Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thanks, I feel alot better now :)

Thanks to everyone for your confessions--I mean, responses--to my post last week about trying to be a supermom. I find it very funny that everyone uses outside help in some form -- why has this never really occurred to me? We've considered hiring a cleaning service before but I always thought of it as extravagant and a little lazy. I think I just need to train myself to think differently - because TH and I both grew up in lower-class families with single mothers, it's hard for us to accept that it's okay to pay someone else to do things like clean the house or help with the kids. So after a long talk with TH about what things cause us (me, mostly LOL) stress in our daily life, we've made a few plans over the weekend that should help alot:
  • We interviewed a cleaning lady and we're going to start with every other week service. I was pretty surprised at how affordable it is; somehow I thought this was really expensive. Now I can't wait until she starts - the only downer is that she can't start until next week, AFTER J's birthday party.
  • We finally got our act together with the whole preschool thing - meaning J finally got called up from a waitlist he's been of for the past 3 months for a school that is perfect for everyone - it's convenient to our jobs, it's affordable, the curriculum is great, the facility is beautiful, J loved the setting when we visited, etc. He's going to go 3 days a week at first and then in the fall we'll probably go to 5 days a week.
  • I signed up for a glass art class through our local rec center. Before having kids I spent alot of my down time drawing, painting, and crafting. Before Jr. was born I imagined that the 3rd bedroom would eventually become my studio/craft space...alas, now it's a nursery. As life has gotten busier I've really gotten away from that creative outlet and I think it will be so helpful for me to learn a new medium as well as (let's face it) have a night away from the kids once a week. I can't wait!
  • TH and I hammered out a tentative schedule that allows me to work out more regularly. Hopefully once we have the cleaning service some of the time I usually spend after the kids go to bed doing "chores" can be devoted to burning some calories. We'll see about this one, Jr. is literally exhausting me/us right now with illness and allergies and waking up 8 times a night (I wish I was joking) so the whole working out thing may have to wait.
  • I'm going to work on meal planning. The baby is the easiest one right now - making the baby food has turned out to be way easier and much more convenient than I thought it would be, one Sunday afternoon of steaming & straining veggies makes enough food to last him almost a month. I wish that were true for the rest of us but I'm going to keep working on it...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Okay, supermoms, 'fess up. How do you do it?


My archenemy, my nemesis, the bane of my existence. Piled up all over the house - clean grown-up clothes unfolded in baskets by the washer, clean baby clothes in a pile on the ottoman next to my bed, dirty kids clothes overflowing the hamper in J's room, a dry-cleaning drop-off bag slung over the bottom newel post where "somebody" hung it LAST WEEK "to go with me on my way to work." Half of my work clothes pretty much live in the clothes basket; by the time I get done putting them away I have a new load or two in the hamper waiting to be washed. This is one of those areas that for some unfathomable reason has become alot harder to stay on top of since having Jr. I'm not sure why, it's not like he makes alot of laundry by himself. Well, actually, being an infant I guess he does make a good amount of laundry but it doesn't seem like it should add that much to my workload. But as soon as I get a good flow going with the laundry, usually on a Saturday, Jr. will wake up from a nap or decide to be extra-clingy or J will need me to play with him and I'll have to abandon whatever I'm folding...and somehow not get back to it until days later.

It's a symptom of my whole house right now. The laundry. The dishes. The ever-spotted ceramic tile floor and grout that will never look clean no matter what I do. The cat hair on the stairs (who has time to vacuum the stairs on a regular basis?). The hard water stained shower doors. The papers piled up on the kitchen island patiently waiting to be shredded. All those little things that I notice when I scan every room in my house, the perpetual "to-do" list that never quite seems to get done. I know, I know, it's not really all that bad and I could have way worse problems, but I just can't seem to figure out how to keep my house at the level I'm most comfortable with (i.e. spotless) without going crazy or exhausting myself. Because it's not possible, of course. TH keeps telling me this (he's probably sick of me looking around and sighing melodramatically about what I perceive to be a mess), and I try to tell myself, but I REALLY want to know the secret!! I don't want to be a "slacker" mom! I'm a lot more comfortable riding in the supermom lane, thankyouverymuch. I get the feeling from reading other people's blogs and posts (probably my first mistake) that online, anyway, I'm in the presence of a few supermoms. And I want to know, how do you do it? How do you keep your house clean and your kids fed healthy homemade meals and your body in shape and your bills paid and BLOG for God's sake...and sleep, too? What is the secret?

Haha I'm kind of joking, but really. Any tips would be appreciated. Our schedule is fairly hectic on workdays, and I just can't seem to figure out how to do things without feeling like a hamster in a wheel, running at top speed and going nowhere. Recipes that can be made on the weekend and easily put together during the week (and of course not fattening LOL let's make it as complicated as possible) for quickly getting kids dressed and out the door without yelling and dragging and threatening to take away Hot Wheels cars...a beauty regimen that only takes 3.5 minutes in the morning (is there a magic product out there that miraculously straightens curly hair while you're sleeping?)...a way to clean and pack bottles & daycare bags while simultaneously running on the treadmill and paying bills online...and yes, a way to wash and fold several loads of laundry during a 2 hour nap...I'm all ears.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jr. at 6 months


Jr. is our little guy. He's so much smaller than J was. At 6 months J was a good 20 lbs, and his nickname as a baby was "Bam Bam" because he looked like a little linebacker (which is funny now because ever since he started walking he's gotten progressively taller and skinnier--we joke that when he has his clothes off he looks like a lollipop.) Jr., however, seems tiny in comparison. At his 6 month appointment yesterday he was a whopping 15.5 lbs, only gaining a pound in the last 2 months. I can still put 3 month size onesies on him easily. The other day he was wearing a hand-me-down outfit...that J wore when he was 8 weeks old.

Despite being little, Jr. is turning out to be our "good" eater. After the little nursing strike that caused me all that grief a few months ago, he has returned to nursing like a champ -- i.e. all day and unfortunately still, all night. We introduced solids about a month ago (and yes, I'm making the baby food as promised), and so far he likes everything -- sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, squash, applesauce, name it he'll eat a good amount of it. This week he was eyeing me eating homemade garlic mashed potatoes so I gave him some, and he scarfed down half of what I had on my plate.

Jr. is our feisty baby. When he wants to be (which is most of the time), he's LOUD. He "talks" nonstop, and yells, and screams, and fusses at the top of his lungs. When he's done with being in the exersaucer/swing/bouncy seat/etc. he is DONE, and he lets you know. As TH says, "he goes from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds." So true. He goes to the same daycare that J has been attending since he was 5 months old. Every day, the infants get a report that has their mood for the day circled: Happy, Playful, Fussy, or Tired. When J was a baby every single day "happy" and "playful" were circled. He never had "fussy," ever. Jr., however, every single day has "happy," "playful" and "fussy" circled. Which sums him up. When he's happy, he's exuberant, belly laughing and smiling so hard his eyes are almost squeezed shut. When he's having his daily fussy period, look out.

Jr. may be small, but he's strong. We have to watch out we've already had a few incidents of him almost pulling things over on himself. Although he isn't crawling yet, if he's close enough to grab something he will, and with a death grip that I've had to unpry with both hands. Yesterday his pediatrician attempted to show me a little trick for releasing a baby's grip when Jr. wouldn't let go of his stethoscope...and the nurse had to help him. When we were at the playground last week, on a whim I held Jr. up to the monkey bars and he grabbed them with both hands, and when I let go for a second that little baby actually hung on and starting pulling himself into a chinup. It was hilarious. I get the feeling that he's going to be mobile much sooner than J was - he's already rolling and scooting all over the house and almost sitting up unsupported.

Jr. is beautiful. I know that I'm his mother and I'm biased, but I stand by my assessment. I've taken countless pictures of him sleeping because when his eyes are closed and he's got the "sleep smile" he looks to me like a cherubic little angel, like something out of an old painting. He has gorgeous liquid brown eyes like his brother, and a pile of thick curls on top of his head that everyone comments on. I love the color of his caramel skin, and how he has a perfect little mouth. I could just eat him up!

Jr. is a mama's boy, much to my delight. He lights up when I come into the room, grabbing my face (and almost twisting it off with his little deathgrip) and slobbering on me. If he's across the room his eyes will follow me as I walk around, and all I have to do is stop and say, "I see you, Littleness!" (our nickname) and he breaks out into a huge grin. I've been blessed to be able to spend more time at home with him than I got with J thanks to my week on, week off schedule, and it shows. Sometimes at night he cries out and all I have to is pick him up and he lays his head on my shoulder with a big sigh, and goes right back to sleep.

Of course that's not what always happens, because Jr. is also our Bad Sleeper. At night, anyway. J was our Horrible Napper, with 20 minute catnaps all day until he was around 8 months old. Thankfully Jr. can be counted on to take at least 1-2 long naps during the day with no problem, but at night all hell breaks loose. A good night is if he only wakes up 2 times. Most nights are not that good. Some nights are ridiculously worse - yesterday thanks to teething (I think) I didn't get to sleep until 2am because he was up almost every hour, and then once I did finally fall alseep he was up again at 5am. We've half-heartedly tried some sleep training, but the problem isn't falling asleep on his own at the beginning of the night, it's STAYING asleep once he's down. I'm trying to hold out on the "real" cry it out stuff until he's around 9 months, when I'll feel a little more comfortable that he doesn't really need to nurse, but we may not last that long.

Jr. already idolizes his big brother. The one person in this house that can be counted on to ALWAYS make Jr. smile or laugh is J. I have never heard a baby laugh as hard as Jr. does when J does a silly little dance in front of his high chair. He's a mama's boy, but J is the first person that we saw him actually reach his arms out for, which he does whenever J walks by. If J is really upset and crying, Jr. will start crying, too. I can see the downside, though--I've noticed that Jr. also finds it hilarious when J is being naughty -- jumping off the back of the couch, chasing the cats, throwing things inside the house, running in and out of time-out doing his whole "You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man" routine. I'm doomed once they're able to double-team me.

This past 6 months has been the fastest of my life, it seems. Adjusting to having 2 kids has had its moments, but I still feel like this transition was alot easier for me the second time around. I'm much more confident in myself as a parent, especially because TH has had to travel quite a bit and I've spent alot of time handling things by myself. These kids are growing like weeds, and while I raise my voice on a daily basis more than I care to admit, I also wish we could slow things down and savor the time when our children are this small. With all of the gloom and doom I've been posting here lately, I've been neglecting to use this blog as a virtual baby book which was one of the reasons I started it. For every sad moment we've had over the past few weeks, the kids have given us lots of reasons to smile, and Jr. has continued to grow into another fantastic little boy that we're so blessed to have in our lives.

I leave you with a shameless baby video taken a few days ago. I think this one captures how stinkin' cute Jr. is, and also his feisty personality.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hard to wrap my mind around it.

Oh, what a strange, sad, stressful few weeks it's been. I know I've been completely neglecting this blog, because so much has been going on. It's funny because I have ALOT of thoughts about everything, but no time or patience to sit down and put my thoughts into words. I've tried to sit down and write this post four times now, but my mind just doesn't seem to be able to do it.

TH's mother passed away a week ago, following a long slow progressive illness that suddenly worsened at the beginning of March. In some ways I guess you could say we "knew" this day was coming -- we knew it was coming a few weeks ago when the doctor called from the hospital in Georgia and told TH, "If this was my mother, I would come down here immediately." We knew it was coming a few months ago when we went home for Thanksgiving and TH's mom was hospitalized the entire time (10 days), discharged on Thanksgiving Day. We knew it was coming almost 8 years ago, the day after our wedding, when she first had signs of a heart problem and spent the day in the ER with mild chest pains and a swollen arm.

Knowing it's coming, and actually facing it when the time finally does come are two different things.

It's so weird to think that we're getting to the age where it's surprising, but not completely unheard of, to lose a parent. It's so weird to think that our kids are only almost-4 and 6 months old and one of their grandparents is already gone. I've known TH since high school, so it's weird to think that I'll never talk to his mother again, someone I've known for almost 20 years. It's unbelievably hard for me to wrap my mind around, so I can only imagine what TH is going through.

Losing TH's mom has made us think alot about our own mortality. It's a huge reminder that we're not going to be here forever. What is like, to say goodbye to your children? To hold your new grandbaby and know that you'll likely never see that child grow up? Jr. only met his grandmother once, in the hospital at Thanksgiving, when he was 8 weeks old. J knows who she is, he talked to her on the phone almost every day, but eventually those memories will fade. That's what is really hard, realizing that someone who had so much influence on our lives will be completely unknown to our children. It's funny how you don't understand until you're a parent that your own parents had whole entire lives before you were born that you didn't know anything about and that had nothing to do with you. It's just sad to think that our kids' grandmother is part of the life that they'll never know, a person they'll hear alot about but never experience.

We've also been faced with trying to explain this whole situation to J. Unfortunately we already had to start this conversation with him when TH's grandmother died in December. (What a terrible year for TH's family, grandmother and mother just 3 months apart.) It's so hard to know what J understands. He knows who his grandmother was, but he doesn't quite get what her relationship was to TH, and looks confused when we say that "Daddy is sad because he'll never see his mommy again." He keeps asking questions that are impossible to answer. Why did she get sick? Why did she die? Where did she go? When will we see her again? The other day he was playing with his Little People airport and told me that the people on the plane were "going down to Georgia because their grandmas died a little bit." I hate to think that because of TH being away alot the last couple of months, J now associates going on the plane with someone dying or going to a funeral.

This is the dark part of life, I guess. We just thought that we would be lucky and have alot more years before we'd have to say goodbye to one of our parents...