Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good, good things

(via pinterest, original link)
1. Having friends over after school for pizza and beer.  Messy and crazy afternoons don't have to be secretive and lived in your house by yourself. (This was spontaneous and I'm going to plan more deliberately soon)

2. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins, apple cider donuts, hard cider, pumpkin beer, jack o lanterns, apple picking, hay rides.  

3. Balance. I feel like Ben and I truly split the parenting and housekeeping 50/50.  He's home for dinner and bedtime at least 4 out of 7 nights a week, and gets the kids out the door to school five days a week with no help from me.  I do dinner and afternoon activities pretty often.  We split time off for sick kids and speech therapy appointments.  I think this is rare in modern families.  I feel really lucky to be experiencing it.

4. A freshly washed Brita pitcher with a brand-new filter installed.

5.  Health. Elliott had a health scare this week.  He had what I thought it was a seizure and scared the shit out of me.  I called 911.  We went the ER.  He is fine (he had a breath holding spell, apparently) and everything is back to normal.  I take for granted that my children will always be vibrant and healthy, but it's a blessing.  A good, good thing.

6. Neighbors who pour into the street to support us at any sign of trouble.

7. Friends who text, call, help with sub plans, leave coffees on my desk, check in, send love, and never tire of hearing me complain.

8. Magazines

9. Going a little crazy in Barnes and Noble and turning up with books for all my kids (Milo, Elliott, and Room 27).

10. Walgreens prints Instagram pictures directly from your phone and they come out square (4X4) so nothing gets cut off.

11. The new iPhone update, which feels like a completely new phone you get for free.

12. Getting older.  I'm loving my late 20s, but I kind of feel like my 30s are when I'll start shining brighter.  Almost there!

13. New Girl is back.

14. Baths in the dark, lit only by candles and the glowy luster of Pinterest on the Kindle.

15. The triumph of having both boys' fingernails cut.

16. FaceTime with family.

17. Birthday season.

18. Babies who wake up singing.

19. Lazy Saturday mornings

20.  A sister who endures about 4 hours of travel in a single day to sit in my living room, hold my babies, eat pie, and convince me that life is good and we'll all be okay.

21. Friends who read my silly ramblings, never mock the indulgence of writing about your life on the internet, and take time out of their day to acknowledge what I'm doing here.  It makes me glow to hear that people follow along; I'm so proud to have you as an audience.  Thank you.

Please, please, please tell me your "good, good things" in the comments.  Being a person is hard, but we're doing a really good job.  Lets celebrate.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Morning Real Talk

I'm stealing 15 minutes for real talk.  This shit is hard.  Super duper awfully hard.  Harder than last year.  Harder than being home.  And being home is HARD.  But...I'm having a harder time than ever.  And sometimes I feel like that's a new normal, which defeats me.

I'm stressed because teaching is so much more work than I remembered.  There is always something else to plan, ALWAYS something new to implement, and routines to master, and so many meetings.  I also forgot how great it is to bond with a class and start to love them, so that helps.  But honestly, loving them means I put more emotionally into the room.  And after exercising patience and coming up with logical consequences and being kid-friendly all day, coming home and doing the same thing for Milo drains me.  I went from loving 2 kids to 22.  That's one curve.

Then I started grad classes, and they're GRAD classes, so there is a lot of work and discussion posting.  It's a class about families and their influence on children's lives and how to involve them in the classroom community, which I find so interesting.  My first project is a brief genealogy and lifestyle analysis of the last 3 generations of my family!  I would do that for fun!  But I have NO TIME to devote to this, at all.  If it wasn't required for my license, I would definitely take the  classes a little later, when my kids needed me less.  I keep picturing myself walking in the spring, taking pictures with the boys in my robes, trying to visualize my way out of this one..  But nope.  It's at the bottom of my priority list, but undroppable.

There has been a mix up with daycare, and this is the biggest thing throwing me off.  There were some situations with paperwork and a terrible illness in the family of the lady who watches the boys, and until everything is sorted out, the boys are not going to daycare.  Instead, a neighbor related to the daycare family has been coming to watch the boys at our house.  It sucks.  Ben used to have a small window of free time in the mornings and on Mondays while the boys at school; he did chores and ran errands and got groceries.  That window is gone.  The boys aren't playing with friends, they're here all day in their same boring house, and avoiding that is one of the main things that made me feel good about being a working mom. Ben and I can't take any more time off work than we already have to make going to classes and stuff work, so we're stuck with this solution right now.  It's supposed to be temporary, but it's already been two weeks, and it's wearing on us.

The boys aren't sleeping.  Elliott is teething, or something?  Milo knows how to get out of his crib and does it CONSTANTLY.  We moved Elliott back into our room.  Again.  When Elliott freaks out, Milo stays up because he's scared about his brother crying.  Most of the time, both of them end up in our bed.  We are exhausted.

Honestly, writing our situation out helps me realize that we're doing okay.  I'm focusing on the concept of balance, long and short term.  This part of our lives will be busy and crazy.  There will be other times when we'll miss the chaos.  This month might be awful, but maybe November or March will be more settled.  I know others have it worse.  We're all fighting something.  But right now, I'm wiped.  I'm worried about how wiped Ben is.  I'm looking forward to some sort of break for our family.

Pictures are from this weekend.  We're tired but quite adorable.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Two-Under-Two Review: Sholan Farms

Last weekend we checked out Sholan Farms for the first time.  It's city-owned, volunteer-operated, and completely adorable.  I've lived in this area since 2003 but never seen this little farmland in the middle of our city.  We loved it so much that we're going back for Milo's birthday party in October.

Laurel came with us.  We picked apples, went on a hayride, bought treats at the farmstand, and played in a pretty epic sand pile in the parking area.  There were portapottys, a shaded picnic table area, and tons of helpful volunteers full of information.  

They hayride was the best part of the afternoon.  It's actually a "wagon ride," since there is no hay, and it's ACTUALLY a guided tour, giving information about farming practices, history of the space, and uses for the grounds.  They have a community garden section where you can rent a plot for only $25 and garden all season.  The other thing that got me choked up was a row of young tress along the back of the property: memorial trees.  I can't even.

The boys had an awesome time.  I even ended up feeding Elliott a bottle in the middle of the orchard and it was so peaceful that we bothered no one.  Milo went INSANE for the apples.  He's always liked them, ever since my Grandma gave him his first taste during our last visit with her.  This time, he ran like a madman, crouching under trees, sorting through all the fruit on the ground and saying "appa, appa, appa!"  He ate half of about seven apples and threw a ton of rocks.  

Weirdly, the Gala apple row we were trying to pick from seemed like it changed to different variety halfway down the row, but there were about eight trees with the most delicious apples; they were an absolutely perfect pink.  Normally I struggle to use up all the apples I pick, but our bag is already gone one week later.

It was such a good day and really right in our backyard.  I love living here.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to School Outfits (and feelings)

One week of school is down and I am feeling SO many feelings.  When am I not?  It's been five days of daycare, three days in front of students, one extended long weekend, and I can barely remember my stay-at-home days.  I spent some TIME on Saturday, going through my pictures from this summer and updating a completely shameless album called season of the stay-at-home mama.  It's basically 250 pictures of my kids, and nothing else.  Posting the pictures helped me put it all to bed, and I feel really energized about this awesome new year.

I've stepped up this year, really wanting to present myself professionally at work.  I've been putting thought into my work clothes and getting myself very prepared the night before so I can give myself time to look the way I want to the next morning.  Only once did I fall asleep on the couch before packing lunches, checking the spare clothes in the backpack, and presetting the coffee maker.  The next morning sucked, so I won't do that again.

This is what I wore the first day back to work.  The shirt is from Old Navy, the skirt is from Mod Cloth, and I probably never would have tried the belt form Ann Taylor Loft if my sisters hadn't convinced me it would look good.  I felt really cute and put together all day.  Pennants are the theme for my classroom, so my necklace was a finishing touch.  This was the first time many of my coworkers had seen me since January, so I wanted to present well.

This image quality is really, really, REALLY terrible, but there was no one around to help me capture this cute outfit.  The skirt is dark denim from Old Navy, the shirt is from Ann Taylor Loft, and the cardigan and shoes are from Target.  I love this skirt and will wear it all the time, and I thought the whole outfit together looked professional but casual.  I wore it to our district's "opening day," and a grant I had helped write and submit was awarded to us at the huge meeting, so I was glad I liked what I was wearing in front of every teacher and administrator alive.

This is what I wore for my first day with my students.  It's another grainy, before-sunrise kitchen picture, but I love it.  Eshy is the perfect picture-taking accessory.  The skirt is WILDLY comfortable and from Old Navy, the t-shirt is from Target, and the belt is the same from before.  I need more belts- this tucked and belted look really works for my figure.  I've worn this skirt two other times, to a party and to Ikea.  It's magic.

After this, life got even crazier and I forgot to keep taking pictures, but I did two dresses with cardigans for the other two days of the week.  And then, after school on Friday, I changed back into yoga pants and took the boys for ice cream to celebrate our new routines.

There's more to be said about balance and routines and how Elliott is adjusting to being out of the house, but for now I'm just celebrating that we made it through a week.  It will get harder and harder, when the novelty wears off and lesson planning gets more demanding and grad classes kick in.  Until then, I'm just enjoying my return to the world of working mamas.

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