Four Years

I can’t believe Elsa turned four today! My last baby! And she’s no longer a baby. I looked through pictures and I miss that little baby girl. There are definite advantages of having a big girl, but babies are just so cute and squishy.

We had a great party at MyGym. This is the first nice weekend we’ve had so I was regretting not doing a park party, but then I remembered that every single time I plan a big outdoor event it rains. All of you in the DC area can thank me for not planning a party this weekend (sorry about next Tuesday!). It is so much less stressful to let the college students take care of the party. They have it down to a science. I had some prep work, but not much. I decided I am done running myself ragged. These parties are for the children and should not be a Pintrest mom competition. Fruit bowl, birthday cake, simple goody bag, BOOM. Done.

Elsa was vibrating with happiness the whole time, so I think that was a win! She got some really great presents–a homemade purple princess dress, lots of art supplies, a bubble machine, a scooter and some other cute little girl toys.

Erik picked out his own gifts for her this year. He is finally getting the whole present thing. He got her a Sophia the First movie, bunny ears and a purple tutu. He’s such a sweet big brother. I’ve really lucked out with siblings that love each other. They make each other better people, which is something I never imagined could happen. When we were hoping for a second baby I was so worried that we were ruining Erik’s life. It turned out, giving him a sibling was the best thing we could have done for him. He had to realize he was not the center of the universe. Not that they never fight, but I say they get along more than they fight (this month. . . who knows what will happen next month).

Here’s to my sweet, ferocious, beautiful, happy little girl! She brings us all so much joy!

Sweet baby

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One

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Two

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Three

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Four!

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Exhausted!

It has been a crazy few days around here. Never have a baby around a holiday. That’s my advice. Except, of course, if you really want a baby you want it whenever it feels like arriving. I was certainly not one of those magical people who could plan the month of my delivery (I have a friend who planned all three of hers and her plan worked. It boggles my mind.)

Life would be so much simpler if Elsa’s birthday was not on top of Easter and spring break. Trying to fit in all the Easter egg hunts, school spring parties, Easter bunny baskets and a birthday party is running me ragged. It didn’t help that I was the only one willing to sign up as the egg hider for Elsa’s class, so that cut short my very limited free time today. I needed to buy supplies for the birthday party and supplies for Easter baskets. I wanted to buy pre-made Easter baskets this year, but the only decent ones I’ve seen were at Costco back in early March. Elsa was with me or I would have bought them then. At this point I don’t have time to make the trip to Costco and they might already be sold out. So off to the store for a shit load of candy and crap. This year I tried to put the bare minimum of candy in and stick with some fun toys I think the kids will enjoy (play-doh, pokemon cards, etc).

I also had to put together a plan for the b-day goody bags. As most of you know, I am a major hater of goody bags. They are a waste of money and resources and I H-A-T-E them. However, everyone expects them and they are the new way to signal the end of the party. This year I hit on an idea I actually really loved for Erik’s party (make your own trail mix bar) and wanted to do something similiar for Elsa’s party. Problem? Most of the kids will be even younger than her, it is actually really expensive to get a ton of ingredients and we don’t have a whole lot of time to deal with the kids trying to scoop ingredients.

We’re doing a Frozen theme, so I decided to make reindeer chow. I got blue and white candy melts, little tiny square pretzels and Cracklin’ Oats cereal and mixed it all together into a big blob of crunchy, sweet goodness. I packaged it in clear plastic bags and hope the kids aren’t too disappointed. I need to go find some kind of ribbon to tie on them, and maybe make some kind of tag that says “Sven’s Chow” or something else that is super creative. Help me be super creative, people! I need you!

My mom is coming Saturday afternoon, so that day is pretty much shot. We’ll get up, go to lunch, go to Erik’s soccer game, pick my mom up from the airport, have dinner, go to bed. Then the next day is Elsa’s party! I am trying to make it easy on myself this year. Bakery cake, these simple party bags, store bought veggie tray, delivered pizza and maybe a bowl of fruit. We’re doing it at MyGym so the entertainment is taken care of. I’m going to see if they can play Let It Go and we’ll try to get the kids to sing it (shouldn’t be that hard since we do it a million times a day. Today at soccer a mom I know told her 7 year old daughter to ask me my daughter’s name. I told her I’d give her a hint and started singing “Snow glows white on the mountain tonight” and she guessed it. Everyone knows the song.)

Oh, that’s the other thing. Elsa’s soccer class. Ugh. I wasn’t going to sign her up for spring soccer, but my friend’s daughter really wanted to do it but was too shy to do it alone. We signed them up for Wednesday at 2, which was perfect. It would have given us something to do in the afternoon, but I’d be home in time to get Erik off the bus. Then that class was cancelled because there were only three enrollments. So now my kids have swimming on Wed at 5:30, Elsa has soccer Thurs at 5 and Erik has soccer Friday at 6. Only three more weeks of the swimming, then we’ll be switching to Mondays at 4, which is much easier on my dinner schedule. No wonder families find themselves eating drive-thru dinners in the car every night. This is nuts! I try not to over schedule my kids, but swimming is a life skill and they both really enjoy soccer. What’s a mom to do? They both need the structured exercise. Hell, I should be out there running for an hour with them. I need to start homeschooling just so we can have a more flexible schedule.

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Four Things

1) I’ve been doing more reading lately, mainly due to more time at the gym. Gotta have something to keep my mind busy, right? I discovered Flora Segunada awhile ago and am really enjoying this little series. It’s a YA fantasy. Tag line says if you like HP you’ll like it. I’m not exactly sure they are related, but it is a down on her luck teen protagonist who somehow has the fortitude to save the world (or her own skin) despite not really having a clue. I especially like it because it’s not set in a random psuedo-European city. It’s set in alternate history (or maybe far future?) California. Lots of magic, Spanish, and adventure. I also read the Veronica Mars mystery and enjoyed it. I would have loved it better with the cast acting it out on the screen, but it was still fun. I think there is supposed to be another one coming out soon.

2) Poor Elsa had a fever today. I knew she must be sick when she was cuddling up with Mike all morning. Sure enough, fever of 102. She said she had a headache, so I was frantically searching the internet for meningitis symptoms and ready to take her to the ER. Then she said she it hurt to swallow so I stopped worrying so much. A three hour nap and a hit of Advil helped a lot. I’m just glad it happened this weekend and not next weekend (her birthday party is next week).

3) The time has come to talk to Erik about changing bodies. Luckily it seems that this is going to be a small step by small step kind of a talk. He hasn’t sprouted any hairs or developed BO, but I’ve noticed his skin has been really oily lately and he’s had some clogged pores. We had a talk about bodies changing as you grow and how bacteria likes to eat oil and how that will lead to pimples later on. I bought him some soap and some moisturizer and taught him how to use it tonight. At this point he thinks it is cool that he’s getting older. I really hope I don’t screw this up and give him a complex. My mom was not good at talks and basically didn’t tell me anything except that pimples were caused by a dirty face (after I was already super pimply–no prevention before it got out of hand) and that I was disgusting (maybe that’s not what she said, but that’s what I took away).

I’ve learned a lot about zits in my many years of fighting acne and the approach taken when I was a teen is so, so harmful (horrible scrubbing pads that took the skin off combined with super drying chemicals). Gentle is the answer for me, so I hope that is the answer for my kids. I would never want them to suffer through the kind of acne I had as a teen. My goal is to teach them not to touch their faces. That would make such a huge difference. Easier said than done, but maybe if I start them young I can drill it in to them. I would obsessively pick at my skin up until I found a skin care tool (two years ago) that pulls out blackheads and pops whiteheads very simply and easily without messing up your face.

4) Elsa keeps saying that the Easter Bunny is going to bring her a purple stuffed bunny. I hadn’t really given it much thought until I was at Target today. I started looking at the stuffed Easter animals and quickly realized there were no purple bunnies. I finally found one shoved in the very bottom of the bin. I brought it home and left it in the grocery bag (the kids don’t look in grocery bags so it was safe there). I was planning on hiding it after the kids were in bed, but BOOM. Mike comes in with it, sits it on the table between me and Erik and asks “What’s this?”

If looks could kill, poor Mikey would be a fried corpse right now. He didn’t know the plan, so it’s not really his fault, but now I can’t use that bunny since Erik is still a believer (I think). I told Mike he can spend his Sunday tracking down another purple bunny.

Honestly, I am not really on board with the Easter Bunny. Elsa is so excited about it but I don’t really know how to answer her questions. Where does the Easter bunny live? How does he travel? Why does he bring Easter baskets? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know! I have no idea what the mythology is. The Easter bunny freaked me out when I was a kid and I still don’t really like the idea. I think I saw a person dressed in a human-like bunny costume and it scared the shit out of me. I want my kids to have a great childhood and I go all out for Santa. I just can’t get with the EB program.

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Up and Down and All Around

*The never ending winter finally sort of ended and soccer season has begun. The first practice was cancelled because the fields were too muddy, but they finally opened them up (but they are still a mud pit) and Erik met his new team tonight. We’ll see how it goes, but Mike was not too impressed with the first look at the kids. It’s supposed to be for fun, so who cares. First game tomorrow after a mere one hour of practice.

Last season he was on a mediocre team. The first few losses were tough, but he survived them and came out a better person. We can actually play games with him now and he is more philosophical about losing. No temper tantrums, crying, or any of that non-sense. Learning disappointment is good for a kid. Who knew?

*Elsa’s class went on a little field trip yesterday. I still don’t understand where we were. I guess we were at someone’s house? It was a guy and his wife and a log cabin and big, giant yard way out in the country. They had some little chicks that the kids could look at (Elsa was terrified), the guy cut a bunch of wood with a chain saw (kids in general loved it, Elsa was terrified), then the kids went on a nature walk through the woods and found a bunch of deer bones. It was fine. I just. . . don’t understand who this guy was? Just a random lumberjack?

*The Frozen obsession rages on across the nation. There was a little girl in full Elsa regalia and a blonde side braid at the gym daycare the other day. She was PISSED at Elsa since Elsa can legit be called Elsa. The baker thought I was being ridiculous when I asked them to write “Happy Birthday Elsa” on the Frozen themed cake that Elsa picked out, people think Elsa is making up her name all the time and it upsets her. On the day she was born I wanted to change her name but everyone laughed at me. I guess I have the last laugh. Shoulda changed it.

*I can’t quit watching Frozen youtube song videos. Someone make me stop. I don’t even understand why there are a bunch of people lipsyncing songs while driving and making videos of it. And why am I watching this non-sense?

*Nor do I understand why people make youtube videos of playing with Barbies and Play-Doh. Elsa stumbled upon this delightful phenomenon today. When Erik got home he was puzzled “So. . . she’s watching a video of someone playing Barbie? Why doesn’t she just play Barbie?”

I DON’T KNOW! And I don’t know why he only watches videos of people playing Minecraft instead of actually playing Minecraft. I do not understand the year 2014. Someone sent me back to 1984 (only as an adult, not a child. And let me take my smartphone with me, and provide some kind of secret wifi from the future).

*Speaking of. . . I got a new phone! It is soooooo much better than my old one. My old one was half screen, half keyboard. I thought I would like having actual buttons, but it made the screen way too tiny. This one is a lot more screen and I love it! I have no idea what kind it is. I’d have to find the box. It’s from Verizon and that’s all I know.

*I’m finally getting back into the habit of daily gym time. I feel so much better, except I hate my new routine. I tried to go back to the elliptical but it killed my back and knee. I’m doing the exercise bike, which just seems so ineffective. I’ve finally figured out where to set the seat so it doesn’t kill my butt, so that’s a plus. I have also figured out how to set it to work up a sweat, so that’s good. I was setting it to Fat Burn, but I never broke a sweat so it felt pointless. I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as I am getting some exercise in, right? I’m still doing BodyPump twice a week and am finally starting to feel my muscles harden up (except my abs. Those will never get under control).

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The Real Party!

I was quite content with the lack of a party for my birthday. I figured it was just par for the course. I’m old, I’m crotchety, I don’t like being the center of attention. No big 40th blow out for me. I would not have wanted a big party with black balloons and over-the-hill jokes. In fact, such a party would have infuriated me. I’m not a very good sport.

Though I admit the birthday was lacking a certain spark this year.

We planned to have dinner with friends this weekend to celebrate and I planned on bringing an Olive Garden copy-cat black tie mousse cake. I love chocolate, and it’s a chocolate bomb. I worked my ass off on this cake for two days!

Anyway, we go over to our friend’s house and around 3:30 Mike suggested we cut the cake and have it with our coffee. I found this extremely odd since we usually have dessert after dinner, but I was eager to cut into it. Mike is not the type to ever ask for sweets, but whatever. I don’t say no to chocolate.

Then just when it’s time to start cooking dinner, everyone starts laughing and telling me that we are not having dinner at home. Linds was taking me to an undisclosed location and the dads were going to stay home with the kids.

I had no idea where we were going or if I was appropriately dressed. I thought maybe we would go to a local restaurant or maybe even a play or show. We ended up taking the metro into DC in the pouring down rain (better to metro in than drive in the monster storm!) and I still had no idea where we were going.

We ended up at Co Co Sala, a chocolate lounge and boutique. So yummy! And so fancy! I told Mike about this place two years ago, but we never went. Somehow he remembered and arranged for my friend to take me down there as a girls’ night out–with him footing the bill!

When we got there someone called Linds and said she was running late, but I had no idea who it was. I told Linds that I could only think of three people that I’d like to walk in the door and she laughed and said “those were the three people on the guest list!” Only one of the other three could make it, so there were only three of us. It was still really fun and delicious.

I’ve never eaten a gourmet meal before, so I felt like I was on an episode of a cooking show. The foods were strange, but delicious. The portions were super tiny, but we didn’t want a huge meal since we were going to gorge on chocolate after the main course.

I got an artichoke tart and then finished off with super yummy chocolate stuff that I can’t even describe. I also got a cocktail called a Fetish–strawberries and chocolate infused vodka. It was really sweet and I’d have liked to have another, but I didn’t want to get drunk down in DC. In fact, can someone make me a Fetish right now? Man, that thing was good.

After dinner, we walked our friend to her car and got to see all kind of city things that we never see up here in the ‘burbs. Lots of young’uns lined up outside clubs, limos dropping parties off, hotel doormen blowing whistles at cabs. . . just the vibe of the city. Though there were lots of drunk people out, it didn’t feel particularly unsafe. I guess we must have been in a good area. It was mostly fancier looking people that were out and about.

We rode the metro home and were safely tucked into bed by midnight (which sounds lame I guess, but I was very happy with that. I like sleep.).

The whole evening was such a surprise! I had no idea Mike was planning something like that or that he even remembered me mentioning that restaurant. It was very nice to celebrate with friends and chocolate and something very outside the realm of my ordinary life. It turned out to be a good birthday after all! This was so unexpected, especially since Mike had already gotten me a very nice birthday gift.

Oh, speaking of unexpected gifts, here’s a little story that is not exactly funny but I must tell.

We got a thick Amazon packet on Friday. I couldn’t recall ordering anything so decided I better not open it in case it was a late birthday gift. When Mike got home I showed it to him and he couldn’t remember ordering anything either. We had a little skirmish about who got to open it. Once we saw the book we basically threw it at each other and tried not to touch it. It was a big, thick booked called Outsmarting Your Cancer. We both just stared at it and kind of freaked, until Mike realized his dad probably had it mailed to us. I guess his dad had prostate cancer and used some of the ideas in this book and now he is cured. Or something? I don’t really understand the details.

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Friday Night

Life keeps going at such a fast pace that I never have a second to sit down here with my thoughts, so I turn to the devil that is Facebook instead of here. Though I have really been censoring myself a lot on there lately because I am annoyed by so many of the mommy posts that I never want to come across as “that mommy.” Except? We all know my kids are the bomb diggity, right? So I guess I am “that mommy.”

I was asked what Erik did for a science project. He used his Squishy Circuits* to test different kitchen items and see if they will conduct electricity. Surprisingly, cheese was the best conductor.

Our science fair is non-competitive and not a requirement. We only had about 20 participants (out of 517 students) so it is very low-key. Our school just can’t seem to get parent involvement and it drives me crazy. And let’s face it, a science project is not going to happen without parent support (even if it is just driving the kid to the store and paying for some supplies), thus the low turn out.

I had my big birthday on Wednesday, which is a really awful day for a birthday. But birthdays are really awful when you are turning fucking-40 so I guess that makes sense. I had too much going on to really celebrate. It was just a bad day all around. I didn’t realize I was PMSing, but I totally was. Elsa woke up at 6:30 and kept coming in my room every five minutes trying to get me out of bed. I am not a morning person so this was not making me happy. When the alarm finally went off, she came in my room and held a bright red light in my eye so I screamed at her to get it out of my face and then she cried and cried and cried because I hurt her feelings, so I felt like mom of the year. All day long she was cranky and tantruming (probably because she got up so early) and being extremely defiant. I hate defiance.

It may have been my birthday, but when you have little kids your birthday is no longer about you. The kids were over-the-moon excited to present their gifts to me and I had to act over-the-moon excited to receive two Frozen magnets, a purple pillow pet and a stuffed fish.

Obviously I was over the moon that they were over the moon about being gift givers. Erik is an extremely generous, sweet young man who is working very hard at giving thoughtful gifts. Elsa. . .well. . . she’s three. She has claimed my stuffed fish as hers and is not happy with me when I suggest that maybe I want to keep my own gift (and I really do not want to keep it!).

My friend came over after lunch and brought flowers and a cake, which was so thoughtful of her! It’s good to have friends.

Then I had to take the kids to swim lessons and by the time they were done we didn’t really want to go anywhere too far away so ended up at Outback so I splurged on a Bloomin’ Onion and lived to regret it. I can’t eat onions, so I was sick all night long. I really would love to go to an adult restaurant, but Wednesday night is not an easy night to find a sitter. We’ll go out when my mom is here in April.

Mike bought me exactly what I requested–a Silhouette cutting machine! I can’t wait to play around with it! He also got me Orphan Black Season 1, so we’ll be able to review before season 2 starts. I love that show.

Then, of course, I had to talk to my mom on my birthday. I really love talking about all the various ways my sister has screwed up her life and is neglecting her children. Such an uplifting topic. My dear sister has lost her HUD house (not actually her fault because the house had a secret basement that was forbidden by HUD standards) so she and her boyfriend are flopping on her husband’s couch. Yes, that statement made my brain hurt. She found a place, but the landlords did a background check on her boyfriend. He had over 50 charges ranging from DUIs to assualt to burglary, so they refused her and my mom was mad at the landlord. Why would any landlord ever rent to that mess?

I know without a shadow of a doubt that my sister is going to try to move into my mom’s house while she is here (she arrives April 12). I know my mom is going to spend her whole trip on the fucking phone, either yelling at her or kvetching with her 3 friends. I know she will speed out of here early, after promising my children that she will stay the whole time. I know that she only has two topics of conversation and I am SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SICK of both them 1) How to lose weight and be thin! And 2) Your sister is a meth-head whore so I better throw more money at her so I can end up in the poor house while she does meth!

I have flat out told her I don’t want to hear it and she’ll stop for a little while, but she has a boring life and those are the only two topics that interest her. I am dreading this visit. I have a feeling I am going to snap and it is not going to be pretty.

But now I really have to get to bed. Hopefully I’ll have a relaxing day tomorrow and can write some more! We are going over to our friend’s house for a birthday dinner and I’m taking the cake I’ve been working on for the past several hours (why do I do this to myself?). Erik is going to spend the night there, so I should get a nice break (I put Erik to bed, Mike puts Elsa to bed).

*Way cooler than Snap Circuits, or at least the children we’ve introduced them to think so. It uses playdough instead of wires to conduct electricity. You can make all kinds of thing, especially if you make the non-conducive sugar dough to keep things divided when you are creating sculptures. I kind of understood electricity from the snap circuits, but playing with the Squishy Circuits was much more education for me personally.

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Little of This, Little of That

I can’t believe how little I post here these days. I am super busy, but there is a sameness to the days that precludes posting every little detail. I wish I was still a naive young blogger who believed no one in real life would ever find my little corner of the internet. That ship has sailed and I know better. Now I can’t tell you all about my crazy acquaintances because I am pretty sure I’d be caught. Plus, I have a much better quality of friends these days so I wouldn’t want to write crazy stuff about them anyway. I know some crazy people, but I am exhausted by them and they aren’t worth the drama.

How about some quick bullet points?

*I was promoted to Assistant Regional Coordinator for MOMS Club a couple of weeks ago. I love it! However, it means a lot of computery e-mail time. I have several coordinators working under me and I’m the person they come to for answers (though I have people above me that I go to for answers). Right now I am supervising all of Maryland and a few chapters in Virginia. My supervisor and I work together really well. She was my trainer when I first started out and we think a lot alike. We’ve only met in person a couple of times since she lives in Kentucky.

*Today I knew my winter doldrums were finally gone for good when I took the vacuum upstairs and attacked my room and did a piles and piles of laundry. I do piles and piles of laundry every week, but this time I did some blankets as well. It felt good to get things in order.

I also emptied out Erik’s trash can in his room. I don’t do that very often because he doesn’t have much trash, so I was shocked and disgusted when I found very old URINE in the bottom of his trash can! It looked like someone had moved the trash bag and peed under it because the pee was all in the bottom of the can and not in the bag. DISGUSTING.

Erik swears he didn’t do it. It is possible his little friend did it, which kind of sounds like something that kid would do. I don’t know. His room has been stinky for awhile, but I couldn’t figure out why. I guess that problem is solved. He was just very lucky he was at school when I discovered the problem or who knows what I would have done to him. I am still in shock that someone would do that!

*I got a long over due hair cut today and am really pleased with it. I just wish I knew how to do the magic that a stylist can do. Guess we’ll see if I am pleased with it tomorrow when I have to do it myself.

I’ve needed a haircut for at least two months, but I am d-o-n-e with my regular stylist. She was always pushing color on me, and I don’t need color. The last three or four haircuts she gave me were awful and she also refused to consider a different style for my hair. Ummmmmmm. . . what? Sure, it was a cut that worked for me, but I do like to try new things. Hell, I had a great style in 1995, but that doesn’t mean I want a Rachel for the rest of my life. I would just agree with her because I didn’t have time to fight, but the last cut definitely pushed me over the edge. Finding a new stylist is really daunting, which is why I kept going back.

I tried someone totally new at a new salon and I loved her! She was a teacher of cosmetology and decided she was tired of the commute into DC, so got a job up here. Maybe this stylist break-up will be a lot less painful than I thought it would be.

*I’ve had three people in the past week tell me they are planning on naming their future (as yet to be conceived) daughters “Elsa.” Aaaaaaaannnnnnnddddd. . . . there goes her uncommon name, which I knew was going to happen as soon as I saw the movie. I know I just need to let it go.

Who knew I was going to end up with a Disney prince and queen? (I forgot the prince in Little Mermaid is named Eric).

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Looking Up

I don’t know if it is my e-mail or LJ, but I only got a couple of your comments in my e-mail. I just logged in and saw that there were a ton of other comments. Thank you, everyone! I think you are all right in several ways.

Yes, this winter is never ending. Living in the DC area for 8 years, I’ve gotten very used to mild winters and a lot of time spent outdoors. People here generally won’t go out if it’s below 50, but I just bundle the kids up and out we go. I find it more enjoyable than the muggy, buggy summers. This winter has been much too cold and snowy. Now that the snow is melted, we still can’t really go outside because it is a muddy mess. I almost fell on my butt when I checked the mail, the grassy area was so muddy and slippery. When 19 inches of snow melts over the course of just a few warm days, it leaves a lot of water.

Physical therapy has also caused a lot of this depression, I think. For the past month I’ve had absolutely ZERO me time. I drop Elsa off at preschool, head over to physical therapy, hang out with a bunch of weirdos while doing some seriously sexual looking moves for two hours, barely have time to run home and grab a bite to eat, then pick Elsa up again. No time to relax, work on a project, or enjoy those precious hours of freedom.

Plus, it means I wasn’t going to the gym, thus I was not getting my endorphins. I’ve discovered that I really can not function well if I am not getting those endorphins.

I am finally done with physical therapy, so hoping to get back on track with my free time and my gym usage. I have got to get this body moving!

Yesterday I somehow found some motivation (the toilet flooded, so I was very motivated to clean that up right away) and as long as I kept moving and didn’t sit down, I accomplished a lot and felt better. I just need to keep applying that lesson.

If I can’t get myself back on track by next Friday, I’m going to schedule a therapy appointment. I’ve never had therapy and it makes me nervous, but I really do not like feeling the way I’ve been feeling. If therapy is the kick in the pants I need, so be it. I’m open to the idea. . . just hoping I can get myself on track before then.

****Several Hours Later*****
Well, maybe it was just sunshine, fresh air and socialization that I needed. I spent about 3 hours at the park with the kids today, sitting on the park bench and talking to one of my best friends. What a difference it made!

The playground was not too muddy, but there were huge mud puddles in the grassy areas. It was 60 degrees out, so my friend and I let our three little ones (Elsa and her two boys) jump in the puddles for over an hour. You should have seen the side eye we were getting from other park people. It was mostly young families with their first babies barely walking, so they are not quite at the point of throwing up their hands and saying “oh well, that’s what plastic bags and washing machines are for.”

By lucky happenstance, our old neighbors showed up to do work on their house today. We took their daughter (Erik’s age) to the park with us and they had a great time playing together. Erik generally does much better with girls, which is kind of funny. He really is a gentle spirit, compared to many of the boys I know. He enjoys rough housing a little bit, but not like the boys around our neighborhood, who have no limits and leave bruises.

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Running on Empty

I am completely unmotivated. I’ve been completely unmotivated since before Christmas. I can’t seem to take care of myself, my children or my home. Yes, we are all alive and trucking along, but I can’t seem to pull myself out of my chair to do the nitty gritty chores not absolutely required. I don’t vacuum every day like I used to (sounds obsessive, but we have a carpeted dining room so it really needs to be done daily). I don’t interact with Elsa the way I’d like to. I can’t seem to stick to a diet and have completely given up on pretending that I care.

I don’t know.

I need a gigantic kick in the pants, but I don’t know what that kick might be. Mike says I just need to get a job, but nope. Not gonna happen until Elsa is in kindergarten.

I think a huge part of the problem is that I am not socializing all that much anymore. Now that Elsa is in preschool I don’t have many MOMS Club events to go to and I’m getting lonely. I never thought of myself as an extravert, but as I grow older and learn to know myself better I’ve discovered that I am an extravert if I’m with the right crowd. It’s just a matter of finding that crowd. My crowd is slowly moving away and I’m not sure how to replace it.

I feel especially bad that I have been so short with Elsa. She is in the stage that I really can’t handle very well–constantly telling me she doesn’t like me, wants a new mommy, wants to live somewhere else. Yet, she is also constantly pulling at my clothes and sticking her hands under my shirt to grope my belly and boobs. She even tried to nurse when I was getting in the shower and leaned over to put my towel down! Talk about a surprise! Today her preschool teacher pulled me aside and said I needed to work on having her not grope the teacher. She didn’t say it quite like that, but that is what she meant.

I am in a bad cycle with her and I have to change up the game. I am patient, patient, patient, patient, then blow up, then apologize profusely and sometimes give her what she wanted even though I know I am completely undermining my own parenting. I have to start preventing the blow up. I have to get control of myself.

This is a really hard age and I know that. We will get through. I just hope we get through with minimal psychological damage. She is such a different child than Erik. In some ways she is so much easier, but in other ways she is infinitely harder. He was not sensitive at all. Basically you have to yell at him to get his attention and even then he just looks right through you or says “oh, come on.” She melts down at a raised voice. Yet she doesn’t listen to a normal voice. So I yell. And then she wants a new mommy. Is it any wonder?

I really need to do something to refresh myself–my parenting skills, my eating habits, everything. If I was a robot, I could be re-booted. Maybe even refurbished. As it is, I am feeling stuck and don’t know what to do to unstick me.

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Valentine’s!

We ended up having a really nice family Valentine’s Day yesterday. I am so proud of Erik–he is getting to be so thoughtful and mature. It is really nice to see all the blood, sweat and tears we’ve put into making him a good citizen pay off. Elsa is still in the feral animal stage, which can be so disheartening, then we look over at him and see that yes, indeed, thoughtful parenting will eventually create a thoughtful kid.

When I went to bed the night before, I left a Valentine’s gift out for each family member (excluding myself). When Erik realized I didn’t have a gift he was very, very upset and immediately started making me cards, giving me his chocolate, and telling me how much he loved me. He sacrificed his chocolate for me! That’s huge! I also got a card from a secret admirer, so I told Mike he better watch out! Haha! It was fairly obvious who the secret admirer was–the handwriting was very Eightish.

We spent Friday morning making Valentine’s for the kids’ parties (they were delayed till Tuesday since Friday was a snow day) and Erik spent a long time thinking about the cards for each individual child. It was pretty cool to have a “boy” pack and “girl” pack of Valentines so he could semi-customize each card. He gave most of the girls a card from Frozen, but the girl he hangs out with got a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle card. I was amused (and yes, we did have a talk about gender roles and there not really being things that are for boys and for girls, that anyone can like anything).

I know this sounds silly, but I am just so proud of him for recognizing that not every body likes the exact same thing he likes. He’s getting empathy! It’s a long road for a child to develop empathy, but it’s a beautiful thing when it finally happens.

It was also funny because I told him we had M&Ms to tape on the cards and he was coming up with all kinds of crazy schemes to tape them on individually. He didn’t realize they came in single serving bags.

Later, when Mike came home with flowers and a card, I pointed them out to Erik to show that he didn’t have to feel sad for me. He was quite put out and wanted me to know that his gift was much better than his father’s gift. We were definitely getting some Oedipal vibes.

Then!

Then!

Last night he declared he was going to sleep with us, and wouldn’t get out of my bed until I rather forcibly kicked him out. That never happens, so I was wondering how much he realized about Valentine’s being the holiday of love and if he was subconsciously or even consciously trying to prevent some lovin’.

I made Mike an origami fortune teller (more commonly known as a cootie catcher) with date nights listed on the inside. We didn’t have a babysitter scheduled and the roads were crap, so going out was not in the cards for us. I hate going out on Valentine’s anyway. I find crowds very overwhelming.

He ended up picking fondue night followed by chocolate, so we did a family fondue night. The original idea was some sexy chocolate time, but let’s face it. We are old, have little children that might interrupt us at any moment, and had just washed the sheets. We made chocolate fondue and had regular vanilla sex after the kids were in bed. With kids, that’s about as exciting as we get (and it is plenty good enough for me).

My mom is talking about coming over in April, so I’d really like to plan a date night while she’s here. I want to go into DC and either do a walking tour or see a show, then go to a fancy restaurant and stay at a nice hotel for a relaxing evening of fun. Nothing says relaxing like listening for little footsteps out of one ear.

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