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Valentine’s Day

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Josh started a new job, and he’s been working a lot of nights. I’m still getting used to his new schedule. The kids see him a lot more since he’s home in the mornings, but I’m usually a sleepy, sick, pregnant grouch in the mornings, so it’s not exactly lovey-dovey quality couple time. Although he’s always good about waking up first with the kids so I can get a little extra sleep. He’ll turn on cartoons and feed them and come back to snooze for an extra hour. I try not to kick him out of bed when he climbs back in next to me after I’ve already migrated to the middle of the mattress and no longer want to share. 

The kids are spending the afternoon having Valentine’s fun with their grandma (“Bik-Bik”), doing crafts and eating heart shaped pizza. I had the house to myself and thought I’d nap, but ended up spending two hours reading instead. Then I looked up, realized it had started raining at some point, and I was reading a book in a completely dark house with all the curtains shut. I find quiet and isolation relaxing, but every once in a while a little voice in my head will say, “Turn some lights on, and stop being creepy.” By the way, the book is Gone Girl, and it has sucked me in. It has more language than I’m comfortable with, but by the time the cussing got really bad, I was so hooked on the story it didn’t matter anymore. So far the twists in the story have all lived up to the book’s hype.  

For Christmas Josh asked for tank slippers, and it is a very long, complicated pattern that I started sometime in November and didn’t get finished for Christmas. So I thought I’d make them his Valentine’s Day present instead, but every time I work on them I get cross-eyed and nauseated, so they may end up being an Easter present instead. I told him I was determined to finish them even if they killed me, and they very well might. 

And Josh is working again tonight, so it’ll probably be butter noodles for dinner and an early bedtime for the kids and more quiet, quiet, quiet for me until Josh gets home. I don’t mind the quiet most of the time. Sometimes it gets to me after dark, and I wish I wasn’t allergic to dogs so we could keep a nice, semi-threatening German Shepherd mix lurking around (like the one we had to give up who was loving and loyal and smart but could also kill a possum and come out of the fight completely unscathed). I’ll just have to content myself with the neighbor’s cat who wanders over into our backyard and kills the mice for us. 

So nothing super exciting or romantic to report for Valentine’s Day over here, just a big helping of real life. But I suppose someone who will still stay married to you even though you nag him, hog the bed, compulsively over-dramatize the benign details of daily life, and change your mind about what your love language might be almost as often as you change your socks is better than some drug store chocolates. And actually, we are going out tomorrow night. Josh promised he’d take me out to dinner and be chatty. 

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9 Weeks Pregnant

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Baby Size: A Grape. I wanted to plan ahead and have something to show Emmeline each week, so she could see how big the baby was, but I’ve been so sick and tired it hasn’t happened yet. 

 
Foods i’m loving: Strawberries, sometimes pickles, Lipton Nooble Soup, hummus (but only the blandest flavors) and pita chips, and Girl Scout cookies (except not the actual Girl Scout cookies but the cheap Keebler knock-offs), also whatever might appeal to me at a random moment when a food whim strikes. 

Foods i’m hating: Leftovers, the right food at the wrong time, the wrong food at the right time, anything too salty, sugary, garlicky, spicy, dairy-ey, anything too anything. 

Sleep: All the naps! This is completely unscientific (you’re shocked), but I figure since I’m sleeping for two, and a normal adult needs 8 hours, I’ll just double that number. But yes, if I can get a tight 12-16 hours then I can function like a normal, non-pregnant person.  

Symptoms: I don’t have a sensitive gag reflex, so I rarely throw up–even when I get the stomach flu. Nausea for me is this constant, pressing, dizzying feeling that never goes away. Although I am taking medicine for it now that has taken the edge off some.  

What i miss: Pregnancy hormones make me feel like someone has flipped on a crazy switch in my brain, and they won’t flip it back off for 9 months. I miss having normal emotional reactions to daily life. It’s a full-time job (for which I don’t have the energy) just trying not to be the crazy pregnant lady who cries and screams at the drop of a pin and is convinced no one loves her and she’s horrible and greasy and mean and alone.    

What i’m looking forward to: It’s going to be so much fun to share this pregnancy with Emmeline and Gareth. Emmeline is old enough now to have some understanding of what’s going on, so even though this is my 3rd go round, everything is new and exciting again through Emmeline’s eyes. She likes finding out how big the baby is getting, she’ll get to come to the 20-week ultrasound for the first time, and she can’t wait to see Mommy’s belly get big. Gareth is just his usual funny, little brother self. I told him I had a baby in my tummy, and he shone a flashlight down my throat and called, “Baby? Baby!” then he told someone I was having a baby monster because, “Mommy ate ‘da baby.” Now he’s over the whole thing and when I talk about the baby he’ll either remind me that HE is the baby, or he’ll just tell me, “Stop talkin’ ’bout your baby, Mommy.” Josh and I are taking bets on how long the new baby will be home before Gareth tries to bite it.  

Emotions: It’s very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in my head at the moment. Emotions range from, “I’m so excited and thankful to meet this new little blessing! Children are wonderful and this is a special, exciting, hopeful time” to “What were we thinking?! Why on earth did I want to do this AGAIN?! Josh, this is all your fault!” But overall I’m excited and content. I’m trying to focus on the second trimester, when I know I’ll feel better, and we’ll get to experience all the fun firsts of pregnancy, such as finding out the sex and feeling baby kick and move. (It’s cute when they weight about 2 ounces. When you have a 7-8 lb watermelon karate chopping your ribs it’s not so fun.)   

Museums

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My parents got us a Frist membership for Christmas. Josh and I love it for all the free dates. Trips to the art museum together give us something to talk about on dates so we’re not tempted to revert to calendar and kid conversations. Of course, the Frist also has a great kids section with arts and craft stations, and I can’t resist the opportunity to try and give Emmeline and Gareth a little bit of culture.

We took them to see Norman Rockwell, thinking they’d like it since he painted a lot of children. He had quite a few paintings from the Civil Rights movement, which of course our kids are too young to understand. Living in such a diverse city, they’re used to seeing people of different nationalities, and they don’t think anything of it. The picture, “New Kids in the Neighborhood” caught Emmie’s eye.

 

“New Kids in the Neighborhood” by Norman Rockwell

She asked Josh, “Daddy, why are those kids being mean to the other kids?”
Josh answered her, “I think it’s because they think they’re different.”
Emmie was really upset by this and answered, “But, Daddy! We’re all the same!” That got a few awes from the crowd.

Then last week The Hermitage had a free day so a friend and I packed up our kids (five between the two of us). I don’t know if our kids got anything out of it–they seemed to just want to run from one room/building to the next, and there was plenty of space for them to run around. I’m still awarding both of us lots of “Good Mommy” points for going. But little kids and old houses don’t mix. Thankfully, there were a LOT of kids there that day, so it wasn’t like ours were the only ones who wanted to touch every piece of handpainted 100+ year-old Parisian wallpaper and lean on every original bannister. So at least I had plenty of company when the volunteers looked in horror. Emmie said her favorite parts were “the secret trail” (a wooded path in the back of the property) and the smokehouse (because she likes bacon). Gareth spent most of the time complaining about  being in his stroller and making it clear that it was “very bad day, Mommy!” but when we left he cheerfully told me, “Want go ‘nother museum!”

Happy 2014

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I haven’t blogged in a while because I got busy with Christmas. I crocheted several presents for the kids (and I’m still working on Josh’s German Panzer tank slippers, which just may be the death of me). It left little time for other hobbies. I enjoy crocheting, mostly because it lets me think I’m sitting still without actually having to sit still, but the main reason we made presents this year was just to save on money, so don’t be too impressed with me.

Emmie is turning five this May, so we’re easing into kindergarten slowly. She got several new schoolbooks for Christmas. Doing school, which at this point takes about an hour total, is probably one of her favorite things to do. I haven’t even given her all of her new books yet. As a reward for finishing a school lesson, I’ll get out another new book for her. It’s brilliant. If she never learns anything her whole life and just always stays this excited about learning new things, then I will be a happy mom. She also got her first chapter books–Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. I’ve always loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Emmie’s been really getting into them with me now. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has got to be some kind of cultural prophet. Who needs Parenting Your Child with Love and Logic when you have Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s brilliant cures? Also, when I was kid I used to dream about living in an upside down house.

Changing the subject now. I have ticks and habits and things I say to the kids much more than I realize I do, but spending all day at home with them, apparently I’ve rubbed off on them more than I knew, and the results are usually pretty entertaining. They’re both obsessed with certain things being clean–with Gareth it’s his hands, and with Emmeline it’s her teeth (the dreaded “sugarbugs”). The other day the two of them were playing superheroes and villains, and this was how the game went:

Gareth: I’ll save you! Oh no! I’m dirty!
Emmeline: The sugarbug is coming, the sugarbug is coming!

Can’t you see the graphic novel now? Mr. Clean battles his fatal enemies: germs and cavities.

Conversation Highlights

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Gareth aka Buddy (When he was born Emmie couldn’t say Gareth so we all called him Buddy and it stuck): 

He’s going through a superhero phase right now, and he’s an especially big fan of Batman (thanks in part to his Batman t-shirt and his Batman Little People toy). So when I correct him for disobeying, I usually say, “Gareth, Batman wouldn’t hit/bite/steal toys/etc.” It always works because Gareth wants to be just like Batman. Yesterday he was hitting Emmie with a stick, so I (Gently!) Poked him with it a few times to show him how it felt.

I told him, “See, Gareth, it hurts when you hit Sissy with the stick.”

Gareth frowned really big and said, “Mommy, Batman wouldn’t hit Buddy!”

I stand corrected.

Emmie:

Emmie and I like to look at the dresses on ModCloth. I’ve never ordered anything from there, but it’s fun to dream. We like to play, “Pick out a dress for Mommy.” The winner is usually something pink. I know you’re shocked!

Last night, Emmie’s favorite was this frothy confection. I told her, “That’s cute, Emmie. I bet your Daddy would like it too.”

And she replied, “Yeah, Mommy, I bet Daddy would take it from you!”

I had to do a double take. Did I just get bedroom advice from my four-year-old? I’m confident she didn’t know what she was saying. At least I think I am. Either that or she thinks her Daddy likes to dress up in pink polka-dot party dresses. I’m not sure which one worries me more.

One thing’s for sure, life is never dull when you have a very precocious child. We try hard to keep things innocent in front of Emmie, and still she understands things way beyond her years. I wish I could have a nickel for every time someone has asked me, “What are you saying to this child?!” My answer is always, “I have no idea!”

One time we were giving a college-aged church member and his dad a ride somewhere, and Emmeline told them a pretty accurate story of how she was born. Thankfully the dad just thought it was hilarious! I tried changing the subject, but Emmie was determined to finish her story. When we got home she and I had a talk about what are appropriate stories to tell people. Someone asked me where she got her information from, and I told them, “She asks a lot of questions, so we try to give her an honest answer but one that is innocent and age-appropriate.” She’s a verbal processor, and when she wants to understand something, she’ll ask you about it nonstop until she understands. Evidently she reads more into our answers then we’re telling her. We’re in trouble with this kid!

I’m just hoping this fascination with how things work, math, and body parts means that she’s going to grow up to be rich, successful scientist who can support Josh and me in our old age. We’ll have earned it after raising this crazy (more like crazy-smart) girl.

Weekly Update vol 4

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I’m pretty sure it’s been more than a week. Maybe I should re-title it “Bi-weekly update.” The days go buy quickly when you’re taking care of little ones. I often find myself wondering what people who don’t have kids do with all their extra time. I don’t remember having extra time before kids, but I must have, right? Because I’m definitely busier now.

For me, and Emmie, and Gareth, every day this week has been almost exactly the same. That’s how you can tell it’s been a good week. There’s  more peace in the house when everyone knows exactly what to expect. It has also been a rainy week, and something about rainy weather makes me more tired and the kids more hyper. Yesterday was a long day with lost tempers all around.

Emmie: Loves making to-do lists, being a helper, and doing things her way (for better or worse…usually worse). She and I have been having fun doing fall crafts. We made a card for each set of grandparents, and we made clay pumpkins, which can’t dry fast enough for Emmie. She’s ready to paint them. She’s been great about helping with chores this week, and since the kids have helped me keep the house clean, I’m taking them to Goodwill today to go shopping.

Gareth: Loves “going potty” (he climbs up on the toilet, we get halfway through our potty song–Little Bunny Foo Foo–and then he climbs down.Repeat every time Sissy goes to the bathroom),  doing crafts (he gets a lot of help), and his new diaper cover. I wanted to try out a wool cover, but they’re super expensive so I figured out how to make one. It really is magical! Even as full of mistakes as it is, his bed is never wet when he gets up in the morning, and his bottom doesn’t show one sign of irritation from wetness either. All I have to do is turn it inside out, and within minutes any odor is gone. It’s so soft, that Gareth fusses when I take it off of him.

Me: I’ve been trying to read through the Bible this year, and I’ve mostly stuck with it, although I’ve had to play catch up quite a few times. I got super bogged down in Ezekiel though. It’s a very frustrating, depressing book. I kept thinking, “God, the Israelites obviously aren’t getting it! Maybe you should try a different tactic!” and, “Can’t I just go back and read Psalms again?” It felt like I was reading the same thing over and over. I’m just proud of myself for sticking with it and getting all the way through it.

Weekly update: Ballet, bats, batter, bargains

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Emmeline:  Started ballet last Saturday! She has already made two little friends, Kennedy and Jezreel, and I had a nice conversation with Kennedy’s mom. I know Emmeline is so happy to have her own big girl class to go to and to be making friends with girls her own age. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of her first ballet picture and my first ballet recital picture. We’re about the same age here:

Emmie's first day of "ballet school." I just love this girl. She's the greatest.

Emmie’s first day of “ballet school.” I just love this girl. She’s the greatest.

My first ballet recital. Feel free to tell me how cute I was. Those ears itched.

My first ballet recital. Feel free to tell me how cute I was. Those ears itched.

Gareth: He’s been my little baking helper. Bread dough, muffin batter, you name it, and he wants to lick the bowl. Lately when I correct him for disobeying he looks up at me with big, sad, blue eyes and says, “Hard, Momma.” Makes me want to scoop him up and give him a cookie. Then I remember I was supposed to be punishing him and realize I’ve been played. He loves to play “tickball” and doesn’t acknowledge any other kind of sport right now. He’s just all about the baseball. He was very excited to go see his Aunt Kelsey play ball until he realized it wasn’t “tickball.” And yesterday the car battery died, and Gareth went inside, found two of his toy tools, and came to the front door, very business like, saying, “Work now.  Mommy car.”

Joshua: The more he looks for jobs the less it looks like he’ll find that job in Nashville. But, God has used this job search to help Josh clarify the career path he really wants to take. So much has changed over the last two years–when we bought this house we really thought we’d be in Nashville for the next 10-20 years. The Lord obviously has different plans for us. Who knows where we may end up. I’m praying for somewhere close to friends and/or family.

Me: I found a brand new Columbia Sportswear coat at Goodwill for $15! And it was the exact color I’d have picked out for myself if I’d bought it new. I saw the same coat on sale today online and it was “marked down” to $100, so I felt pretty good about my find. And I finally found a non-dairy coffee creamer recipe that isn’t awful. I’m attempting to crochet Gareth a wool diaper cover. The pattern looks easy; I have no idea if it will work. If it doesn’t work, I’m only out about $6, and if it does work, then I have a thrifty, fun way to make all-night soakers for Gareth and/or any other future babies who might need them. Some friends were so sweet to bless us with some diapers, so he doesn’t really need any right now. This project is purely for my own enjoyment.

And here’s a bonus picture of Mr. Cool Dude Gareth in his natural habitat (no clothes on and riding his toy plane):

He basically only wears clothes out in public.

He basically only wears clothes out in public.