Sunday, August 30, 2009

The End of Mr. Mom and Ms. Dad

She Said: We have now finished one regular week for us. That is, Chuck was back in the classroom (although the students don't arrive until tomorrow) and I was back to being at home MWF and at work TTh. Already, I feel like summer never happened; it went that quickly. So yes, I'd do this again. Besides, Chuck handles the humidity far better that I do. It's a much happier household if I can spend eight hours in an air-conditioned building.

On my first Monday at home, I realized how much I really enjoy running the household. Rhett and I went shopping, played, went running, walked Bruno, paid bills, planned the week's meals, did our chores (me: sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming; he: putting away his diapers). It was just so satisfying, more than any day at the office. For me, this job of being a homemaker is totally satisfying.

Satisfying does not equal easy, however. After our Monday-no-TV-night was spent moving all of our bedroom furniture to the basement (and with NO home teachers involved), I was exhausted. I told Chuck I was glad to be able to go to work the next day so I can get some rest. Being a stay-at-home parent is extremely tiring. I honestly don't know how moms of more than one child do it. Rhett's even a pretty good baby and easy to entertain. But still, he's seventeen months old. He's exhausting. Lovely, but exhausting.

So do I like my job-that-pays-me-dollars, even at two days a week? Eh. It was a choice that Chuck and I made for the betterment of our family. But do I like my job-that-pays-in-laughter-and-kisses-and-funnies-and-happy-nap-time? Oh boy, do I. I love that little boy and I love being his mom.

One last thing, I was able to keep up my running during the summer. I ran a couple of evenings during the week, and surprised myself at how much I liked nighttime exercising. I did notice, however, that due to the sedentary nature of my work, I gained a couple of pounds and found that my body was far less stretchy. That is, I felt my muscles were tighter and harder to warm up than during the part-time work days.

He Said: Well, as we have now reached the official end of summer (according to the school system) I have returned to work and the summer experiment has ended. I have to say that staying at home is far from easy. I actually feel as though going to work is much easier than staying home (ask me again in a couple weeks to see if I still feel the same way). It was a great opportunity to see little things in Rhett's development and personality. Working full time you don't get to see all of the little things throughout the day. In that way, I really enjoyed it. I also am able to emphasize more with how e feels sometimes when I get home from work. I am more likely to get back home as quickly as possible to help watch Rhett and give e some personal time, which I now can see how little one gets staying at home. There were days when I didn't get the chance to shower and others when I completely forgot to eat. Oh yeah, taking care of the house is way harder than I thought it would be as well. Who knew?

Even though I think being at work is easier than being at home I am definitely going to miss being at home with Rhett. I honestly believe that if I could stop working all together I would do it...perhaps I just don't want to work (and I am not saying that staying at home isn't work). I feel as though I got more out of being at home than I do at work (e probably feels this on a much higher level). In the most simple terms, I liked being at home. I hope that it is something that e will be willing to do again next summer. I think it can be a family tradition that will be valued by not just myself, but by Rhett as well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is This Still My House?

Five weeks ago when we discovered we had a problem in the upstairs bathroom, I never imagined how much it would rearrange our house. Not only did we end up doing a complete redo of that bathroom, but we moved our master bedroom to the basement. And now, five weeks later, I'm loving it. So excuse the tons of pictures, but oh well.

First the bathroom. Again, this was not a job we
wanted to do (in this economy, are you kidding?), but rather because we had to. Water sploshing underneath the tub is NEVER a good thing. But if we have to do it, we might as well do it in a way we want, right? Of course right. To refresh your memory, here are the before pictures and a couple during, just to show the magnitude of what went on in there.

Notice the ultra-long vanity.

And the after. We don't have the shower curtain yet, but I think it's better that way in order to show off the tiles.

I think you get the picture. I love how bright and happy it is. And the tiles on the floor? Lovely.

While work was being done on that room, Chuck and I had to use the basement bathroom for our toilette. We even slept in the basement bedroom one night just for fun. But we liked it so much that we decided to make the change. So what used to be this:

is now this:

Can we stop now? I'm tired.

P.S. Funny thing, this Blogger. Its spell check always tells me that "internet" isn't a word, but sploshing? Apparently that's a real word.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

You Can't Call Me Mr. Mullet Anymore

Well, we finally did it. When Chuck said he'd accept all responsibility for the outcome (and when he was shamed when three other couples said they cut their own children's hair), I told him to go ahead and cut Rhett's hair. So here you can see how long it is in back...

...and here you can see the final outcome. Doesn't he look great?! I am really pleased with the job Chuck did.

(In case you didn't get the title, please help yourself to
this dream of yesteryear.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Which Came First...

...Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or Reese's Pieces??? Another marital dispute. Sigh. I guess it could be worse.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Two Things That Have Recently Changed My Life

I hate showering. I used to think it was because I hate doing all the crap afterwords (the hair stuff, the makeup stuff, etc.). But it turns out that I hated showering because I was never pleased with the end result. It doesn't matter what the season in Maryland, it's always humid, and I hadn't found a product that could tame the frizziness. Until now. Since this discovery I have washed my hair at twice the usual rate (although that usual rate will remain classified). But twice as often?! That's incredible. It's life altering, in fact.

Chuck and I used to keep about six Nalgene water bottles in our fridge, ready for the drinking. But then all the stuff about BPA came out and with Rhett around, I knew there had to be a better way. But how to ensure cold water without a water dispenser on our fridge door or a working ice maker? (Please don't suggest ice trays. They're far too much work.) Our trip to my sister's house last month showed me the way. They kept a cute little water jug in their fridge. It saved my sister about 86 minutes per day on water requests from her little ones. Of course, I don't have three little ones, but still, I knew that it would solve our dilemma. On our last day, Emily and I ran (literally, we were running) by a garage sale. Lo and behold was this beauty! I could have sworn a sun's ray shown directly on it. At only two dollars, I knew it had to be mine. Add a couple of $1 swim diapers and an Orioles batting helmet and SOLD. Luckily it safely made the trip back to Maryland and it's been solving our thirst problem ever since.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

By Jove I've Got It

You know how ever since middle school, us girls feel like we got the short end of the stick when it comes to bathroom matters? For example, like how obnoxious it is to have to go to the bathroom when hiking? It sucks. "Proficient at leaf wiping" is certainly not a skill I want to add to my CV.

But after years and years of searching, I think I finally found a situation in which being a girl makes it easier to go to the bathroom: Middle of the Night Bathroom Trips.

I imagine that most of you know your house pretty well. So well, in fact, that you don't have to turn on the light to make your way to the bathroom in the dark. So here's the beauty point for us gals: once we make our way to the bathroom we don't have to turn on the light. I know where my toilet is and I can just sit down. But boys?! They don't have this option! They have to turn on the light. (If they didn't, I can imagine a bunch of angry women in the morning. Not a happy thought.)

And why is this turning on the light so bad? Well, for one, it hurts. The eyes, of course, aren't adjusted to the light and there's all that squinting involved. Then, when you're done, you have to turn off the light and then you can't see anything at all because of the dark. You're disillusioned and end up bumping into things, no matter how well you know your house. Plus, the light wakes you up. Because I'm a girl and require no such light, I can remain in my half-sleep state and easily return to bed and sleep.

Hooray! We finally have ONE reason to be a happy girl in the bathroom! The fact that this hardly happens for me is a moot point. Rather, I'm just happy to know that for one small bathroom issue, it's finally easier to be a girl.

P.S. Totally unrelated to all things bathroom: If you're bored and want to take a look at our most-recent family photo shoot, please do. We're struggling to narrow down our selection because so many of them turned out so well. Thanks Jess!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Made by e: Block Magnets

Rhett LOVES playing with our magnets on the fridge. In fact, "magnet" is part of his ten-word spoken vocabulary. However, most of our magnets are too small (I've seen them fit in his mouth) or they're too flat and he can't pull them off the fridge. We even bought the little-kid plastic letter magnets, but I was afraid that the magnets inside the letters would come unattached and he'd swallow them.

But when we were in Michael's the other day, we saw they had sets of 15 wooden letter blocks for $2. Easiest decision ever. We bought two packages and came home and assembled these beauties. I had the magnets already and used this super strong adhesive that should never ever come apart from the blocks. Bonus for me is that they're too big to fall under the fridge. Rhett loves them already.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mr. Mom and Ms. Dad, week whatever

Work days completed: 22. Work days remaining: 8.

He said: This week has been quite a bit more difficult to get back into the stay at home dad routine that was somewhat established in the earlier part of the summer. This is mostly due to the fact that while away in Colorado my mother had her hip replaced and our bathroom went into full remodel and and still has a ways to go prior to completion. I have felt the need to get out of the house (so Rhett can nap somewhere else and not be around during the work being done right next to his room) and so I can help with whatever it might be that my mother might need. Needless to say, Rhett is in a way getting lost somewhere in the mix. With that being said, he is still eating, sleeping, playing outside, going on walks and is for the most part happy. I feel mostly good about taking care of him.

So, I cheated and read ahead, and I have to admit that I am not the best at keeping house. I feel like I was doing better before our trip, but perhaps that is in part because e has been less vocal about it. In my defense, I do move the items on the shelf when dusting. I must just suck at it. As for the housework this week, as I mentioned I have been out of the house for most of the day and I have not had the normal time to do the housework as well as I am capable. On a normal day I would clean while he naps, but when is is napping somewhere else, I am typically somewhere else with him instead of at home doing the housework. The other problem is not that I am unable to multitask (although this is true) but instead I am not the glorious planner/list maker. I would be much more productive if I were, but I am not. I don't like making lists and because of that I forget things. I don't have to do them all at once, but I need to remember to do them. I would even be okay if e wanted to make a list for me and then I would do everything on it. I guess that puts the onus of keeping house back on her and that wouldn't be fair to do, but in the long run I think everyone would be happier. e is just better at this than I ever could be. I'm glad that I have had the opportunity to see what really goes into it and why she is so good at it.

She said: This is the first week back after our week-long vacation to Colorado. We have been really busy, so the problem (as noted in the last update) of my non-parenting-upon-arrival-at-home has really been a non-issue since the second I get home, there is stuff to do. We'll see what happens next week.

However, the hardship this week has been my frustration with Chuck. While he's doing a great job of taking care of Rhett and being involved and doing things with him, he's not the greatest at running the household. But it's hard to express these feelings without sounding like a nagging wife. I mean, how important is it that instead of lifting the items on the shelf to dust, he's just dusting in front of them? Is this worth mentioning or not? What about the basement not being dusted at all? Or can all of this just wait until the 24th when I get to dust? Should I just appreciate that he's dusting at all or should I expect him to do the job well?

I feel that my frustration with the job he's doing of running the house is in part due to his inability to multi-task. Once he gets doing something, he can focus only on that one task, whether it be taking care of a toddler or cleaning the mildew off the deck. This tunnel-vision inhibits his ability to see the meal calendar stuck to the fridge screaming at him that maybe the chicken should be thawed so that we can eat it for dinner. I need to figure out how to get him to see all of the things that need to be done in order to have a smoothly-running house.

At the same time, I know he's trying, and I know that's it not easy. I've always struggled with this: the fine line between stating my expectations (and the things that will make me happy) and nagging. I'm still learning. Clearly.

To the Man in Seat 17D on United Flight 70 August 1st/2nd

Dear Sir:

I am sorry that you had the luck to end up in the aisle seat across from us.

I am sorry that our aircraft had a dent that required us to sit on the plane at the gate and then to have to change planes.

I am sorry that this change of planes caused my 16-month-old to awake.

I am sorry that we took off 2.5 hours after we were scheduled to depart.

I am sorry that my child cried for the first 1.5 hours of this nearly three-hour flight.

I am sorry that nothing would console my child during this time. Not me, not his dad, not food, not drink, not a movie, not walking, not anything.

I am sorry that you had to strain your head and eyes to glare at me, my husband, and my screaming child every five minutes during this crying.

I am sorry that you weren't as mature as the ten-year-old sitting next to me who at least tried to help my screaming child (with a shared Oreo), choosing the afore-mentioned glaring instead.

I am sorry that there was a lightning storm at Dulles when we landed, forcing us to remain on the plane an additional half hour.

But most of all, I am sorry that you had no sympathy for me, my husband, my crying child, who were certainly the most damaged of the whole episode.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Question

Our house has two bedrooms upstairs (with one full bath) and one bedroom (with another full bath) in the basement. Currently, Chuck, Rhett, and I are all upstairs in the two bedrooms, sharing the one bathroom. The downstairs bedroom is the "guest room" even though we (1) rarely have guests and (2) have a pull-out couch elsewhere in the basement that can be used for guests.

Before we left for Colorado we realized that there was a problem in the upstairs bathroom. We thought it would be great to have it fixed while we were gone and return to a new bathroom. Of course these things always take longer than expected and for now we've adjusted to using the basement bathroom for everything. (Pictures of the new bathroom will come when it's done. I can't wait!)

But using that basement bathroom has been surprisingly easy. In fact, I actually like it. So here's the question: Chuck and I are considering a permanent move for us to the basement bedroom. Should we do it?

1. The upstairs bathroom (the public bathroom) would be easier to keep presentable as it wouldn't be our day-to-day bathroom.
2. When a new baby comes (yes, we're thinking about it; no, it won't be happening in less than nine months) that baby could sleep downstairs with us until he/she is ready to be closer to Rhett. I'm really nervous about a new baby waking Rhett in the night.
3. When aforementioned new baby begins to sleep through the night, he/she would then be moved upstairs to his/her own room, or could share Rhett's room.
4. The enormous closets in the basement bedroom would finally accommodate my stuff, Chuck's stuff, and all of our winter stuff.

1. Basement bedroom is slightly odd-shaped and furniture placement would be weird and possibly awkward.
2. Chuck thinks the kid(s) will sneak out of the house if they are on the ground level with no close adult supervision. It's no use explaining to him that our one kid is only one year old.
3. The basement bath has only a shower, a very small shower. Shaving my legs will be very difficult in this shower.
4. Our bedroom would be in the basement. Is that weird? I just don't know!

Does anyone else have their master suite in the basement? Or maybe just on a floor different from their kids? Thoughts?

Monday, August 3, 2009

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

We arrived home from our Colorado trip yesterday. And like the post title says, it was the best of times and the worst of times. I love being with my sister and parents and we had such a great time with them. As Rhett is the youngest of the four cousins by about seven months, he wasn't able to really play with them, but it was really fun to watch him watch them. He was frequently found just staring at them. It was hysterical.

But as any other parent knows, traveling with kids is just hard. Rhett struggled with the time change and therefore I struggled with the time change. Let's just say I'm glad I already bought Thanksgiving plane tickets otherwise I'm not sure I would have after that trip.

And now for the pictures:

Celebrating Valentine's Day by making cookies.

Outside the library

At Ridgway State Park. Rhett LOVED the water! We only took him out of the lake because of his blue lips.

Surprisingly, he loved getting his fingers all ooey.

He didn't
quite fit at the table. But he sure looked cute.

Celebrating Halloween. Notice how Miles is doing such a great job at keeping Rhett on the couch?!

At Black Canyon. Pretty cool.

At the cabin outside of Silverton. This place was at nearly 11,000 feet elevation. I'm embarrassed to admit that I think it affected me to the point that even sweeping winded me.

Inside the cabin.

Celebrating our unbirthdays! We all got little presents and sang to us. Fun.

Waiting for the train to arrive.

In Silverton. The high temperatures while we were there were in the low 60s. Awesome.

At Molas Pass, just outside of Silverton, on the other side of where we were staying.

Playing in the water.

In Ouray.

Picnicking in Ouray. This is the first time Rhett enjoyed one of these.

More picnicking.


All the cousins on the last day.