Monday, April 30, 2012

R.I.P. Danskos

In memoriam of erin's Black and Brown Dansko Clogs. While she may have loved Brown more than Black, both served her faithfully for nearly 15 years. Black and Brown Dansko passed away from rubber deterioration. They will be soon as erin can actually bear to toss them. Until then, they sit on the porch as erin tears up every time she enters or exits her home.

In all seriousness, can you tell me how many pairs of shoes you use in a regular, non-Sunday week? I'm not lying when I say that I wear wore these almost every single day. But now that I'm in the market to replace them (and the rest of my wardrobe), I'm clueless to know how many (and what types) of shoes I need. Please enlighten this fashion-clueless girl.

P.S. Yes, I realize I could buy new clogs just like these. But I just don't want to. I know if I buy them, I'll end up wearing them every day, and while that's easy, I'm not sure I want it to be part of the "new me."

P.P.S. You'd think shoe shopping should be the enjoyable part of replacing a wardrobe, but when you wear size 4 or 5 shoes, it's NOT.

P.P.P.S. (I'm on a roll.) Victory! We got Rhett to eat some dinner last night that was NOT alfredo pasta! What was this magical dinner? This totally yummy baked potato soup. I think he would have eaten more had I not put in the called-for amount of tobasco.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Post Where I Over-Analyze the NYC Trip

After having this week to muse on and over-analyze our trip, I'm not so sure taking the trip was the best idea. After a weekend that was easy and fun, Monday was hard and painful. Taking care of children, especially little children, is so difficult. They want so much. They need so much. They cry. They spit up incessantly. They whine ("Mom, your choices are to (1) eat at Axton's or (2) eat at Wendy's." This after leaving Axton's and driving by a Wendy's on the way home to get our own, apparently, un-exciting lunch). It's exhausting. I am sorry to admit that I was excited when Chuck's Monday afternoon golf game was cancelled because I just couldn't parent any more; but sadly, neither could Chuck! What a sorry lot we were. We were on such a high on Sunday, but man, Monday was just rough. Even our dinner was sad! (Please don't judge the dinner. I had planned this for Sunday because it was easy and maybe a step up from cold cereal. But Sunday we were treated with dinner at my in-laws' home, so this got bumped to Monday.)

To be completely honest, I was a little depressed. (Rain and no morning run added to that depression. Do you know that since the flood, I loathe rain? Loathe. Abhor. Despise.) And when I thought about how truly wonderful my life is (I have a beautiful healthy family, a good job, a cute house I can afford, candy in the candy bucket, etc.) it made me feel guilty and then more depressed for even daring to feel depressed at all!

I don't know. Maybe the answer to this problem isn't to never do it. Maybe the answer is to do it more. That way, the difficult Mondays aren't as hard because we know that we'll soon get the opportunity again. Next time, however, we just need to swap with a family whose kids are all in college.

P.S. I will state that one of my favorite suggestions to give to people when traveling is to always clean your house before you leave. I did this on Friday and on Sunday when we came home tired and wanting sleep, the house was clean. Counters wiped, dishes put away, clean sheets on the bed. It made the return-home letdown just a teensy bit better.

P.P.S. Look how much fun Rhett and Ollie had without us! Thanks to Jim and Sarah for swapping with us and for documenting the weekend WAY better than we did theirs!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New York Recap, Part III

After leaving the bar (Remember? Chuck saw the end of the Caps game and I checked internet?), we decided to book it to Times Square to see if tickets were available for Once. We love the movie and its music, so thought this would be the one show we'd see. We practically ran there after already walking what seemed like a half-marathon. This part of the trip was totally unplanned and mostly regretted. Well, not really, but man...I do not like crowds! Maybe that was the subconscious reason for wanting to do an insider's trip to NYC; I dunno. But it's Times Square: of course it was packed. We checked on the tickets, but we chose not to spend $150 on partially-obstructed seats. We got out of there nearly as quickly as we got in.

On the way to Times Square, Mood Fabrics just happened to be on the way. It was closed. But look how weird it looks! Kinda eerie.

We also passed some weird NFL store which happened to have the original Lombardi trophy. This thing usually sits in the NFL Hall of Fame, but was on loan to the store for a month. Cool. I guess.

By then we were exhausted with even more-exhausted feet. We found a cheap pizza place and then went back to the hotel. We wanted to stay up and watch "Saturday Night Live" so we could say, "Hey, we saw SNL in NYC!" (not mentioning it was on the TV and not in person), but we were both asleep by 10:30. Can you believe we slept in until 7:30 the next morning? I cannot. I mean, 7:30 is like my dream time. I would love if I could let my body wake me at 7:30. But oh well. That's just not my life right now...except when it is. Ha.

We quickly vacated the hotel so we could grab a bite to eat and get in line for our 10:00 a.m. bus. I must mention breakfast. New York is known for bagels, so researching which one is the best is hard. But I chose one and WOWEE. I mean, the bagel was good, really good even. But the cream cheese was so so good. It was a cinnamon walnut raisin. I'm going to make it for myself, and if my sister lived closer, I'd make some for her too. Love. I chose wisely. (Update: I made this cream cheese Monday night for my bagel lunch the next day. I remembered the walnuts, raisins, and even a touch of brown sugar but completely forgot the cinnamon. Will try again.)

(Oh, remember when I posted about grocery prices? Be glad you don't live in NYC! We stopped at a grocery store to grab lunch for the bus ride home and yikes. Wheat Thins were over $5 a box. Oreos were also more than $5. The two-liter of Coke was $3. This is not what we purchased, just what we noticed. We purchased health foods like Pepperidge Farm shortbread cookies, Pringles, and some weird soda.)

Also remember how I expressed concern about the weather? Saturday in its entirety was perfect. Seriously perfect. Not too hot for when we were walking around. But not cold enough to require jackets. I loved it. However, Sunday morning the rain started. But what did we care?! We were leaving.

Picture leaving from the bus...

The bus ride home was uneventful. We got to chat, read, and I wrote all three recap posts! Was the trip too short? Of course. Did we miss the boys? Not really. We knew they were okay and in good hands. Really, it was a vacation for Rhett too; he loves when we leave him. (Ollie is too little to need vacations.) I think it's important for couples to spend time together. (Not that I think you need to go to NYC, or even go somewhere overnight. But obviously I believe in dating and the overnight stuff is a HUGE bonus, when possible.) We even discussed where the next child-free trip should take us! And lest you think we're ready to abandon our littles, we also discussed our next family vacation as well.

P.S. What did we bring Rhett? Mementos from the candy stores of course! A fun t-shirt plus this. Do you think he liked it? (Sorry Ollie, but you're just too young to care so you got nothing.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And the Winner is...

Erica! Congratulations to you. (Erica is the same age as my sister. I think they knew each other in high school, but if not, I definitely knew Erica's older sister. Maybe we were in the same stake? I don't remember. But a couple of years ago, she and her husband showed up in my ward! Fun.)

Erica--take a look at the junk beautiful wares I've made and pick out something or two, or tell me you'd rather press your luck for something non-handmade. Just leave me a comment.

New York Recap, Part II

Driving in, NYC was covered with clouds. The kind of clouds that only mean rain. I didn't want to talk about it because I was afraid I'd start crying, but I just kept hoping they'd go away. We awoke (naturally! happily!) to a beautiful sunny day. YES.

The first on-accident thing was to spy the Flatiron Building. I remember learning about it in an architecture class, but don't remember much else. Still cool.

The first on-purpose thing we did was take the subway to a crazy doughnuts place. I tried a strawberry one and Chuck got vanilla bean filed with blackberry. Totally good. Maybe not the best idea to eat them before running, but hey, we've been meaning to do that dumb donut race in North Carolina for years, so why not begin training now?

After that was the morning run. I got my long run in the day we left (knowing Chuck wouldn't survive eight miles), so we could do a nice four miles together. And if that four miles happens to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, then all the better! So awesome. Tons of people, and such beautiful views. I didn't once get nervous about being on a bridge, so kudos to me.

We didn't just run the bridge to run; we ran with a purpose: go to a flea Market in Brooklyn. We (at least I think "we" and not just "I") really enjoyed this. It was more flea-y than the markets we frequent at home. Tons of random things and more good weather. The only downside of the trip came on the way home. We couldn't find the subway stop we wanted, couldn't find an internet connection, couldn't get on the trains we wanted...We were stopped at every corner. But again, we knew that we were in New York City (!), without our children (!), doing things our children would struggle with (!). So it was still all good.

Ha ha ha. California Raisins? Can they really be worth anything? And the view finders--they were everywhere.

Look at all the cool things they turned into rings. I really wanted that Monopoly iron one, but feared the handle stuck out too far.

Nikki--this one's for you! (Natalie, there was a Sikh festival but I felt awkward taking a picture. That one would have been for you.)

After finally making it back to the hotel for a shower, we made our way to lunch. I picked a funny little Japanese place, in homage to my parents. This restaurant is one of my favorite things we did on the trip. The restaurant had room for 16. That's it. Three tables that sat couples and ten seats at a bar. So cute. In fact, we couldn't find it at first and had to call someone with internet to check the location. Turns out we were sitting right in front of it (it was teeny and the door looked like it was a door to a construction site). But the food was so great. Makes me excited for Japan.

This was my lunch. How cool is the soup? I mean, honestly, when was the last time your soup was delivered on top of a sterno? Those noodles (soba) are meant to be dipped in the boiling soup and then eaten. So good.

Here is Chuck eating his. He did such a great job eating everything I picked out. You should pat him on the back should you see him soon.

After this was more candy. This store was totally awesome in a totally different way. It was not pretty nor silly. Just loaded with candy, top to bottom. See? Totally awesome. (Do you love how I go to NYC and manage to visit TWO candy stores? I do.) We got a bit more here, but still, very proud of me for my restraint.

Excuse the face.

The next stop was a store whose blog I follow. Such beautiful stuff. Too bad the fabric was $25 a yard. Well, maybe that's a good thing.

And after this was mini golf, on a pier overlooking the Hudson River. (Side poll: Who calls this "putt putt" and who calls it "mini golf?") Although the course was not the most intense course (we made it harder by enforcing additional rules on us like, "This hole you have to tee off with your eyes closed," or, "This hole you have to play left-handed."), we had a good time. And the view was exceptional. We even made friends with the four year old playing behind us. Can you believe it only cost $5 a person? We couldn't. Look how awesome the view is!

After golfing we were headed to a subway stop, and opted to walk on the bee-yoo-tiful Hudson River Park walkway to get there. Although this wasn't planned, next time it will be (maybe on bikes or rollerblades or for the morning run). More good people watching, more holding hands with my man, more pure loveliness.

And then can you believe we enjoyed more beautiful walking? I can't. But we did. The Highline. This might be in my top three of the weekend. This trail was built on an old elevated train track and it's so great. Even more great views. Even more great people watching. It ended way too soon.

So many interesting things. The water felt so good on my tired feet.

See the old tracks from the train? Neat-o.

What a great looking couple!

And here's one of the "surprise victories" of the weekend: Chuck's favorite hockey team, the Washington Capitals, were playing in the fifth game of their playoff series. I even forgot during the day because he was so great to not complain about how he was missing it. But when we walked by a bar that had it playing, we stopped in for the last four minutes to watch the Caps game-winning goal. Caps! Caps! Caps! (I think that's something they say at games. I'm trying.)

And the end of the trip tomorrow...

Monday, April 23, 2012

New York Recap, Part I

After last week's WWIII over a totally innocuous (and yummy) dinner, Chuck and I were ready to be childless for a weekend (or more). It seemed to come at the perfect time, until I realized that every weekend is the perfect time for a get-a-way with your spouse. Overall the trip was just awesome. I found that Chuck and I can talk about things not relating to the children or the house. We can pretend that we're on the "Amazing Race" and have fun doing it. I highly recommend doing this (or some other childfree trip) to all my parent-friends.

After composing this post in my head on the bus, it became quite obvious that it would require more than one post. So, my apologies in advance for the week-long trip report.

First, some general observations about New York. I know it sounds naive, but there are people everywhere and at all times. You know how D.C. empties after about 7? (Maybe you don't, but it does.) Not New York. Also, I know I'm Mormon and don't smoke, but I still was under the assumption that smoking isn't really a thing anymore. I was wrong. It's still a thing that's alive and well in NYC. People smoked everywhere, even people who were clearly going to or coming from exercise, or those in the middle of a run! Finally, I couldn't completely clear out the parent in me and I noticed playgrounds wherever we went. And in NYC they are AMAZING. I wanted to take pictures of all of them. Okay. Enough dumb observations; onto the recap!

As a planner, I spent some time pinning down the perfect itinerary for us. Because I like to be *different* (channeling 14-year-old me), I didn't want the typical NYC trip. So no Empire State Building, no Statue of Liberty, no Ground Zero. All are worthwhile things, but I wanted none of them. What did I want? I wanted a trip where we did things that New Yorkers might do on their weekends. I really dislike crowds (Uh, then why NYC, erin? Ask a little louder next time. I'm a trifle deaf in this ear.), so as much as we could stay away from them the better. And in the end, we only fought big crowds once.

We were lucky enough to get our boys to our friends' house early on Friday morning. We were hoping we'd be able to get on an earlier bus. Alas, that did not happen. But it did mean we assured ourselves of being able to sit together, which wouldn't have happened had we got on the earlier one. Besides, sitting on the ground waiting for our bus without kids was still enjoyable. What was not enjoyable was eating all of our bus food before we got on the bus. That's so me.

The bus ride went okay. The buses are nice these days, unlike the old Chinatown buses. They're equipped with (semi-reliable) WiFi and outlets, so you can keep yourself busy easily. (Please no comments about how we need electronics to keep ourselves entertained on a four-hour bus ride.) We left a bit late but traffic moved okay...until the Lincoln Tunnel. I realize we hit it Friday afternoon, but still. We moved (and I'm not exaggerating here) about two miles in about an hour. Good thing I wasn't driving because I would have pulled out all my hair. Finally, however, we made it. We went immediately to the hotel to drop our stuff and get to dinner.

Dinner that night was at a small, Italian place. Although highly-rated everywhere I looked, it was tiny and not crowded even at the hip dinner time of 7:30! Sure, it was full. But I estimate maybe 24 people at a time were able to be there, and about half of that seating was outside. It was a bit chilly, but we knew the warm food would warm our bodies, so we opted for the outside seating with people-watching capabilities. Good choice, us.

After dinner was a trip to Candy Store #1. (Yes, #1 which means there is more.) This store was so happy and fun and silly. I mean, how could I not go here? It's candy. I should mention that I didn't buy that much for me. I was really proud of myself. We tried a bunch of different gummy bears (raspberry, grape, peach, brain-shaped, etc.), but only bought four or so of each. Of course when it's all $12 a pound, it's easy to have self-control.

Yes, this is real candy in the floor. I want to do this somewhere (everywhere) in my house.

Look at all the Pez!


We returned to the hotel and our room to enjoy (1) the king-sized bed, (2) the quiet, and (3) our own natural alarm clocks. No children waking in the 5 o'clock hour. No children saying, "You're making me sleep too long" at 6:15 a.m. It was so lovely.

Part II (and the winner of the contest!) tomorrow...

Friday, April 20, 2012

500th Post!

Happy 500th Post!

Uh, does having 500 posts really matter? Nope! Is my blog really that popular where 500 posts mean anything? Of course not! But am I going to give away a prize anyway? Heck yes! So leave a comment and I'll draw a random number from 1 to n (n being the total number of unique comment leavers) and the winner will get to pick their prize. Seriously. I'll make anything you want. (And not only will I make it, but I'll actually send it to you. Whoa.) You want a candy corn banner? Done. You want some felt finger puppets? Done. You want some ties and suspenders for your boys? Done.

And lest you think I'm so egotistical to think everyone wants something I make, well, how about this: If you want nothing I make, I'll send you another non-handmade-by-me gift. How's that? Of course I can't promise that you'll like it. I won't promise that it'll be unlike Let's Make a Deal's goat gifts, but a non-handmade gift ye shall receive.

Anyway, leave a comment before Monday (so uh 11:59 EDT on Sunday night) and I'll draw the winner early next week. Wish me a happy trip to New York City whilst I wish you good luck!

P.S. The Fine Italicized Print: I'll make anything within reason. I probably won't make you a quilt, unless you want a quilt for your dolls. Or a quilt for your daughter's dolls. Or your son's dolls. (I won't judge.) Let's just agree to not take advantage of me, okay? Also, I won't make anything that'll cost too much to send (or make, for that matter). For example, I'm not making you an abacus nor a sandbox, not even if you live close. I'm thinking $25 is reasonable. Also, if I don't know you, please leave an email address in your comment. Not that I think too many strangers read my lame-o blog. Sheesh--all this fine print!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Family Motto

A long time ago I read Stephen Covey's 7 habits book on families. I don't remember much of the book but one thing I do remember was this: Families should have a motto. Well, he actually said families should have a family mission statement, but I was too lazy to write out an entire mission statement. In fact, I was too lazy to even write out a motto. In spite of my laziness, a family motto has emerged.

What is it you ask? "Everybody Works." Sounds pretty harsh, no? It all started when Chuck and I were just a small family of two. When we first got married, Chuck was still in grad school and I worked full-time. Once he graduated he got a regular teaching job while I kept my job. But we both worked. We shared the chores pretty evenly. We each did our own laundry, but shared the grocery shopping and all the cooking. I think I probably did more around the house, but it was a small apartment, so no big deal. It certainly didn't make sense to have me do ALL the jobs, right? I mean, we were both doing the exact same thing: working full-time!

Then Rhett came along. Of course having kids changes your life, mostly in a good way. But it also meant there was a lot more work to be done. Suddenly, we couldn't cook together because who would watch the baby? Well, one of us would cook and one would watch the kid. Because let's be honest: watching kids is work. It might be fun work. It might even be rewarding work. You might even get a bonus of a big STRONG kiss at the end of the day. But it's still work. So Chuck didn't get a break when he came home from work. He just got different work. And I didn't get a break when he came home from work; I, too got different work.

Even after dinner, there's still so much to do: dishes, prep for the next day, getting the kids down, cleaning, etc. The point is is that until everything is done, "Everybody Works." Pick a job. I don't care if I always do dishes because Chuck hates it. If I'm doing dishes, he's doing something else. I don't care if I end up cooking dinner every night because I know he's "working" too. It's just nobody gets to sit and internet or sit and sew until everything is done.

And surprisingly, it works! Just like us.

I should mention my personal life motto: "Dumber people than I have done this." This one came about when I was learning how to drive a stick shift and I had to tell myself, "Erin, dumber people than you have done this." I found it's very applicable in a lot of situations.

P.S. Mom, should that above sentence be, "Just like we?" It sounds so atrocious!

Monday, April 16, 2012

We Didn't Die!

I bet you all thought something horrible happened to me, right? I mean, no Monday post after a weekend watching someone else's kids? Nope! Still alive. Our internet, however, well, I can't say the same. We think some sort of power surge killed the router and POOF! Gone. It's killing me. I check my iPod touch for free wireless everywhere I go now (McDonald's, check! Thrift store, check!). Pretty pathetic. Anyway, we survived!

How did we do it? Here are the lessons learned:

1. Do make plans to get outside. I thought we'd spend the three-ish days inside, just hanging out, with occasional trips to our local playground. WRONG. After the very first hour, I knew we could NOT stay inside with the four kids all weekend. Four kids and two adults just don't play well in our small play room. So once Chuck got home from work, off to the playground!

2. Don't be afraid to get out of the house. Even though I didn't know these kids very well, I was pretty sure I could handle the older two (the Bigs) on an adventure, while Chuck could hold down the fort with the babies (the Littles). On Saturday I took the Bigs to a "Gas and Steam Engine" show at a farm park. It was outside + not terribly crowded + no double stroller necessary = the perfect outing. And on Sunday I took the Bigs to Church. I figured I just had to survive sacrament meeting and then I could have nearly two hours just for me while they went to Primary! Again, Chuck stayed home with the Littles.

3. Don't be afraid to break some of your household rules. Rhett gets TV at home twice a week. He knows it and while he might sometimes asks for more, he doesn't throw fits when I say no because he knows it won't work. But once nap time arrived and the Littles were down, I was pretty sure I wouldn't get the Bigs to nap. However, I could get some much-needed rest for me by putting on a movie during "quiet time." It totally worked. The kids rested and so did I.

4. Don't think you're going to get anything done except watching kids. I didn't plan on crafting, cleaning, shopping, or anything that wasn't keeping kids alive and mostly happy. Which is good because I got nothing done. So make sure your house is stocked with all the essentials!

5. Do throw the regular diet out the window. I normally try to get Rhett to eat some vegetables and protein during the day. But this past weekend? Hello carbs! Toast, sandwiches, fruit, crackers, pasta, waffles, Teddy Grahams...that was about our diet. It was all about just keeping the kids happy, which means no fights over food.

6. Do have some adult refreshments ready for when the kids go to bed. You'll be tired. You'll want something you don't want to share with the kids. And if you don't have something (ice cream, candy, soda, even vegetables if that's what you desire), you'll be sad. So sad. Trust me.

7. Do it. Find another couple with the number of kids you're comfortable watching (which is probably most fair if they have the same number of kids close in age to your own). Stick it out. I won't lie: it was tough. We were exhausted. But now we have this weekend! Totally worth it.

P.S. Although it may not look like it, I did take pictures of our guests. I just try to not post pictures of others' children without their permission (which I did not get because I was too lazy to ask).

P.P.S. Update on last week's Underwear Day: Unfortunately that morning Rhett decided it would be silly to do. So no, he didn't do it. Sad for me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm Just a Little Bit Scared

Did I tell you about the awesome swap a friend and I engineered? No? Well! My friend (Sarah) and I thought that each of us needed a weekend trip to New York with our husbands but without our kids. She's huge into Broadway and shows and all that, and me? I just like traveling with Chuck and we haven't been there together. Our kids are close in age, so a swap seemed fair and doable.

How does it work? One weekend we watch their kids and the next weekend they take ours. Easy peasy, right?

We started with a pre-trip meeting. Rather than spend all the time at drop-off explaining schedules and diet, we got it done when the kids were asleep and out of the way. Plus, drop-off will (hopefully) be all the smoother. Now that we know all about each others' kids, we just go on our trips! That's it.

We decided on weekend trips because both of us would like the husbands around as much as possible, especially when we're doing the babysitting. So Friday (today) Sarah and Jim will drop off their lovely children at our house. We'll play with them, feed them, nap them...parent them until Sarah and Jim come back Sunday afternoon.

Sounds easy, right? Uh, did you forget this is me?! I freak out at having two kids, what am I going to do with four?! Four kids that are four and under. Four kids that we can't transport easily. Yep. Scared. Forgive me if we watch more TV than we usually allow Rhett to watch in a month. Forgive me if we eat pasta and waffles all weekend. Forgive me if on Sunday afternoon I look a little frazzled.

I might be exaggerating. Sarah's kids are easy (and lovely) kids. It's not at all the quality of children I'm worried about, just the quantity. It will all be worth it in about 168 hours as Chuck and I will be on a bus headed for New York City. (And DANG if I don't have the awesomest NYC plan ever. Not kidding.) Wish us luck!

P.S. To those of you who offered support on Wednesday's post...thank you. Please be assured that I tend to exaggerate just a little. Rhett has had a lot of successful quiet times recently (music helps a ton!). Ollie slept until 6:40 the other morning! And Star, I love the qualification of "educational" videos. Tee hee. I guess "Sponge Bob" is out. But I do appreciate the reminder that it really is okay to do that. Just be assured everyone, that as much as I look forward to the boys when they're older, they still melt my heart every day. Like Tuesday night when Rhett asked if I could put "underwear day" on my "list" for the next day. You know, a day in which we don't wear pants. Like this morning when Rhett chose Ollie's and his own clothes. (Hmm...maybe we need to have a lesson on dressing.) I do so love these boys.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Life is Hard...Again (Still?)

It's been a while since I last complained, no? I bet you were thinking that I finally grew up and learned that I have a pretty good life. Well sorry to disappoint.

Life has been a bit hard lately. Ollie is just so different from Rhett that I feel like I have to learn how to parent all over again. He does nothing like Rhett did. Where Rhett was a good sleeper, Ollie is not. Where Rhett only went poo every other day, Ollie does not (interrupting multiple sleep times instead). Where Rhett didn't get teeth until he was walking, Ollie started getting them at six months. Where Rhett didn't get into things or put things in his mouth, Ollie eats everything. All this poor kid hears all day is "No, Ollie!"

And even where they're similar, it's still hard. Feeding Ollie baby food can be a challenge. I just want to make two peanut butter and honey sandwiches and be done. I would love for Ollie to be doing finger foods at least; the spoon-fed pureed stuff is tough.

And, Rhett, dear Rhett, is getting more and more out of the nap routine, even though I think he needs it some days. For some time, he was still doing them on his very active days. But now? Nope. But that means our evenings can be very difficult. He's just not in a good mood which means back talk, yelling, and general craziness. And dinner? Oy. The kid only wants alfredo pasta and won't even try other things. Remember, I have a Chuck in my house, so it's not like I'm making tilapia with pesto (although I really would love it!). It's basically some variation of chicken every night. Seriously.

Then there's just how tired I am of this weight battle. I try not to talk about it too much so forgive me, but man, it just feels like it shouldn't take this long. I am three pounds from my goal weight. Even though I can wear my pre-baby clothes, I know I'm still a little "thick." But I'm complacent. I mean, the clothes fit! I'm running four days a week, zumba-ing one, and walking the dog a lot. It's just this: I'm tired of eating good-for-me food. I want to eat an entire box of Hot Tamales. I really really do. And I don't want to eat vegetables. I really really don't. Sigh. What if I ate only 1,200 calories worth of Hot Tamales daily? Could I lose weight on that? Hmmmm...something to consider.

If I were any kind of real statistician and did an analysis on the problems in our house, I think that factor analysis would yield one, big screaming result: SLEEP. Ollie likes to wake up around 5 a.m. and then he's up. Sorry; I just can't accept this. So even though we don't go to him until later, we're still woken at that time. And because Rhett's not napping, I can't either. I (and Chuck too) am just Tired. All. The. Time.

When does it end? Ever? Do I have to wait until the boys are teenagers when I get up, run seven miles, shower, grocery shop, and wake the men of my house with smells of the yummy breakfast I'm cooking? When will those days begin?

P.S. Does anyone have a truly wash-and-wear hairstyle that looks good? Does one really exist?

Monday, April 9, 2012


I totally failed at Easter this year. This second child has sapped me of all energy to do anything resembling a fun tradition (except for Pi Day, of course). Don't believe me? I present the evidence.

Exhibit A: Poor Ollie didn't even have an Easter basket, and I rationalized it by saying (1) he's only eight months old, (2) he can't even hold an Easter basket while walking around because he can't walk, and (3) he can't eat anything in it (sorry but no pureed sweet potatoes nor butternut squash in our Easter baskets). All legit excuses, I know. But still, he didn't have one.

Exhibit B: We looked for eggs only because a dear friend organized a hunt. Each attendee brought ten eggs filled with goodies, the adults "hid" them in the grass, kids "searched" for them, and then we went home with ten eggs that were not their own. Rhett was a little disappointed to not have much chocolate in his eggs, so I ate what he didn't want. His life is HARD. (But look at those cute friends of his!)

Exhibit C: We had no egg hunt nor basket hunt at home. Nothing. Nada. Just a "Happy Easter" with a Peeps banner.

But I may have redeemed myself with the following:

Exhibit D: Matching ties for the boys. (I won't mention how much of a fail Ollie's velcro-to-a-onesie-bowtie was, however. The saddest thing about it is that on Saturday I gave the exact thing to a friend at her baby shower. I totally need to redo it. Good thing her baby isn't due until July.) But can you see how "real" this photo is? I mean, Rhett's face. Sigh. And Ollie? Look close for all the spit up that escaped him. Check out the chin (obviously), the pants, and the neckline of his onesie.

Exhibit E: Carrot cake. (Carrot? Easter bunny? Bunnies? Carrots? Get it?) I love my Mom's carrot cake recipe. Of course, Ollie was completely content to just eat the bottom of the table.

Regardless of my omissions and failures, we had a great weekend. We've had a great spring break. And we want none of it to end.

P.S. To those of you going to playgroup tomorrow, I'm bringing the leftover carrot cake cupcakes. They're good. Heavy and filled with carrots, coconut, raisins, nuts, pineapple. Frosted with cream cheese loveliness. Clearly you understand why I need to get rid of them.

P.P.S. I'm married again! After only nine months of not being able to wear my wedding rings, they're back. I thought the non-fitting was due to just being "thick" but it turns out that it was due to calcium deposits on my knuckles making it impossible for rings to fit over them. But after a resizing, all is well again, Mrs. Me!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why Chuck Can be a Single Dad

So while it's obvious that I'd really struggle as a single mom, I think Chuck would do much better at single parenting. When I go into cardiac arrest thinking of having to do the lawn or the killing of bugs inside the house, there is nothing that sends him into that state.

However, there are definitely places where he'd struggle. First, routines. Even though we both agree on this for our parenting methodology, he'd have a hard time self-disciplining. I think it would be many a time where he'd be playing a video game and POOF! It's 1:30 in the morning!

I think he'd also struggle in just the upkeep of the house. Neither one of us relishes in doing household chores (although I do love vacuuming; too bad there's not more carpet in my house). I just don't think he'd do them without me around nagging encouraging him. And luckily for him, he wouldn't even notice all the dust on the piano (that is, until Rhett starts writing his name on the bench) nor would he notice all the Bruno hair collecting on the kitchen floor. I don't have the luxury of not noticing.

Even though he'd be fine at getting meals on the table for the boys, I think the variety of the meals would be horrible. The sad thing about this is that probably no one would be around to care. Rhett would rejoice if he could have peanut butter and jelly everyday, as would Chuck. Pizza three nights in a row? Awesome--as long as Rhett gets his cheese and Chuck gets pepperoni. Heck, he'd probably even buy regular pepperoni (not the turkey pepperoni to which I subject him). But instead of meals repeating monthly, I think I'd see that reduced to about weekly. Sad for me, but not for them.

Finally, I think he'd struggle at getting out and doing things. He's more than content with staying inside or going to his parents' house. I, however, need to get out and run errands and go to the park or downtown or whatever. I think we both think getting out is good for everyone, it'd just be harder for Chuck.

What about the guys in your life? Do you think they'd be okay as single dads?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why I Can Never Be a Single Mom (even for a little while)

The husband of a friend of mine is doing some "time" in Afghanistan as part of his military medical stuff. Even before he left for Afghanistan, he was almost never home as he was busy being a hot-shot doctor. And now that he's gone, well, obviously he's never home. Watching this incredibly strong woman, and many others I know, leads me to believe that I just couldn't function in that role, the one of single mother.

Last month, Chuck came down with something bad. He went to work, but came home around lunch feeling ill and I immediately banished him to the downstairs. I can't risk getting sick and can't risk him infecting the little ones. Plus, he needs to rest anyway, right? But a quarantined Chuck meant that I had zero help in the afternoon. No help getting boys from naps to playing to dinner to bed and then to the babysitter's in the morning. Which sounds ridiculous when so many women I know do this all the time. Can I not do it because I've been mom-raised with a husband who is home by 3:30 p.m. or was this just innate in me? Who is to know? All I know is that I have heart palpitations just thinking of me having to do this all alone, all the time.

And even worse than a husband who only sees the kids at bedtime and on weekends, is the husband who is gone halfway around the world and doesn't see the kids (or the wife) for a year or more at a time. There are so many things that have become "Chuck's jobs" just because I expect him to do them. Things like taking out the trash, plunging the toilet, cleaning out drains, fixing electrical things, cleaning up floods, all things yard-related, all purchases electronic. What in the world would I do if Chuck weren't here?!

I should talk to my mom about this. (Not now, of course, as conversation with someone in Japan is not that easy.) She spent a couple of years as a mom of four while my dad was stationed far from us. The worst had to have been when Emily and I were 6 and 8 and the boys were 14 and 16. I mean, honestly--I have no idea how this was done.

P.S. I don't usually think of myself as a weak woman. I feel that in most things I am strong, independent, and capable. There are lots of things I can (and do) do, whether I want to or not. This single mom-hood is just not something I'd like to try. Ever.

P.P.S. It goes not unsaid that I'd miss Chuck not just because he helps me, but also because I like him.

P.P.S. How awesome that I'm posting this during Spring Break when my husband is home all the time?! Ahhh, the life of a school teacher's wife.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Can't Turn My Back for a Second!

Rhett was never like this. Ever. Well, probably he was, I just don't remember. But man, this one's driving me crazy!

Rhett had nothing to do with this, except to keep him safe while I grabbed the camera. He was going to fall forward any second. But dang, look how happy he was about his climbing skills!

And how oh he loves Bruno and all things Bruno-related (beds, dishes, toys, etc.). As soon as I took him out of the car seat, here he was.

As soon as I grabbed him from Bruno's crate, he was headed to the cord to the toaster! I did NOT wait to grab a camera on this one. This baby. This lovely, happy, knows-what-he-wants baby.

The eight-month-old pictures. Eight months! Two-thirds-year! One-third to two! All good things!

P.S. Non-conference highlight of the weekend: running a fast-for-me eight miles to justify eating Monkey Bread. Seriously, I wonder if that would be my "one meal." You know, if you had to pick only one food to eat for every meal of every day, what would it be? And don't be lame and pick something like a chicken salad with veggies and feta and croutons (you know, so you get all the food groups covered). Pick something you love. Like Monkey Bread.