You guys. This weather.
I mean it could not be more insanely gorgeous out, not just for February, but for any time of the year. It’s the kind of weather that soaks into your skin and makes all of your cells and molecules shimmy in joy. It’s happy weather, dancing weather, eating popsicles outside in a diaper kind of weather. Oh how we needed this kind of February.
R had his first day off today since a week and a half ago and the timing was perfect. We headed to Short Pump this morning and Ryland lost her mind. She literally started sprinting the moment we got there and pretty much didn’t stop for almost 2 hours.
She also tried to run up all of the escalators, board the train while it was still in motion, and dive head first into every single fountain. She had the time of her life. I struggled to remain calm as I chased her in and out of stores, double stroller flying, or hold onto her shirt to keep her from swan diving.
She was soaking wet when we left, totally normal for a trip to the mall right?
After nap it was right back outside, and to celebrate the burst of summer we had naked popsicles (well only Ryland and George were naked, I promise).
We went for a walk and I threw some new Target clothes on Ryland (we do draw the line at nudity once we leave our yard). And after I finished dressing her, I looked her head to toe and realized I had inadvertently dressed my daughter as 90s era lesbian.
I don’t think my half hearted attempt at a pony tail helped the look. Sometimes I manage to put together an outfit for Ryland that is semi cute, but I am just not that mom whose daughter is always going to look adorable and pulled together. I’m rarely adorable or pulled together, and in my life there have been numerous fashion missteps (hello pink Uggs in the early aughts, and I once wore floor length duster cardigans on a regular basis) sadly that trait will doom my daughter to some interesting looks of her own until she is old enough to dress herself. Sorry Ryland. Mommy really does try.
Luckily boys are a little easier, especially when my wonderful friends give me boxes of adorable hand me downs like this one.
It was a just a lovely summer day smack dab in the middle of winter. We all were pretty happy about it. And because he’s too stinking cute here are a couple more gratuitous Bobby pics to leave you with :)
Happy Tuesday everyone!
So I've been really into the Olympics this year (small children = a lot of time to watch TV, even when weird things like curling are on). I saw an article on Richmond Moms Blog (where I'm going to start contributing soon!) about "gold medal momming" and it inspired me to come up with my own list of Mom Olympic events. So without further ado:
1. Stroller toss.
The whole javelin tossing event in the Summer Games is impressive, but let’s face it, a 2-pound javelin doesn’t really hold a candle to a 35-pound double stroller. Moms have to get these beasts in and out of car trunks with maximal precision, often with a baby on one shoulder and a toddler clinging to her leg. Bonus points awarded if a mom can pull off the one-handed fold maneuver and get the stroller in the car without smacking herself or her children with it.
2. Tantrum evasion.
Oh, the delicate and artful dance that is putting off a red-faced 2-year-old from a total nuclear meltdown in public. This takes finesse, skill, and a masterful amount of self-control. The general public sees only a desperate mother at the grocery grabbing her toddler by the wrist and whispering furiously in his ear, but expert judges can award points based on degree of toddler fatigue, time of day (with late afternoon scoring the highest points), and level of mom composure maintained throughout the event.
3. Judo dressing.
This exciting event combines the judo art of unarmed combat to unbalance an opponent with the necessity of putting clothes on your children every day. Gold-medal moms are able to tackle a naked toddler at full sprint, pin them on the ground in seconds, and dress them before they have even realized what has happened.
4. Meal-time pentathlon.
Only the most focused moms master this ancient contest featuring five different events. To earn a medal, a mom must be able to simultaneously 1. Feed her picky child with minimal tears and/or complaints. 2. Soothe her fussy baby right at the time of day she is most cranky. 3. Feed herself and her husband food that does not come out of a bag or box. 4. Remember to feed the dog and 5. Clean all of the mess up without food getting tracked all over the house. Wine usage is widespread among pentathlon mom athletes, but as of recently the Olympic committee has not classified pinot grigio as a banned substance.
5. Freestyle entertaining.
This is typically a winter-only mom event, wherein a mother must entertain her children at home, indoors, for days at a time. It takes endurance, patience, and creativity. Technical points are awarded for every non-TV activity and for the amount of time elapsed between the words “Mom I’m bored.” Creativity points are given to any mom who does things like make sensory boards or let their child play in a bucket of dried beans.
6. Synchronized afterschool activities.
To achieve elite status in this sport, a mother must be able to shuttle her multiple children to multiple different activities, all in different parts of town and at different times, and make it look effortless. Even though it should be technically impossible to do so many things at the same time and not completely forgot to pick Susie up from cello or Robby up from his tae-kwon-do lesson, these mothers manage to make a herculean feat of athleticism look like a graceful, effortless dance.
7. Marathon rocking.
Typically held in the evening or at night, this event requires stamina and the ability to move your entire body in a constant rhythmic motion while also holding a heavy, wailing infant. Athletes must sometimes do this for hours upon hours, with no clear finish line in sight. These competitors are typically characterized by bloodshot eyes, crippling caffeine addictions, and the inability to form coherent sentences.
8. Speed grocery shopping.
These elite athletes can typically shop for a full week’s worth of groceries in the time it takes most people to find the cereal aisle. Often setting world records in pace, moms who compete in this event can get from the produce section to the freezer aisle in 60 seconds flat, their carts a blur of motion as they race down the aisles. These women are highly motivated and trained, and they are pushed to greater and greater speeds by tiny, whining children who sit in their carts and scream at them.
9. Bedtime wrestling.
Moms who compete in this event must be agile, quick on their feet, and able to get a 35-pound toddler into their crib without sustaining a bodily injury. The opponents may be small, but they are determined and crafty. Just when moms are about to pin their tiny adversary, they will bust out techniques like the “I need a glass of water” method, or “Can you read just one more?” maneuver. To get on the podium, a mom must have nerves of steel, a strong backbone, and the ability to resist puppy dog eyes.
10. House cleaning slalom.
Unlike the more straightforward house cleaning that someone without children performs, a mom must deal with a challenging obstacle element in this unique event. While vacuuming and dusting, she must also navigate large hurdles like baby swings and the smaller, trickier obstacles of a million tiny plastic cars or a family of Peppa Pig figurines. Bonus points are awarded if she doesn’t accidentally suck up any Legos with the vacuum or fall down the stairs after tripping on a Hatchimal.
Happy Monday everyone! Hope you are all having a lovely start to your week.
Ryland had school this morning,
And since my wonderful BF watches Bobby some Monday mornings, I was able to have some mama Monday me time :)
When I dropped him off, I had that frozen, deer in headlights moment that I think any mom has when she suddenly finds herself with a block of unstructured kid free time. So many options of things to do flash through your mind that it is literally paralyzing. I could go work out, run errands, shop, get coffee and write, park my car in a parking lot and take a big old nap. After driving around aimlessly for a brief moment trying to figure out what to do, I finally settled on going to the Starbucks in my old neighborhood to write. And then I walked into that Starbucks and saw that literally EVERY SINGLE table was taken by someone in there with their laptop (and hello pot calling kettle black, but what do all these people do, are there really that many people who can just go hang out in a coffee shop on a Monday morning? again I realize I am one of those people, but they can't all be stay at home parents who have a babysitter, right?)
So I walked right back out of Starbucks and went with plan B, a walk through my old city neighborhood. And even though it was a little misty and cold, it was also sooo nice to take a walk by myself, to not have to constantly be handing a toddler a new snack to keep her entertained or shoving a pacifier in the baby's mouth, to not have my arm yanked and tugged by the dog. I could just walk and breathe and soak in my old neck of the woods, a part of town I love and miss dearly.
After my walk, I stopped by Stella's Market, quite possibly one of my most favorite places on earth. If I lived near this place, I might stop cooking entirely and buy their prepared dinners every night. So it's probably better for our bank account that we don't live close by.
Now I'm luxuriating in that fabulous feeling of knowing that a delicious dinner is already prepared and ready to go in the fridge, and I don't have to try to cook while Ryland climbs up my legs or takes every single lid out of the cabinet and Bobby screams from his bouncy seat. I can just sit back with a glass of wine and know that dinner is crossed off the list of things to do. On a drizzly Monday sometimes you really need that mental break, which is why I always have at least one day a week (sometimes more depending on my kids' moods) to do take out or delivery. Anyone who cooks 7 days a week with little kids has my total respect, because I know I couldn't do it.
After Stella's I did have to make one very important, essential, and totally serious stop on my way to pick up Bobby and then Ryland.
After my leisurely 2 mile stroll, I was of course as famished as if I had just sprinted a marathon (thanks breastfeeding hunger, which makes me want to eat as many calories as a linebacker). And I had been craving a donut (also breastfeeding cravings, for me, WAY more intense than pregnancy cravings, like I will break down a wall, Kool Aid man style if it is between me and a donut). So I grabbed a half dozen (I promise only one of those was for me, really! although I did consider just stopping somewhere and eating the entire box in a sugar blackout) and a cafe con leche (really yummy, almost as good as Kuba Kuba's, which is high praise). And then refreshed and full of sugar I picked up my kiddos. Ryland was covered in purple paint, which I see as a sign of a morning well spent :)
Our only other excitement was my weekly cleaning that I took care of this afternoon. For some reason I always want to clean on Monday. I think it just feels like a nice little refresh to start the week. Because of George I vacuum almost daily, but on Mondays I like to wipe down the kitchen, dust, do a quick clean of the bathrooms, and launder our white slipcovers in the family room (thank you Ikea for bleachable slip covered chairs!)While I was vacuuming, Ryland helped with organizing our front hall...
And now we're just hanging out and watching some Moana.
Other random thoughts for Monday:
-Does anyone else have secret food they only eat when their kids aren't around? Something you have to hide in your pantry to eat? Mine is popcorn. I LOVE me some Skinny Pop, but I refuse to eat it around Ryland because I am terrified she will get a piece somehow (I have a thing with kids and popcorn and don't think any kids should eat it until they are at least 5, one of the many fears I picked up from being a pediatric RN, just trust me on this one).
-For nursing mamas, I highly recommend these nursing bras. I am truly sorry now that I have spent so much money on nursing bras in the past, because these cost $27 for a 4 pack and they are just as comfy and supportive as ones that cost $50 per bra. Best find ever.
Well that's it for my super random Monday musings friends. Ryland has crawled into my lap, so I think my computer time has officially come to an end!
My dear Bobby,
You are officially three months old! That's a quarter of a year (I'll forgive you if you didn't know that, we're still working on your arithmetic skills).
I told you last month that you were starting to be much more of a baby and much less of a squishy newborn blob (no offense, squishy newborn blobs are adorable) and that transformation has really picked up speed in the last four weeks. You are so much more alert and interactive. You are constantly shocked and surprised by everything around you. You open your eyes wide and squirm and flail and in general act astonished each time you encounter a ceiling fan or brightly colored pillow. The world is clearly coming more and more into focus for you, and you are fascinated by it all.
You also react much more to people and even show some signs of recognition instead of looking at us all like we are scary anonymous giants. You love to watch your crazy sister and smile at her. And she loves you more and more each day. I think she is finally starting to realize you are a human and not just a creepily lifelike doll or hairless dog. And because she sees more and more of your personality, she wants to take care of you. She loves to give you hugs and kisses, even unprompted sometimes. When you cry she wants to give you a blanket or pacifier. And when you really lose it and scream your head off, it deeply, deeply upsets her, and she throws herself on the ground and weeps giant crocodile tears until you calm down.
You also give mama and dada lots of smiles now. I am probably imagining it, but sometimes it feels like you save your biggest smiles for me (okay second biggest, the biggest are from gas).
Oh your smile. It's like a scoop of chocolate ice cream, like Christmas morning, like every happy moment in life condensed into this tiny perfect expression.The best is that you smile thoughtfully. Before you grin, there's always a brief, very serious moment of concentration that passes across your features, like you are sizing up the situation, figuring out if it merits a smile. And then your entire face changes and turns into a sunbeam, making everything around you brighter and more beautiful.
You do have your cranky moments of course, and this last week has been probably your crankiest period to date (still not as cranky as your sister was at your age). I don't hold it against you because I know your brain is probably changing and growing like crazy, with thousands of little neurons firing and expanding. That would make anyone a little grouchy.
You have a really excellent pout, and you've also really mastered the bottom lip quiver, along with the giant, comically large crocodile tears. You really know how to ramp up the adorable sad factor, like a puppy left out in the rain. It's a useful life skill, and it will probably serve you well.
You are still spending your nights in the good old rock n'play in our room. And you almost always do awesome, usually only one wake up a night, and sometimes you sleep all the way through (granted you'll be up at 5am, but I still cant complain). Within the next couple of months we'll be trying to move you to your nursery, and even though I know it will be a good thing, it will be harder on me than on you to not have you in the room anymore. So for now I'll soak up being able to wake up anytime at night and look over to see you snuggled and cozy beside me.
You're still a good and efficient eater, and typically go about 3 hours between feeds during the day. You like your bouncy chair and sometimes your play mat, but hate tummy time (because you hate it I really have been slacking, and you may or may not have a slightly flat head, whoops, don't worry we'll get it sorted out, promise! or you'll just have a flat head for life, which if so, sorry).
You also like walks and car rides, and are usually quiet and content (and sleeping) when we're out in public. Despite your recent cranky phase, you're still overall such a sweet and mellow baby. Sometimes I'll leave the room while you're in the bouncy seat or on the playmat, and when I come back you've just passed out, like you didn't want to cause anyone trouble by demanding to be put down in a comfier spot to nap. You're also one of those babies who will nap in the carseat for hours (also part of the reason you have a slightly flat head, again, whoops). It's all so different from your sister, and mama can't thank you enough for giving her a break this time around.
You've started to "talk," lots of coo's and gah gah's and strange Chewbacca noises. You clearly are fluent in this strange language and get really peeved that none of your family members can speak it. It's really stinking cute.
You have cheeks for days, chin after chin, and little rolls everywhere. Your eyes are blue and curious. You've got a perfect little pouty mouth. Your cute little (flat-ish) head is still mostly bald, so you definitely have the alien/Mr. Clean look going on.
Basically you're a pretty awesome little dude. Watching you grow more and more alert and interested in the world is so much fun. We all love you a lot and can't wait to see what's next.
l downloaded Jim Gaffigan's book "Dad is Fat" on my phone and started reading it last night (I've found that reading books on my Kindle app on the iPhone is one of the best ways to keep myself entertained/awake during nighttime feeding sessions), and besides being absolutely hilarious (I actually had to stop reading it last night at 4am, because I couldn't keep myself from laughing out loud, and I thought that might be kind of rude to my husband who had to get up and go to work today if I continued to laugh hysterically in our bed at 4am), it has so many amazing quotes that are so right on about parenting. And today was one of those days where I really need to hear someone else say how I was feeling. Here's what he had to say about the fact that a lot of his jokes are "complaints" about parenting and that some people find that anti-family.
"I love being a parent and enjoy finding the humor in parenting. You joke about it. That’s how you deal. If parents don’t like being a parent, they don’t talk about being a parent. They are absent. And probably out having a great time somewhere. Failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent.” -Jim Gaffigan
So by his definition, I am the sanest parent there is. In all seriousness, I really did need to read a quote like that today, because it was just one of those parenting days where my head was not in the game. I wasn't feeling it. I was a C student, at best. I was just kind of "eh" all day about having to take care of my offspring.
Part of it is Bobby is going through probably the crankiest phase in his short life thus far and today especially has been rough. He hasnt napped for more than 30 minutes at a time and has pretty much only been content when nursing. This is the opposite of how he normally is, and I realize just how complacent and lazy I’ve become with an “easy” second baby. I totally forgot that infants can in fact be giant pains in the butt and try to ruin your life just as aggressively as a toddler.
Part of it is because after such a beautiful week it’s been a cold and rainy day, and somehow that brief taste of spring has made the return of winter feel like a more bitter pill to swallow.
Part of it is because every time Ive turned around today Ryland has a penny or nickel in her mouth (she’s old enough to know better, she just thinks it’s funny). No matter how many times I think I’ve hidden all of our change somehow she finds a freaking dime or quarter. Where are they coming from!?! There must be some hidden stash somewhere along with all of my makeup brushes she’s pilfered from the bathroom. And every time she does put a coin in her mouth, I have a mini heart attack and find myself in that parent child stand off where you don’t want to go after it too aggressively fear she’ll swallow it just to be as difficult as possible. So you kind of quietly face off, like confronting a lion in the Savannah.
Part of it is because randomly today I’ve really missed living in the city. I love our house but gosh sometimes I miss the city something awful. We’re not going to live here forever and again I do LOVE our house but at least for me there are times when I just miss the energy and community of a closer in environment. I miss being able to walk to shops and restaurants. I miss quirks and peeling paint and lawns that aren’t perfectly manicured. And sometimes the missing is just a faint feeling on the periphery and some days like today it randomly feels more acute.
Part of it is because R is on day 6 of a 9 day stretch of work. Which is obviously hardest on him, but it's also not super easy for me to be a single parent to two babies for 9 days (I have to pause here to say that single parents and military moms are my absolute heroes, to perform the mentally, physically and emotionally herculean task of child-raising by yourself is absolutely astonishing, you have my insane respect forever and always).
I am so grateful for R's job and hate to ever sound like I'm complaining about it, but any wife (or dad) who has a spouse that works long hours also can relate to the fact that you can be grateful for their job and what it gives your family but also have days where you really miss having your partner there. Parenting works best as a team sport. You need to have a sub for when you aren't performing at your best, someone to take over at the pitcher's mound for a few innings while you get your head together.
And when you have long stretches of doing it solo you just are going to have those days where you're not at your best.
And well, today has been one of those sub-par mom days, one of the days I just haven’t felt like doing it all, making meals and feeding the dog and changing diapers and cleaning the endless mess.
And I feel guilty about that, guilty to not always be the cheerful pleasant Julie Andrews mom who sings and dances and smiles sweetly as she skips around the house.
But I guess as Jim Gaffigan wisely points out its okay to have these days, okay to complain and fail sometimes. Being a parent isn’t always about being the mom you think you should be. Sometimes it’s just about being there and doing the best you can.
So if anyone reading this is having a hard day or feeling kind of blah about it all I hope you know you’re not alone. We’re already ahead of the game just by showing up and loving our kids, even when they bug us and we’d much rather be on a beach somewhere sipping a mai tai :)
I'm a thirty-something mom of two, wife, pediatric RN, and writer with a passion for all the big and little things in life.