confused as to why she got punched in the face, ever so lightly.

How I'm getting what I need

Aaron and I grew up in very different types of homes. I mean there are many similarities, including loving families, parents who are still together, close extended families, etc. In many other ways, though, our families are just really, really different, which is funny to me because he and I are alike in so very many ways. Or maybe our differences just complement each other so nicely that we simply fit together well. I don't know.

Anyway, one of the many, many differences happens to be home-keeping styles. Aaron's mom is very, very neat. He often tells the story about how his parents were away for the weekend and he and his brother threw a party. After the party they cleaned the house from top to bottom leaving absolutely zero traces that anything had happened there at all. Their mom walked in the door and asked what the heck had they been up to, because she knew something had happened there while they were away. How did she know? A single candle was an inch out of place. Seriously. Busted for a candle moved an inch. That's a house where everything has its place, for sure!

My mom was recently taking a class where the participants discussed their upbringings and how they have shaped the person/artist they are today. Many of the women were talking about how they made their bed first thing each morning, how this helped them feel ready to start the day, and how their moms had taught them to do this every morning before school. Their houses are neat as pins. My mom shared how her mom's philosophy was that children should play, not work, so they never had to do any chores when they were small children. Still, with eight kids in her family, their house was never messy, but she definitely wasn't the one doing the work. Growing up in my house, it was never dirty, but it has definitely been cluttered. A little messy. Aaron thinks it's chaos, but it feels homey to me. My mom's philosophy is that a clean house is the sign of a misspent life.

So, you can imagine how this all comes to play in our home now. I am okay if things are in a little bit of disarray, while the same state drives Aaron absolutely insane. Again, I clean regularly enough, our house really isn't dirty. It's just a bit messy at times. With two small children who help in the mess making, and who wear me out by bedtime, there are often toys left laying out, a pile of mail left unopened, stacks of things that need to be put away here and there. (And my deepest, darkest secret: sometimes the dishes don't get done until the next day. I'm so ashamed!)

Marriage can be hard sometimes, and I'm convinced that there's not much that's harder on a marriage than babies and small children. You love them with all of your heart, but they suck up all your time, affection, emotion, and soul. There are times when I feel like I'm not getting the kind of attention and affection I want from my husband, and it's hard. It sucks! I know my reality is that my kids are at a stage where their needs are more important than mine in most instances (they can't do much for themselves, and are completely dependent, so it just makes sense), but that doesn't make me feel my needs any less acutely.

After some navel gazing during my trip to Minnesota a few weeks ago (I had time to think! It's rare these days!),  I realized that maybe I'm not getting what I need because he's not getting what he needs. Light bulb! Also, duh! I realized that maybe I should get up off my butt every once in a while, set down my phone, and stop wasting all my time (I will still waste a little of it, because everyone needs a little down time), and do some things around the house that will make him feel more at ease. He has a hard time relaxing when there's chaos all around, so it makes sense that he's tense and frustrated sometimes.

So, I'm working harder these days at being more present, thinking about what he may need, and doing what I can to make our life easier. He's a great partner, and no slouch in the housekeeping arena either. He does his part, but now I'm making sure to do more of mine. It's still early, but I think I see it working already. I'm getting what I need by making it about him sometimes too.

Alligator Juice

A couple of weeks ago, my sister was in the state and Gabbie and I went to pick her up from a bachelorette party she had attended. The girls were all just waking up when we got there, so we got a chance to sit around and chat for a little while. Most of the girls have known Gabbie since she was a baby, so they were excited to see her and spoiled her rotten, sending her home with a bagel, a pink feather boa, and a bottle of yellow Gatorade all for herself.

Gabbie slowly drank that bottle of Gatorade, making it last for the entire day. She thought it was the coolest thing ever (the child can be entertained for hours by a bottled water, so you can imagine the excitement that comes when you add color, sugar, and a little flavor to that water). Between cooking dinner, talking with my parents and sister, and being a ball of nervous energy about my upcoming work trip, I wasn't paying too much attention to what Gabbie and my mom were discussing, but my mom filled me in the next day.

Gabbie told my mom all about how we saw the girls and they gave her a "Fancy Nancy" (the pink feather boa) and some alligator juice. My mom was a little confused, but went along with it. Then Gabbie asked my mom to get it for her from the refrigerator. My mom opened the fridge, and it didn't immediately dawn on her what Gabbie meant, so she lifted her up so she could get it herself. She grabbed the Gatorade, and my mom had a good chuckle.

Thinking about it, Gatorade/alligator juice makes total sense. I really don't know where she comes up with these things, but I hope she continues on with it for a long time. She's just so adorable in so many ways that I can hardly stand it!

Five Things

1. The current mosquito situation in Michigan is HORRIBLE. They are everywhere. They follow you in from the outside and bite you while you're sitting on the couch. We keep waking up with new bites, including the nickel-sized bite on the bottom of my foot I woke up with yesterday. This may be the worst location for a bug bite, ever! They have been so bad they've kept us inside, away from the gorgeous weather we've been having lately, and I am sick of it. There was enough of a breeze last night that we could actually spend some time outside without getting about 15 bites apiece in 10 minutes, and it was lovely. I hope those little suckers die off soon!

Poor Gabbie got a bite on her face in the car the other day while we were driving downtown (they follow us everywhere!), and now it looks like her eye is a little swollen. Poor baby! See that pink spot on her cheek? That's all a bite. There's one on her nose, too.



(Also, she really liked that pizza!)

2. I went to Minneapolis for work last week, and, surprisingly, the world did not end. I was completely stressed out and worried about the actual travel (I'm not a huge fan of flying, to say the very least), and about leaving Sophie, who was (and still is) in the midst of teething. (Last time I travelled she was in the middle of a growth spurt. I am not looking forward to whatever she has planned for when I travel in October.) I have to give mad props, though, to my wonderful husband. All I had to do (and really I didn't have to do this, but it was nice of me to do), was stock up the fridge with essentials, and he was good to go. My mom was telling me about how she used to have to cook, leave a schedule, do all the laundry, and get basically everything prepared for every day she was gone in order to leave to go anywhere. And my dad was pretty with it as far as dads go. Aaron, hands down, is the best dad I know. He helps me with all the girls' stuff every day, and so it wasn't too far of a stretch to remove me from the situation for a couple days.

So what if the girls didn't get baths at all while I was gone. They may have been a little stinky, but that didn't make me any less excited to see them when I got home.

3. Sophie is getting huge. Seriously. When Gabbie was a baby she didn't wear a size until she was whatever age was on the label, and sometimes even those things were a little big (although, length-wise, my poor girl is forever in flood pants just so her pants fit around her waist (she still can fit comfortably into size 24 months shorts)). Sophie, however, is already comfortably in nine month size clothing and she doesn't turn 8 months until tomorrow. She even has two teeth now, and sits up all by herself! We went out for dinner the other night (me being gone kind of ruined the whole "no eating out in August" thing a little, because we were all still so worn out from the busy week), and she sat in a high chair all by herself:


She thought she was big stuff, for sure! The blur (because she never, ever stops moving. Seriously never.) was a coaster that she nabbed as soon as I sat her down (she's fast and has amazing aim), so I inserted the pacifier to keep the coaster out of her mouth. She dropped it a couple of times and screamed at the top of her lungs until I crawled under the table to retrieve it and handed it back to her. She is not quite the well-behaved-angel-in-public that her big sister has always been. I just can't believe how big she's getting these days and how fast it's happening. I swear she was just a newborn.

4. One cool/scary thing I saw in Minneapolis was a sink hole. It opened up sometime in the hour between when we got to an event and when we left the event. It was right in the middle of a (thankfully quiet) intersection, and was probably about 8 feet across. There were a few guys right up next to it taking pictures, but I was not quite that brave. (Aaron gave me crap, because he would have loved to see pictures.) I mean, seriously. There was a large hole in the earth that wasn't there minutes prior. Does it make any sense at all to go stand at the edge? Ever since I saw pictures of this massive sinkhole in Guatamala that looks like crazy CGI, but isn't, I've been wary of sinkholes. Nice, normal fear, right?

5. Last night at dinner we were coming up with topics to discuss with Gabbie to keep her from singing (no singing at the table, especially when we're in public, is a new dinnertime rule). Aaron asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. After a few, thoughtful seconds of reflection, she announced, "A mom. With noobs." (Apparently that's Gabbie's shorthand for "nursing b00bs.") I about choked I was laughing so hard. Hilarious, and adorable. And I'm glad she thinks so much of me that her life goal is to be just like me.

New Category: Nerd Power!

It may not be any sort of secret, but just in case you haven't noticed, I am a giant (and proud of it) nerd. I come from a long line of nerds, and we love to do very nerdy things. (I am, however, out-nerded by my brother, although he says he has seen the fringe of nerd-dom and he is nowhere near that nerdy) (apparently nuclear physicists have a propensity to be very nerdy).

Anyway, one thing I nerd out about is Harry Potter. So much so that Gabbie is in love with Harry Potter and can identify anything having to do with Harry Potter from a glance or a few notes of the movie theme music alone. She's allowed to watch the first two Harry Potter movies and loves them with all her heart (although she does hide her eyes when the giant, three headed dog comes on the screen in the first movie).

All this to preface what may be the most exciting thing that has happened to me in months (!!!):

In the off-chance you might be a little bored...


Today I have found myself stuck in a Reddit-caused internet wormhole, which started from the following posted question:
"What are the best random facts you know, Reddit?"
I'm not very far down the list, but this exchange, so far, is my favorite (and completely made me LOL):
"[–]joonyung 127 points128 points129 points 5 hours ago
'stewardesses' is the longest word that is entirely typed with your left hand on the keyboard.

[–]sleepyworm 380 points381 points382 points 3 hours ago

That's only because nobody believes me when I tell them that breasttastetester is a word."
I love this kind of stuff (and people are funny)!

My favorite random fact from recent history includes this awesomeness/Scrabble tip: The last word in the OED is "zxyt."

Once I start down this random fact road, I always want more. So, hit me up. What is your favorite random fact?

August Challenge

I love my kids more than anything else, ever, but hot damn, kids are expensive. Sophie started day care in March and since then it's like we've had our fingers in our ears, singing, "La, la, la!" refusing to acknowledge that maybe, possibly we should stop spending like we still have that extra money to play around with. We haven't put any money into savings since January, and we're carrying a (relatively small, but still) credit card balance, which is something we haven't done in a while.

Yesterday Aaron and I were talking about this and decided that something really needs to change. One of the things that has helped us get a little out of control with our spending is our propensity to eat out way too much, including nearly every day for lunch. Not to mention, it's not exactly helping our waistline or health either.

So, this month we've challenged ourselves to not eat out at all. No money spent on eating out. (I do have a lunch meeting this week, but work is paying for that, so I'm not counting it.) I know we can do it, it's just going to take a little extra time and effort, but we need to stop being so lazy anyway. I'm betting that by the end of the month I'm going to feel a lot better anyway, and bringing lunch with me will be more of a habit.

So, here's to four and a half weeks of home-cooked goodness!

Daydreaming

Whenever I have something I want to avoid doing, I come up with some Big Project I would like to do. Now, I'm not quite sure what I'm avoiding right now, but I have several Big Projects on which I'm ruminating.

One is a redo of our downstairs half bath.

We already have a white medicine cabinet to hang up in there, so I thought this vanity would go nicely:

Along with this faucet (except for less money if I can find something similar):

I really like the squared-off look of this one. It makes it a little different than the others, and I prefer straight lines whenever possible. Although, if I'm going be honest, I really, really want this faucet, but can also think of better ways to spend over $900 (!).
Also, does anyone really still buy faucets like this one?

I mean, if you purposely went out and bought this faucet, I'm sure it's beautiful and you obviously have wonderful taste. It's just not for me. It looks dated and reminds me of my grandma's house. Also I have these on every bathroom sink in my house right now, so, you know, I'm in no place to judge.

(Side note - I'm at least going to make Aaron go out and buy and replace the half bath faucet this week. His parents are coming in just over a week and they've never been to our house before and my nesting is worse now than it ever was when I was pregnant.)

Of course, if I'm going to replace everything else in the bathroom, I will also have to paint. So far we have painted one room on our main floor and I'm trying to make the colors flow nicely from one room to the next, so - the family room is this color:

 I kind of like yellow and blue or grey together, so this color might work well:


Although, if I'm honest, I also like this color, with a white bead board on the bottom half of the wall:


However, like hell is Aaron ever going to let me paint any walls any color even resembling pink. He also doesn't understand my love of florals and botanicals. I say they remind me of my grandmother (who had excellent taste), and he says EXACTLY.

Anyway, that's probably enough daydreaming for right now. I just have one more thing to share. So, let's say your husband came home with a new video game last night, and felt guilty about spending the money on it, and so he said you were also free to go out and buy something of your choosing, whatever you want. How sad would it be if the thing you wanted was a new mopping system? Yeah. I thought so.

Even a mom to two can act like a noob sometimes

As always, Sophie decided to be OMG-SO-HUNGRY-FEED-ME-NOW right when I sat down to eat dinner last night. It's awesome and happens about 99% of the time. So, I took her over to the rocker to nurse her and as I layed her down, I noticed something strange. She had a weird raised bump on her neck right behind her ear that hadn't been there earlier.

Since she will not hold still for even a split second, I had a hard time looking at it, but started to get worried. I called Aaron over to take a look, and he was a little worried too. Neither one of us wanted to touch it; it kind of looked painful and we didn't want to mess with it too much. My usual response to any suspicious looking red marks is to undress my kids to see if they have any more spots. Since it was almost bath time anyway, I decided to take her upstairs and examine it in the brighter bathroom light where I could distract her with bath toys.

So we go up and get her undressed - there were no other red marks I could find - and put her in the bath. That mark was still bothering me though, so I decided to touch it with my now-wet hands.

And it came off.

I'm a dork.

Then I recalled the raspberry flavored yogurt covered pretzels that Gabbie had been eating earlier, right before she decided to hug and kiss her sister. And apparently plot to nearly give her parents heart attacks.

Our Girls' First Camping Trip

This weekend we continued our string of great-camping-trips-cancelled-prematurely-due-to-the-sky-opening-up-and-flooding-us-out. Meaning, we were having a good time and then it rained about an inch and a half in fifteen minutes. So we packed up a night early and headed to my parents' house (halfway between the campsite and home) arriving at 11:00 at night. (As an aside, I haven't been in bed before 11:00 pm in over a week, and oh my goodness am I EXHAUSTED).

But, before the deluge we had a fabulous time. On Saturday morning at 5:30 the girls got to experience one "fun" facet of sleeping outside: birds. It started with crows that I swear were sitting on top of our tent, and then proceeded to all sorts of different birds calling out and singing and generally celebrating day-break. It was loud and sudden, and even though the noise died down after only about ten minutes, we were up for good. Gabbie's eyes got great big, and I could just see her brain going behind them. I know that she might not remember this camping trip when she's older, but it was so much fun to get to watch her experience all these things for the first time. (Including s'mores - she thought they were okay, but in true Gabbie fashion, eschewed the s'more as a package deal, and was perfectly happy dining on marshmallows and chocolate bars. Also, a sugar detox is happening for the child this week, because we totally sugared her up all weekend.)

We were in the absolute minority at the campground in that we camped in a tent and cooked all of our food over the campfire. Aaron and I are both of the mindset that staying in a camper or RV that is equipped with a full kitchen or at least a grill, a tv, a bed, and air conditioning is not "camping." It is simply moving your comfortable living situation to a more nature-filled place. So, we went with our tent, a few sleeping mats and sleeping bags (and a pack and play for Sophie so she had a safe place to sleep), and a grill grate to put atop the campfire pit. It was awesome fun. We didn't do pretty much anything we had planned to do (another trend in our vacations), but we still had a great time. We took a couple of walks, watched the sun set over the bay, sat in chairs around the campsite and read books while holding napping babies, and ate our fair share of junk food (candy, chips, s'mores, etc. - also a camping tradition).

Unfortunately, we have the girls completely off schedule, and they both seem to think that 10:00 pm is a perfectly acceptable bedtime, so this week will be spent getting them back to sleeping at a more reasonable hour. However, the camping trip was so much fun I kind of want to head out again this weekend. We won't, but it will be happening again sometime soon.

Here are a couple pictures of the girls in the (orange, so that's the cause of the pictures' tint) tent.


Early morning portrait of a girl who just spent her first night in a tent and loved it.  


Ditto.

Silly Girls

I am a big fan of encouraging silliness at all (appropriate) times with my kiddos. Which is good, because they're all for silliness, intentional or not, as well. For example:

Intentional silliness. What you can't see (at least not well) here is that she's wearing a chef's hat, an apron, and no pants. And she was dancing and making up a song, while serving me imaginary cupcakes. It was awesome.

Unintentional silliness. Sophie's teachers put her "Crabby Pants" outfit on backwards. I couldn't stop laughing at this, especially because this takes some effort due to the fact that there are snaps all the way up the supposed-to-be-front, so she had to be flipped over and snapped, and she doesn't stay still when she's on her belly, not even a little bit.


First thing in the morning silliness. My mom started a tradition with us when we were kids that I'm carrying on with my kids, which is that first thing we do in the morning is pile into mom and dad's bed and talk about the coming day. The girls usually get each other giggling during this time and love to give each other hugs. It's more than fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic, we took Sophie to see an orthopedist yesterday to check on her hips; a precaution due to Gabbie's problems with hip dysplasia which can be genetic. She had a checkup for them at six weeks, which showed she was fine, but the doctor wanted to see her again at six months just to make sure. She had some x-rays done and after the doctor checked these out, she proclaimed them perfect, and so we never have to see the orthopedist again (unless we have more kids, then they need to be checked out too)! It feels so great to be able to be done with all this mess. After the appointment I told Aaron that I felt like I finally let go of a breath I didn't know I was holding. We're done worrying about hips, probably for always, and I am over the moon about that.

This is why I have a category called "Random Randomness"

I'm pretty sure I just burned my butt when I got into my car, simply by sitting down on the seat. It has been (as with pretty  much everywhere else) ridiculously hot lately, and I am looking forward to the cool-down promised for tomorrow. Highs in the mid-70s? Yes, please! That sounds like perfection.

I have been sick for about a week now, and my biggest issue right now is that it feels like my ears need to pop and I can't get them to do it. Thankfully I feel approximately 95% better than I did just a few days ago. Stupid allergies plus a sinus infection. Summer colds are the worst!

I hesitate posting this next part, because I'm not completely, 100% sold on the idea that it's purposeful, but Sophie has been saying "mama" for a while now, and on Sunday, when the girls and I got home from visiting my parents over the weekend, she looked at Aaron and said "dada." Several times, in fact, and she has been saying both regularly ever since, and sometimes it really seems like she's using it correctly. If she is, in fact, using the sounds as words, she has Gabbie beat on a first word by about six months. Craziness.


Sophie has never been quite as good at keeping herself entertained as Gabbie was, so we have had to be creative in ways to keep her occupied so we can get something (anything) done around the house. One surefire thing that buys us a good ten minutes? Ice cubes. We put them in either the mesh feeder or a sippy cup. One day last week I needed about twenty minutes to get dinner together, so I gave her two ice cubes, one in the mesh feeder (which she will then eat) and one in the sippy cup (which she can't quite figure out, so she shakes it to make noise and then pours out the water as it melts, and then splashes in the water (I taught her how to splash and so now if she sees liquid, it's splash city!)), and you would have thought I gave her a diamond-encrusted puppy for how excited she was. So, of course, I had to take a picture (see the cuteness above).

Over the long weekend two weekens ago now, we decided to go out to dinner one night. While waiting for our food to arrive, we were looking for ways to keep Sophie entertained (this is what takes up the majority of my time and energy when I'm not at work lately; I'm totally blaming her for the fact that it has been nearly a month since my last blog post. I'm brain-dead because of my adorable (time consuming) baby!), and Aaron thought he would try to see what she could do with a straw. So he put his water near her, and she grasped the straw, put it in her mouth, and started drinking his water. She's a straw savant!

While she will drink pretty much anything, this girl will not eat food (hey! There's a thing she has in common with her sister (grumble, grumble)). We've tried rice cereal (she will eat it for the daycare ladies, but not me), sweet potatoes (gag city) and pears (four bites then gag city), and she's not much of a fan of any of them. I'm going to keep on keeping on, though. Tonight? Bananas! (I'm guessing it will be Banana Gag City!) She remains a huge fan of nursing and would nurse 24-7 if I let her (I don't let her (don't worry, I'm not starving her, but I'm also not letting her use me as a human pacifier)).

Despite the fact that neither of my daughters will give me the satisfaction of eating one damn bite of real food (okay, Gabbie will take "a couple more bites", but that's it), both have been doing some major growing lately. One weekend a few weeks ago, Gabbie's shoes fit on Friday, but not on Monday. Needless to say, Gabbie has new shoes. We went for her 3-year appointment the following week and she had grown an inch and a pound in a little less than a month. Craziness. She's been complaining of growing pains lately, and I swear she wakes up noticibly taller than she goes to sleep some days. Sophie's 6 months size clothes are starting to get tight - Gabbie never got into a size until she was at least that age, and Sophie is growing out of things at approximately the age listed on the label. Despite all of Gabbie's growing, it has, as usual, gone to getting taller, not wider, and she can still comfortably wear size 24 month shorts (and does - I'm not spending money if I don't need to). I'm not looking forward to winter, when I have to make sure her pants are long enough, and will probably be shoping for tiny, pink belts.

Speaking of my girls getting bigger, we are almost completely done getting Sophie's room together. We just have to remove the blue tape from the trim and arrange the furniture, and she'll be sleeping in her own room. We painted the walls a pale green ("Celery"), and painted the trim a cream color (creatively titled, "Creamy" (Aaron says he hopes I like the trim in the rest of the house, because never again! (I say I hope he forgets soon because he is SO painting the trim in the family room))). I'm hoping to get some Beatrix Potter wall stickers or posters for decorations and then her room will be complete (and I'll post pictures!).

He also painted the family room over the past weekend. We chose "Afternoon," which is gorgeous in person, but looks really bright in pictures. I will try to take some good pictures soon, when we have everything more assembled. Aaron had been complaining that because we still had the same furniture and hadn't really done any decorating, he still felt like we were living in an apartment. Decorate away, I told him, and he is. We've actually let Gabbie pick out every paint color we've used so far, except the color we used in our bedroom, and she has done a great job! (We have not, and need to repaint the bedroom, because it's not great.)

Lessons from my Weekend

We had one heck of a busy and wonderful weekend; I'm still kind of recovering from all the (good) craziness. I also learned several things this weekend that I thought I should share:

1. Jamie Oliver's basic pizza recipe is fan-damn-tastic. Especially if you bake it on a pizza stone. It's the best pizza I've ever made at home and much better than any of the delivery places we have in town. Now I just have to find an equally delicious deep-dish recipe and I'll be all set.

2. It is not wise to take two kids, one of whom is (mostly) non-mobile, by yourself to go strawberry picking. For several reasons, the least of which is that you may still be sore in the thighs and rear three days later because of the child juggling and bending down and the awkwardness of it all.

3. Telling Gabbie something is dirty is the quickest way to get her to leave it alone. All the other children at the strawberry patch came out very berry-stained around the mouth and hands. Gabbie however? Only ate one berry because I told her it was okay. She's a good kid, that one.


4. Also related to strawberry picking - don't pick more than you can process the same day. I was very sad to have to throw out more than a pound of what we had picked.

5. If you set my youngest child on the floor these days, it is not unlike you have placed a child on a hill - she rolls and rolls and picks up speed. Then she gets stuck under the couch or the entertainment center and yells. It's adorable but also makes me even more busy than I was before!


6. If, in one single weekend, you: make pizza, pick strawberries, go to a jazz fest, run a million little errands, go to the zoo, cook three meals a day, parent your children, make and can strawberry jam, make a strawberry lemonade icebox pie, and read an entire book? You may end up crying from exhaustion at around 7 pm on a Sunday night.

There were some other lessons I had in mind, but then I got busy and forgot them. Also? I'm still exhausted.

All Kinds of Updates

Life marches on, busy as always. I feel, and I know Aaron agrees, that we barely have time to remember to breathe these days. It's crazy, but crazy good too.


Sophie will be 6 months old next week! Don't ask me how that happened, because I don't have any idea either. She is a rolling fool these days, and basically doesn't stop moving, ever. Since she started rolling over we stopped swaddling her at night. I was scared of this day (mostly because it was not an easy process when we did it with her big sister), but it didn't phase her one bit. She just rolled on to her side and fell asleep. Maybe it's because she's older than Gabbie was when we attempted it, but maybe more because she's just (and I realize I'm blessed and possibly jinxing myself here) an easy baby. A happy, easy baby that is so cute I could just die.

We tried rice cereal with Sophie this past weekend, and, well, it wasn't a hit (yet another way in which she's different from her big sister). We expected her to love it because she watches everyone else eat so intently, but instead she gagged a little and pushed it back out of her mouth. She's just not ready yet, and that's fine with me. It's easier to just nurse anyway. We'll try again in a week or two.

Also, and I may be crazy here, but I swear she has started to say "mama." It doesn't happen all the time, but when I don't pick her up as fast as she'd like, she says, "ma ma ma ma ma MA MA MA." Gabbie didn't make consonant sounds until she was much older (I remember being very worried about this; now she never, ever, ever shuts up, so I didn't need to be so worried), but Sophie is all about them. That and blowing raspberries. It's so super adorable.

Gabbie wants nothing more in life than to be big. (She is so like me it is not even funny.) Not too long ago we were playing around after bath, but before bed, and I asked her if she wanted me to make her hair curly for school tomorrow. She jumped right on that idea, and so we braided her hair. The next day at school she preened every time anyone mentioned her hair (which was often). It was adorable and also made me very aware of how aware she is of her looks already. Raising girls is hard, yo!

The other day we were driving home just as the church in our neighborhood was letting out from their Saturday evening service. Some guy looked like he wasn't going to stop at the stop sign (and therefore looked like he was going to hit us), and Aaron called him a douche bag. From the back seat we hear, "douche bag?" Lesson learned yet again - we need to watch our mouths around this one. She doesn't miss a beat.

Gabbie is very, very three, and I agree with everyone that three is so much harder to take than two. However, she's still very smart and funny, and just a really great kid. However, again, she's having issues pop up, especially at school, that are a little trying. Her morning teacher seems to relish telling me about how Gabbie misbehaved the day before, and I think that this needs to stop. We don't need to talk about Gabbie being bad right in front of her. She needs to hear how great she is, too. I need to figure out how to make her teacher knock it off; it hurts even me to hear the "misbehaving report" every day, when I know that it's just a small part of her day.

On Sunday, Aaron totally made Gabbie's day by taking her fishing, then to the big kids park, and then out for "coffee" (steamed milk with flavored syrup for Gabbs). She even caught a fish! It's so nice seeing the two of them have their own relationship. I absolutely love it, and seeing Aaron be such a good dad makes me fall even more in love with him every time.

When I was growing up I knew I wanted to be a mom. Before I became a mom, I know I'd love it. I just didn't know how happy getting exactly what I wanted would make me. I'm happier than I ever thought possible; this family of mine is pretty awesome.

Yelling was a definite theme of the evening

Yesterday nearly killed me, for so many, various reasons that its ridiculous. So, let's start the list here: after an intense day I was at work almost two hours past my normal quitting time. When we got home, Aaron and I had a huge fight which resulted in me yelling so hard that I hurt my back (not my proudest moment, that's for sure). We had both had rough days, and are still in that post-partum, sensitive, everything is tense, constantly talking to each other in capital letters phase. I know it passes, and I'm trying to be kind, but some days it's just hard.

After I was done yelling, Gabbie started yelling. She wanted a cookie. She didn't want her dinner. She did want her dinner because she had to eat it to get a cookie, but she didn't want to eat her dinner. After letting her yell at her dinner for approximately half an hour, we took it away from her. We were done. Dinner time is hard, and the day had been long, and we were just done. So, of course she started screaming and jumping up and down and screaming some more and falling dramatically to the ground, tears streaming down her face. So I picked her up, made her go potty, and then put her in bed (early at about 7:15). We cuddled for a while because we both needed it, and then she fell asleep.

Shortly after, I went and got Sophie ready for bed, and she fell asleep nursing. I put her in bed and went to accomplish some things from my to do list. Finally getting those things done, I played a couple of games online and then laid down to fall asleep at about ten. At about 10:05, Sophie woke up SCREAMING like someone was torturing her. Long story short, she screamed for two hours straight. I finally got her calmed down, but only if I was holding her in a very specific position which required me to be sitting up straight in a chair. I finally nodded off at about 1:30, and she woke me up so she could eat at 4:30, and then was wiggly until 6:30 when she wanted to eat again.

To recap: everyone screamed and then I got three hours of sleep sitting up.

I'm not my best self today, that's for sure. Sophie has never screamed like that before (we are very lucky in the calm/sleeping department with her and I've never written about it because I don't want that to change, so that's all I'll say here), so we made the executive decision in the middle of the night that she'd be headed to the doctor's office today to get checked out. We got in at 8:30 (I called on the way to daycare to get what I expected to be an afternoon appointment, so I didn't have any diapers with me, so of course she filled her pants on the way there - my life is filled with awesomeness), and the verdict: she's gassy. See? Lots and lots of awesomeness.

Now, to follow all that whining, I need to express some good things. I'll go with five things that really are not sarcastically awesome right now.

1. Summer is finally here!
2. I went shopping this past weekend and bought a bunch of clothes that I love, so I have a new summer wardrobe.
3. We are taking a family walk the second we're all home tonight, and I can't wait to go out and enjoy this gloriously beautiful day.
4. My sister is coming for a visit again this weekend!
5. We're all going to my great grandmother's 97th birthday party on Saturday. How amazing is that?

(So, it's amazing what listing out those good things does for my mood. To pass on that good feeling: what's good with you these days?)

Now She is Three

Three years ago today there was suddenly a pointy-headed screaming pink newborn in my life. I mean, I knew she was in there all along, but there's a disconnect between the squirming creature in your belly and this perfect (to you at least) baby in your arms. The whole process of her joining us out here was completely shocking to me; even so, it was one of the best things I've ever done, creating this perfect beautiful human.


Sure, those early days were not the easiest, but three years later my memories are mostly of the fond, rosy variety.


A year later she was a mobile, smiley, adorable not-so-much-baby. It really is amazing and not quite fair how quick they go from squirming pink blobs to little people.

Fast forward yet another year, and there was a talking, running toddler in my house.



Today. Today there is a three year old in my house. Three is so vastly different from two, which was vastly different from one, and so on, yet, she's still my same girl, one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen in real life, the person who daily makes me glad I decided to become her mom.


Happy Third Birthday to my sweet little Bitty (even if you aren't so little any more)!

I'm freaking out a little

Today is my baby's last day of being two years old! How did this happen?

Also, my actual baby is now mobile. I put her down on her blanket last night, left the room to use the restroom, and came back to find her halfway across the room, pushing against a chair and yelling because she couldn't go any further (she scoots backwards by pushing her feet and aiming with her head).

These two are growing up much faster than the rate with which I am comfortable.


Nice 'Stache

We had a very 'stache-tastic birthday party for Aaron this weekend, and some more photos and details are coming soon, but I couldn't resist posting these really quick while I had almost one second:


Yeah. We had fun.

Party Time

I posted a really whiny post here yesterday that was eaten by Blogger being down, but I'm not going to repost it. I got out what I needed to vent, and it was pretty boring anyway.

In the meantime, we're in full-on party throwing mode in our house and Aaron even took the day off to get the house ready and supplies purchased so we can get down to business and get this party thrown.

Our only complaint? Our anticipated sunny, clear day is going to now be cold and rainy. We had planned on yard games and wearing all the kids out by letting them run around the yard. Instead we had to come up with alternate, indoor activities. So, I ran to the craft store today and picked up a big roll of paper and a few hand puppets. We're going to tape the paper to the wall and let the kids go at it with crayons. (We're about to paint the living room soon, so if they get a little on the wall we don't care too, too much.)

Here's hoping the party is successful, even if it's not going off according to original plan!

How to have an interesting (as in "interesting") month

- Have two people in your family (Aaron and Gabbie) with two May birthdays
- Throw Mother's Day in there
- Have one child totally outgrow a bunch of her clothes right before the weather changes over (thank goodness for capris and sweaters)
- Have another child decide to finally roll over (!) during the one month in which you really didn't want to have to deal with the whole de-swadding training process (I'll take it though. She's rolling over!)
- Have 5 reports due for work, plus a million and five meetings, and throw in a huge grant proposal for good measure; don't forget to work in time for everyone and their brother to review and give feedback, meaning that you have to be done approximately a week ago (but you haven't even started)
- Get news that your proposal for a presentation to a national conference was accepted. Mull over the fact that you're going to have to travel without your precious baby!
- Decide to throw two huge birthday bashes for the birthday boy and girl
- Hear from  your recently-moved-across-the-country sister that she's coming for a visit
- Still have to, on top of all of the above, function like a responsible adult and take care of your family too
- Find out that it's supposed to rain on the day of the first big birthday bash
- Also find out that the 80 degree temperatures are going away soon, to be replaced with highs in the 50s (oh, and it snowed just a couple weeks back)

I think I'm losing my mind, is what I'm saying.

My Kid is Awesome

Backstory: We went to a birthday party for a 2-year-old friend of Gabbie's on Saturday. She received a bag of party favors which included some Dora temporary tatoos.

On Saturday night, Gabbie was playing with her favor bag and took out that tattoos. I was playing around on the computer (Ticket to Ride FTW!) and so wasn't really paying attention. She walked up to Aaron and requested something quietly, to which he responded, "I'm sorry, what?" She repeated her request, at which time I was summoned to join in on the conversation.

"Repeat for your mom what you just said to me."

Sheepishly, Gabbie replied, "Will you put these on my butt?"

And then I fell over and died of laughter.

We couldn't quite get out of her what made her ask for tattoos to be applied to her butt, but we quickly squashed the idea because:

1) Ladies don't put tattoos on their butts (at least 2-year-old ladies don't) (We had been having conversations all day about how ladies don't lift their dresses up in public and sit so their underwear isn't showing, so it seemed like a good way to frame the conversation.

and

2) If we put it on her butt, she wouldn't be able to see it.

Point number 2 won her over, and a tattoo was applied to her hand, where she could admire it the rest of the evening.

So, in summary: my kid is awesome and hilarious.

Getting It Together, All Over Again

So. I got a new haircut on Friday (I still need to take a picture - I got about 7 inches taken off!), and I thought, "Hey! Bloggable Moment!" so I took a before picture in the stylist's chair. This picture will never, ever, ever see the light of day. Ever. Because even though I am at my pre-Sophie pregnancy weight, I still have a new mom shape around my mid-section. In fact, it looked like I was smuggling two of those floaty rings around my middle under my shirt (plus some inflatable somethings in my bra - these nursing boobs are humongous!).

Anyway, that was a definite turning point. I mean, I've been meaning to exercise and eat better, but you know, it's so much easier to not do those things, especially with a full time job and two little kids at home. Easier isn't cutting it any more. I have got to do something because I will be much happier with myself afterwards. I really want to be in a better shape, and with those two kiddos at home it's a hard thing to commit to working out and eating good for me food. In addition to the inspiration from that bad picture, one of the contestants on the Biggest Loser said something a while back that I've been trying to remember in all aspects of my life (and this is a paraphrase because I can't remember the exact words): "You can do whatever you want. You just have to do it."

Wise, wise words. I want to lose weight and get rid of the deflated baby belly, but it's not going anywhere unless I actively do something about it. So, I have some simple steps I'm using to get started. Here are my goals for this week:

1. Eat (at least) five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
2. Don't eat anything I would be embarrased about eating (i.e. no more fast food, candy bars, soda).
3. If where I'm going is within reasonable walkable distance, walk there!
4. If it's not raining, turn off the tv and take the kids outside.

I'm hoping these simple steps will help get me moving in the right direction. I have a feeling that no matter what, I'll feel a lot better about myself by incorporating these things into my life. Next up: actual work outs. I'm all about easing into this to make it more sustainable, rather than going all gung-ho and then wearing myself out.

Counting My Blessings

Recently a co-worker and I were talking about balance and family. We both decided that we were more work-to-live as opposed to live-to-work type people, meaning work for us is secondary in importance to the rest of our lives. As much as I love my job, my family far outweighs my job in importance and enjoyment.

Later on the day of this conversation, Aaron and I were chatting after the girls had gone to sleep. Even though each of us occasionally gets a case of the “wants,” I realized not long ago that I have everything I ever wanted. And even though I’ve been feeling pretty miserable for the past few months, I also have never been happier, so it’s a weird dichotomy. Talking about our many blessings (as well as recent warmth and sunny days) has really helped my mood.

Every night when I say my prayers, I recount the things I am thankful for:

A beautiful, healthy family.

More than adequate shelter.

More than adequate food.

Good, stable jobs.

Lots and lots of love.

Seriously, what more could I ask for?

(Unrelated adorable baby picture: guess who has found her feet?

)

The best things about Spring...

The trees are all fuzzy and tinted with the green or pink that means leaves will be appearing soon.

Tulips. I absolutely love tulips.

Baseball.

Not having to wear a coat.

Sometimes taking a chance and wearing open toed shoes (which means no socks, which is great because I hate wearing socks).

Pedicure season starts again.

No mosquitos yet, so we can use our back yard.

Grilling season starts (once we buy our grill this weekend!!!).

Not having to bundle the girls up so much - and seeing how much Gabbie loves not wearing a coat. And a hat. And gloves. And a scarf. And boots. Man, winter is heavy to wear.

Yard work.

Rain (mostly because it's not snow).

Opening the windows and getting rid of the air that felt so heavy and stale all winter long.

And finally, some of the fog is lifting. The fog that was especially bad this year because of post-partum hormones. The fog that made me incapable of doing anything but the bare minimum that was required of me so that my world would keep running and my kids were fed and clothed and cared for. This wasn't the worst it's ever been, but the worst since I've been responsible for two small humans, which made me feel a million times worse about it. But, it's clearing. Slowly, but surely, I'm feeling more like myself. And that's the very best thing about spring.

I need a vacation

And this is why...

I took the girls up north this past weekend, all by myself, which meant I had to be "on" 24-7. At least with Aaron around I can farm one of the kids off on him, or even leave both with him so I can get something done. However, even with my parents around to help out, I still had two girls basically sitting on me all weekend.

On Monday, Aaron had some sort of 24-hour bug, so I ended up taking both girls to Gabbie's tumbling class by myself (usually Aaron takes Gabbie, and Sophie and I cuddle at home and catch up on DVRed shows). Not difficult, but I had really been looking forward to that quiet time at home.

Then there was my day yesterday, which consisted of rushing around all morning, getting the girls to school, running to work to get through several back-to-back meetings, rushing out of work at 11:30 to get Sophie (barely on time) to her 4 month well visit (stats: 12 lb. 4 oz. (25th percentile) and 25 1/2 inches (94th percentile), with a 25th percentile head). Then I had to deal with a cranky-from-shots baby all afternoon, before running back out in the cold, drizzly day to pick up Gabbie from daycare.

I know this is normal mom stuff, and I'm hardly the first person to deal with being busy, but by the time dinner rolled around last night, I was ready for a break. I'm dealing with some sort of either weather-related or post-partum funk that just will not lift, and being away all weekend just makes the weeks seem harder because I don't have my typical weekend down-time. We're going away this weekend too, which I'm looking forward to, but I think I might need another weekend directly afterwards so I can get my self built up for the week.

Aaron gets it, he really does, but while he does do things to try to make me feel better (chocolates and flowers, extra cuddling whenever possible), he also tells me to buck up and do the things I need to do. He's right, I can't just mope all the time, it doesn't work with being a responsible parent/adult/breadwinner.

That said, I am fantasizing about a tropical vacation all by myself lately. Okay, Aaron can come too, but only if he keeps his mouth shut for large portions of each day. I think what I really need is some sun along with some peace and quiet. And a few really good books into which I can lose myself. A few adult-type beverages wouldn't hurt either.

Instead, I'll probably get a date this weekend while my parents watch the girls. And, that's okay too. (I'm also holding out for some pampering on Mother's Day in a couple of weeks. Just sayin'.)

Five Gabbie-isms

Gabbie spends a good portion of her time lately making us giggle. Some ways she has been doing this:

1.
Me: Look at the bunnies outside! They must be getting ready for Easter!
Gabbie: I have a big booger. Can you get it?

2.
Gabbie: Daddy, my hands are dirty.
Aaron: No, they're not. They're fine.
Gabbie (mutters): Well, they are a little dirty.

3.
Me: Gabbie, time to get up!
Gabbie - mutters, rolls over.
Me: Okay you have five minutes.

Five minutes later -
Me: Gabrielle!
Gabbie (shoots straight up in bed): I'm up!
(She is so not old enough for that yet!)

4.
Gabbie: I wanna have a good time!
Me - puts on "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
(My toddler roams around the house singing classic rock. Hilarious!)

5.
Gabbie: ...and Grandma's at home!
Me: No, she's not, Sweetie. I'm sorry.
Gabbie: But, I want her!
Me: She had to go to her house, Babe.
Gabbie (tears up): But, I want her!
Me: Sorry, Honey. She's not there.
Gabbie (sobs): BUT, I WANT HER!
Me (giggling because she's so adorable): You can have me.
Gabbie (sobbing): No, I want Grandma!

And now, a picture taken by Grandma yesterday morning of my two silly girls:


I just absolutely love them.

Time for me, us

It felt good the other day to put that struggling feeling into words (as it usually does). Sophie had been sleeping really well since she was about six weeks old, so the not sleeping of the past week or so was really rough. Not unexpected, but definitely rough. She did so much better last night, and I'm feeling much more human today that I have been lately. (Although she's working on a new skill - rolling over - and as soon as she masters that we will have to stop with the swaddling. I foresee many more sleep-light nights in my future.)

Also helping that human-like feeling:

I took off work a couple hours early yesterday and went home and took a nap. It was fantastic.

Aaron took Monday off to relax and now he's in a much better mood.

The more well-rested feeling we're both experiencing means that our house is less of a disaster zone than it was (a messy house always makes my bad moods worse, but I often lack the motivation to do anything about it when I'm in a funk).

Temperatures are reaching the low 40s this week. That might not sound so amazing, but anything is better than the sub-freezing temperatures of the last few weeks.

Aaron and I are spending some time on us this week. We cuddled last night, and today we're meeting up for lunch. It feels good to reconnect as a couple; something I've been really, really missing.

I've also been eating a little better this week. Less junk food, more fruits and vegetables, and small frequent meals instead of the large, fattening meals I had been eating. Last night I even had an apple as a bedtime snack instead of the ice cream I was craving. I was pretty amazed with myself!

I've also been seeking out things that make me laugh. On the top of that list is damnyouautocorrect.com and the @bronxzooscobra Twitter feed. Another thing that's making me happy is good music, including Queen's Greatest Hits (especially Don't Stop Me Now) and many songs from the Glee soundtracks (especially Teenage Dream by the Warblers).

So far this week is kicking our asses a lot less than recent weeks. I hope - really, really hope - that this continues.

Two

This is not a novel idea, or even news, but I have to say that having two kids is not double the work of one; it's exponential. I love these two girls as much as is humanly possible, but, damn am I struggling to stay afloat. The levels of busy, noise, attention needed, lack of sleep, etc. are threatening to swallow us whole. I keep thinking it will be better when... when it's warm, when Sophie is a little older, when we get more sleep, when whatever. And it will be. And I'm fine, really. I just want a nap, a little time to myself, some quiet time with my husband.

It's a good thing they're cute, is what I'm saying.


Grand Scheming

Lately I have been in the mood to throw a party; a big, blow-out type party with a lot of friends and a lot of fun. Seeing as how Aaron has a birthday coming up in a little over a month, I am (selfishly, actually) planning a blow-out bash in his honor.

Here's how I see it:

Food made on our (soon to be in our possession) new grill.

A keg of one of Aaron's favorite micro-brews, as well as wine and watermelon margaritas for us non-beer-drinkers.

A fancy, delicious cake made by yours truly, accompanied by homemade ice-cream (note to self: contact KitchenAid about your broke-ass ice cream maker!).

Yard games/field events: bocce ball, ladder ball, that game where you try to throw wing-nuts through a hole in a board (there are several different names for it, none of which are even slightly appropriate), three legged races, egg/spoon relays, a water balloon toss (and squirt guns for the kids)...

My latest idea came from a wedding website, but I think it would be all kinds of fun for a birthday party too: a Candy Buffet! Aaron has the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I know, so this would be awesome for him.

Friends (hopefully) traveling in for the day.

Now I just have to get to work. It's going to be a blast!

Sweet Sophie

Nearly every month we get a newsletter from our kids' rooms at daycare. The newsletter from Sophie's classroom included updates on the new things each of the babies are doing, and had this little gem about my little Peanut: "Sophie just enjoys being cute for now."


And, man, is she cute! Even Aaron squeals about it from time to time, "She's just so cute!"

She's a smiley baby; she started early and seems now to smile with her whole body. Her face lights up, and her arms and legs start going, all of her incredibly excited to see you. It's fantastic.

She is so much better at nursing, and just eating in general, than her sister ever was. Gabbie never did what I'd consider "comfort nursing," but I can't say the same about Sophie. She wants to nurse for a good half hour or so when we get home at the end of the day, or pretty much any time I leave her sight for more than an hour. She'll nurse whenever I try, even if she just ate 20 minutes ago (I tested this out one day just for fun; such is the life of someone who spends 24-7 with a baby). She has taken to bottles very easily. I think that as long as it's food, she's happy.

Her spitting up problem has gotten much better. She still has days where it's bad, but as long as I watch what I eat, she does pretty well. I still can't eat onions, especially raw ones (ask me about the day I ate a Big Mac and what happened afterwards; it wasn't pretty), but she's now doing okay with broccoli, cabbage, and beans. A weird food that makes her tummy upset is peanut butter. My mom said I had the same issue when I was a baby, which is interesting, especially since peanut butter is one of my all-time favorite foods.

I'm not going to talk about sleeping, because I don't want to jinx anything. Although I will say the thing I miss most now that I'm back at work is her sleeping on my chest for her naps. That cuddle time was one of my favorite things ever.


Sophie is enamored with Gabbie. Big time. We first noticed she was following things with her eyes by the way she watched her big sister run around the room. She prefers to watch her from afar, though, as Gabbie still is learning about being gentle.


When Gabbie was a baby, we had regular visits with a physical therapist due to her hip dysplasia. Part of those visits tracked her development according to motor and social skills. It was pretty neat to know exactly where she was with everything, but I also like this experience, where I just enjoy my baby and am not worried about what she's doing (especially since she seems to be doing everything she needs to do). She's smiling, tracking objects with her eyes, bringing her hands to center, and holding her head up like a champ. We need to work on tummy time a little more (she HATES it), but other than that, she's just such a great baby. I don't know what I did to deserve these two great girls I have, but I'll gladly take them. I absolutely love being their mom.

Not constant awesomeness, but pretty darn close


On a regular basis, Aaron and I remind ourselves how lucky we are to have such a good kid. Gabbie really is one of the most awesome kids I've ever met (although I am, admittedly, biased). She's kind, caring, smart, funny, cute, and just a generally great kid. She has her faults, like stubbornness and being a picky eater, for sure, but she's usually such a reliably good kid, that it makes her bad days seem so much worse.

An example of the good: she usually listens very well and is a stickler for following the rules. She follows the rules so well that we have been able to do something you wouldn't be able to do with many kids. She has a snack drawer that she can access whenever she wants, and we put all her treats in there too. Treats like sweet granola bars and all of her Valentines candy. And yet, she never once has eaten anything, not even her favorite candies, without asking first, and if we tell her no, even though she'll pout a little, she still won't do it.

Other good things include that she very rarely tantrums, she wants to cuddle almost all the time, and will do things, like her silly dance, on cue to entertain us.

Then there's the bad, which seemed to all coincide with the time change yesterday. There was a lot of bad (but it still wasn't as bad as it could be, I'm sure). There were hysterics following each and every time she was told "no." There was not listening, not even a little bit. There was using her hippity hop as a ball with an easy-launch handle, instead of for its intended use, tossing it hard right into our wood blinds, right next to the TV and her baby sister. That was one of the worst offenses for sure. She also made our house a huge mess and cried when I asked her to help pick it up.

The day ended abruptly when she did exactly the thing I had mere seconds before directed her not to do, and then when I reminded her that I had JUST TOLD HER NOT TO DO THAT, she gave me a look, a look I'm sure I'll see many times throughout the years and especially during her teenaged years, a look that pretty much said, "Gee Mom, you're stupid." And then she was deposited in her bed.

This was followed by about ten minutes of tears, but then she played in her room for a few minutes, crawled in bed, and feel asleep.

I feel like a horrible mom on days like yesterday, especially when everything finally boils over and I resort to yelling. I feel childish when I say things like, "You're ignoring what I said, so now I'm ignoring you." It's satisfying to give in and to say those things, for a second or two. Then comes the Mom Guilt.

So I'm glad that she's usually such an awesome kid. I don't have those days or that Mom Guilt very often, and for that I'm incredibly grateful. She is a blessing, no matter what. That's for sure.

Our New Normal

Now that we’re three days into our new normal (-ish, since I’m only half days for the first two weeks), I have to say, it’s going pretty well. I’m actually making it to work more on time than I have in years, and we’re all adjusting incredibly well. Of course, it has been three mornings total now, so there’s still time for it to all go to shit, but I’m going to remain optimistic.

I was worried about three things with Sophie: 1 – taking a bottle (no problem there, the girl loves to eat!), 2 – the cloth diaper thing (aside from some confusion on the first day and needing to move up to the thicker inserts, that’s going well), and 3 – Sophie’s major preference for mommy and only mommy (no issues there aside from a couple of tears the first day). I’m so glad that my worries were unjustified. I attribute that to the power of worry; if I worry enough about it, it won’t happen. Right? Surely that’s true. It’s how I roll.

In addition to Sophie starting daycare this week, Gabbie moved up to the 3-year-olds room. Since she’s completely potty trained, speaks in paragraphs (who cares if all items in the paragraph aren’t necessarily related, she’s only 2 ½), and there was an opening (a key component) we all decided it was time. Her new teacher told me yesterday that it is as if she has been in that room for forever. Talk about a good transition. That’s my girl!

I also have to say, that this easing back into it slowly thing (see: half days for the first two weeks) really is the way to go. I haven’t cried once! I’m amazed at myself, since I normally cry at the drop of a hat (ask Aaron, I’m fun to live with I’m sure).

So, other news of the girls, since I’m doing horribly at this blogging thing lately and feeling guilty about not writing things down:

Sophie really, really prefers to be held, at all hours if possible. This has contributed to a bit of an, um, well, she has a flat spot on her head. I feel absolutely horrible about this. My kid has a funny shaped head! So, we’ve been working on more time not in mommy’s arms and more tummy time. My sister bought her a little play gym and that has helped, except she peed all over it yesterday, so it’s out of commission while in the wash. She’s also working at reaching for things and grasping them. She’s a pro at holding on to fingers, but not much else yet. We’re working on it. I have say, the second child thing is crazy. We worked with Gabbie on all her “skills” all the time, but with Sophie we’re a little more lax about everything, both because we are old hat at this parenting thing and not worrying as much, and because we’re busy with the other kid and don’t have all the free time in the world to concentrate on every little detail. Poor Sophie, it sounds like she’s being all kind of neglected. She is sooooo not.

Gabbie is awesome as usual. She’s stubborn as hell, but also amazingly funny (whether she’s trying to be or not). Our favorite anecdote from late is this: The other night, as a special treat, I was letting her fall asleep in our bed (special cuddle time with mommy). I thought she was asleep, when all of the sudden she announced she had to use the potty. She’s pro at using the potty, but her wiping skills leave a little to be desired at times. Consequently, her underpants got a little wet. She didn’t realize this until she got back into our bed, and she started crying, “I peed in your bed!” I assured her that she had not, and we went and got a fresh pair of underpants, and all was well. Shortly afterwards, Aaron came upstairs and following some conversation wherein she told him “no” about something, he got stern with her about telling him “no.” Half-way through this mini-lecture, she held up her hand at him, and said, very seriously, “I only peed in my pants a little bit, Aaron.” Then she sighed, like she was thinking, “oh, man , dealing with my parents is exhausting.” As you can imagine, all sternness from Aaron flew out the window as we broke into giggles. Kids are hilarious.

I don’t know how I imagined life with two kids. It is both better and way crazier then I ever thought it would be, but I definitely wouldn’t trade it. It seems like we’re finally starting to hit our stride, and I think we’re all thankful for that. I mean, sure, Aaron and I dream daily of running away for a long weekend to someplace warm without the kids, but I’m pretty sure all parents do that. Especially this time of year. Bring on the spring!
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