Like a Lion

Tap, tap. Is this thing on?  Oh, hello. Stopping by after a month of, you know, doing stuff. February was an overly stuffed short month and sped by in a blur. So what’s been happening around here?

– Lucy walks. And she insists on walking everywhere, adding at least five minutes to our travel times. It’s adorable though and allows her to play her favorite game of running towards you to give you a hug, then at the last minute turning around and giggling as she runs away from you. She also loves jackets. Getting ready to go makes her so happy.

– Lucy also talks. She says daddy, Lila, Calhoun, water, more and thank you. A claims she says momma but I’ve yet to hear. I’m pretty sure she’s using it as a weapon in one year old emotional warfare.

– Lila started ballet class. It’s as delightful as you would guess it would be. Tonight while “practicing” after dinner, she had to stretch off first because “if I get hurt, I can’t dance.” A budding professional indeed.

A and I are busy with the boring things that go into running a house filled with two kids and two pets plus holding down two very demanding jobs. We’ve been on the sickness merry go round all winter, though it seems to be thankfully slowing. Rest assured Cal remains unbothered by all of this, though he is ready for the rainy season to end so we can return to the dog park with less mud.

So that’s the short recap of the last 28 or so days. Here’s hoping March is a little less hectic, a little healthier, a little less rainy and leaves a little more time for things like blogging, dog parks and practicing how to say momma.

Traveling Close to Home

Part of getting the house decorated for Christmas is taking stock of all of the items stowed away from the previous year. As we pulled out the boxes from the closet last weekend, I was looking at all of our ornaments. Our family tradition has been to purchase an ornament from our vacation each year. Some of my favorites include the kiwi from our honeymoon in New Zealand and the otters from our weekend inMonterrey. As I organized the ornaments this year, I realized we didn’t have an ornament for this year because we didn’t travel. Two kids, young baby, not a lot of time off available because of maternity leave, not to mention family travel obligations, we hadn’t had a vacation. It was sad to me we didn’t have anything for the tree this year since we had no trips from which to buy a souvenir ornament.

I realized though that even though we didn’t take a vacation this year, it didn’t mean we didn’t have great memories to celebrate and commemorate on our tree. With Lila being more aware of things and able to participate in more, we’ve been able to experience more within our own city. We took her to the Space Needle, the aquarium and the zoo. We rode the Great Wheel and became regulars at the Seattle libraries. We went to three Seattle Children’s Theater productions and I’ll be taking Lila to a local production of the Nutcracker this year. We went to the Macy’s Parade and we’ll see the famous Nordstrom’s Santa in a few weeks.  We may not have vacationed in exotic locales, but we made the most out of our year here in Seattle.

 

Seattle_Infographic

As you can see, vacationing in Seattle offers a great deal to do – more than we accomplished in this year! This graphic suggested some great things to help wrap up our year of “vacationing” in Seattle – like riding the monorail and exploring the Boeing Factory and Museum of Flight.

So this year, I’m buying an ornament from Seattle that celebrates the year of learning to be a family of four and to enjoy all our Emerald City has to offer. (Don’t take our word for it, come visit, we’d love to share it with you!!)

 

This infographic was provided by Marriott for use on my blog. Read more about Marriott and Seattle here.

Excess of Thanks

These days everything just feels too much – too much work, too much laundry, too much pet hair, too much toddler tantrums, too much sickness, too much sleeplessness, too much stress, too much to do and on and on. A and I have been filled with anxiety with all the things we need to do, the things we want to do and a desire to sleep every once in a while. It is very easy (and we have) to feel overwhelmed and fall into a bit of a pity party. But this morning as I sat down to make my to do list for the day – all trying to accomplish by 2pm when I need to prepare to go to the girls’ day care for the annual Family Feast- I was reminded how lucky we are. Once again, our burdens are truly our blessings.

We are both stressed at work, stressed with all we need to do and not enough time to do it – We are blessed with not only jobs, but good paying jobs that offer a fair work/life balance.

We are constantly battling colds and fevers this season – We are blessed with excellent health care and the ability to work from home when we (or the babies) are under the weather.

We have so much to do before Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow – We are blessed to only need to worry about where we will place all the food in our overstuffed refrigerator, and not worry where our family’s next meal will come from.

Our house is filled with toys, pet hair, dust bunnies and general disorder – We are blessed with a house that is heated, filled with more than we need, pets that we love and that we can pay for someone to help us walk the dog and clean the house.

I am battling to figure out what to buy for everyone for the holidays and birthdays – We are blessed that our only stress is WHAT to buy and not having to figure out how we will pay for our children’s holiday gifts.

We are sad to be so far from friends and family this holiday – We are blessed with all the modern conveniences of cell phones, google hang outs, digital photos, blogs, twitter, facebook (really endless) that those in the Other Washington and beyond can be a big part of our lives. (And we aren’t dealing with holiday travel which is a GIANT blessing.)

I am sad that this year has gone so quickly and Lucy is already 11 mos old – we are blessed that she is a healthy, happy, beautiful almost one year. Sadly I’ve seen so many examples over the past year that has reminded me that healthy babies are not guaranteed and our family has truly been blessed with our babies continued development and health.

The list of both stresses and blessings could go on and on, with our blessings clearly outweighing our burdens. Our Thanksgiving will be a quiet one with just the four of us (and two fur babies) but it will give us the chance to take a breath, share extra hugs and be thankful for all those burdens with which we have been blessed.

Drive By Fruiting

One of my favorite movies is Mrs. Doubtfire. I know it isn’t a groundbreaking film of any kind, but it makes me happy and I love that while it has a happy ending, it doesn’t have a “Hollywood” ending. There are so many great scenes in the film, including the dramatic/comedic climatic restaurant scene. Robin Williams’ character is trying to balance a family dinner as Mrs. Doubtfire and a dinner with his boss as a “real person.” He frantically runs between the two meals, trying to be part of each table and not drop any proverbial balls. In the end each table discovers the other and his cover is blown.

I feel a bit like that lately – running between the many responsibilities of life, trying to remember the role I am supposed to be playing in each place and hoping that they don’t cross over each other. Sometimes I manage it – and sometimes 3 minutes before a conference call is supposed to begin, you get a call from day care telling you that your baby has a fever and you need to come pick her up. And oh, BTW, she has to be out of day care for at least 24 hours after the fever breaks.

Or then, when you think, it is Friday night. I’ve been working from home for two days with a sick baby, now it is time for pizza, beer and a relaxing. Until:

And then, yeah, you sit down at the wrong table dressed as a Scottish babysitter and poof all the balls come falling down.

So if you need me this weekend, I’ll be trying to figure out how to get the smell of vomit out of someone’s favorite stuffed animal.

Magical November

October was a battle in our household. Sickness, travel, hectic schedules, colder weather. It just seemed to be one thing after another and we couldn’t seem to catch a break. Lucy continued her no sleep talent and we were exhausted. Really, really exhausted. The last week of October brought Halloween, more work travel, briefs due to the court, meetings and yes, more sickness. As we limped into the final week of October I just felt that if we could make it to November, things would be better.

We woke up on the morning of November 1 and noticed something – yes Lucy was crying and yes it was still dark. But it wasn’t 11:30pm or 2:00am. It was in fact 5am. Yes, the morning. She had slept. We woke up actually feeling rested. For the first time since, well since third trimester of my pregnancy with Lucy.

From there, my brief was filed with the court on time. I had a full day at work to get things done. Our weekend didn’t have anything planned so we were able to organize, clean, do laundry, just hang out. The girls were in great moods all weekend. We even made it through DST relatively unscathed. And yes, Lucy has continued to sleep through the night.

I am cautiously optimistic that November will continue to be pleasant and not quite as crazy. Who knows what sort of things we will be able to accomplish after a week of full night sleep (or goodness, even a month??).

You Don’t Say

Lila is really into birthdays. She likes to mark them on her calendar, count down the days, plan celebrations that involve Elmo balloons (for B-Cat’s birthday) and cake (for A’s birthday) and special video greetings (for her great grandfather). One of the books in her current bedtime rotation is the Birthday Queen.  As we read the book, I asked if she would make me a cake for my birthday next month, just as she had made one for her daddy’s birthday. She agreed. I asked her what type of cake she would make and she stated it would be vanilla. I requested chocolate, because I really don’t like vanilla. She insisted vanilla cake was where it was at. When I pointed out that it was MY birthday and that I would really like chocolate cake for my birthday, she suggested “You can eat ice cream if you don’t like the vanilla cake.”

My child, birthday celebrator extraordinaireand problem solver. (Though her preference of vanilla over chocolate is clearly a character flaw.)

Lila's birthday masterpiece

Maybe go to Bed Bath & Beyond, don’t know if we’ll have time

Lila likes to know what is going to happen next or what our next activity is. She’ll ask what are we going to do after day care, what will we do when we get home, what will we do after nap time. For much of the week the answer is the same – we wake up, we go to Twos (day care), we come home, have dinner, go to bed. Repeat. Except for the occasional parent having an after work commitment, there is little variety in our weekly schedule. Such is life, I suppose, but it is starting to feel a bit like a rut.

The title of the post comes from a quote from Old School. The married guy has found his way to a college party and doesn’t want to drink too much because he has a big day planned for Saturday. “Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we’re going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time.” This folks, is my life. We have lots of nice Saturdays planned, but lately I just feel stuck.

With two kids, there isn’t that much time for anything but routine. In fact, not only is there not time, without routine nothing would happen. Alarm, shower, get dressed, bottles, diapers, wake the girls, get dressed, commute, work, commute, dinner, bath, bedtime, clean bottles and diapers. Into bed. Try to make conversation for 10 minutes. Sleep. There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with our weekend routines of gymnastics, music class, coffee shops, nap and the library. But I just feel so suburban mom. I mean, I was making tutus tonight. I AM NOT CRAFTY.

I don’t know how to shake the suburban mom blues. New hair? New clothes? Losing 10lbs? Less yoga pants? It’s not that I don’t love my girls, my husband, my life. I want to be a good mom and a good wife. I just wish I didn’t feel like I was on a one way to track to mom jeans and a practical bob.

 

Falling Behind

Feeling a little sheepish about my absence from the blog lately (perhaps my feelings are best illustrated by this picture of Cal below).

calhoun

As summer turned to fall, the days got shorter and while that didn’t mean less hours in the day, it certainly has felt like that. Work, kids, extra curriculars. Football. We made our constitutionally required trip to a pumpkin patch today. So that’s something.

scarecrow

This is all to say, we’re here. We’re busy. Some of us are still not sleeping through the night. We’re surviving, but sometimes all I can manage before bed is five rounds of Candy Crush, a cup of decaf and maybe Nashville on the DVR. So thanks for sticking with us and stopping by and checking it out. I promise next time you come by there will be something a bit more interesting to read. (I hope. I’ll keep my expectations realistic.)

Llama Llama Guilt Trip Mama

Lila loves reading books and has begun coming home from day care retelling the tales from the books they read that day.  To help feed her love of books, we got her a library card last weekend.  She is pretty excited to be able to ask about a book and that we can find it at the library to read.  Earlier this week she asked for Llama Llama Red Pajama, which we’ll pick up this weekend.  As it happened, they read another Llama book this week at school – Llama Llama Misses Mama.

When Lila starting telling me about the book, she said that Llama went to day care and was sad because Mama left and he didn’t want to play with anything. My working mama ears prickled about the story. I talked to her teacher and she said the kids loved it and could relate to it, the mama comes at the end of the day and it rhymed! (Apparently all the important elements of a good early pre-school book.) I kept asking Lila more about the book – did Llama ever feel better? Did his mom come back? Did she ever get sad like Llama does at school (yes) but she knows that mama will come to pick her up, though it can be hard to wait for mama.  Still feeling unsure about this book, I found a “reading” of it on youtube.

Clearly this book was created by someone who thought working moms do not have enough guilt already. The pictures of Llama clutching his baby llama as he looks out the door while his mom walks away, his unwillingness to play and then the eventual sobbing breakdown because he misses his mama so much, it was really too much for me.  Even then line “Mama, you came back!” at the end of the book broke my heart – did Llama (or Lila) really think that Mama wouldn’t come back? That he/she had been abandoned? By the end of the book, I was crying.  Giant llama guilt trip.

I like my job. I like working.I do not think I am cut out to stay home full time.  I miss my kids every single day. It never gets easier to say good bye to them. I worry I am missing too much of their childhood and I worry about how they feel. I can talk a good game about how much they are learning (a metric ton of stuff), how social they are (extremely), the strengthening of their immune systems (allegedly), but I still worry that I’m making the right choice. I keep waiting for the moment when I know that it’s the right choice for both me and the kids (and A, of course), but it doesn’t seem to come. So really, Llama Llama? You aren’t helping things. You shake me to the core to think about how sad my kids can be and it destroys me to hear Lila talk about how sad she is when she has to “wait for mommy.”  Let’s focus on something more upbeat next time – perhaps Llama Llama Respects Mama and the Difficult Life Choice She Makes. Or you know, Llama Llama Loves Cupcakes.

What Keeps Me Up at Night

The girls are having their photos taken on Friday. (By the amazing J. Shelton Photos.  Perhaps you recall these photos.  Or these.  Maybe these? Or seriously, baby Lila ones. Yeah, you can see why I’m excited for more photos.)  This means I stay up at night not enjoying Lucy returning to a semi-normal sleep schedule, but trying to figure out what the heck they will wear.  Matching? Coordinated? Favorite outfits? Can Lucy wear a hand me down or should it be something of her own.  The photo session theme is “back to school/fall” so should it be seasonally appropriate? Seriously, up all night with these thoughts.

owls

 

 

 

I like this top for Lucy, maybe with some hipster skinny jeans?

 

 

peterpan

 

 

 

Maybe something a little more girly like this one?

 

 

 

 

 

hide and sekk

 

 

Lila likes dresses and I think is cute.  It is reminiscent of owls so it might go with Lucy’s top if I went with owls, but I’m not sure Lila would be convinced to wear it. She does have her own sense of style.

 

 

 

 

 

hoodie

 

 

 

 

This one is more casual but could be cute for the fall shoot.  Casual and fun, maybe both girls in different color hoodies with different pants  or even a skirt for Lila?  Similar without being too matchy matchy? Seattley and cute, without being cutesy? The more I think about it the more I think it might work . . . which means of course that Lila will refuse to wear it that morning.

 

 

I know they’ll be cute no matter what, but I want it to be really great. Setting expectations too high are a sure way to experience disappointment (especially with a two year old) but maybe a mommy daughter shopping date tomorrow will help Lila to buy into the special outfit.  That or she’ll throw a huge fit Friday morning and insist on wearing her second hand crazy print Hanna Andersson shirt and striped skirt.  And in a way that will capture Lila at this moment in time the best. (Honestly, even if that is true, I will not let that happen. Ever.)