Early Birds

It’s Saturday morning and I have been up since 5:00 because L woke up at 5:00 and woke everyone else up along with him. Sometimes he doesn’t wake E up, so one of us can sneak into their dark bedroom and airlift him out of his crib and let her sleep later, but not today. Today they were both up and both hopping mad. We let them come into our bedroom and watch an episode of Daniel Tiger so we could lie down (CW went back to sleep but I couldn’t because once I’m up, I’m up).

Why is this happening?! It’s been happening since the time change — in the days immediately after that, he was waking at 4:30 instead of his usual 6:30 — and I don’t understand why. He’s getting an hour less sleep now and it doesn’t make sense. It would’ve made sense to wake ONE hour early for the first few days, but he started waking TWO hours early and then shifted to one hour early. Both kiddos have been shortening their naps recently, too. They used to nap for at least 2 hours, sometimes as much as 3, but now it’s 1-1.5 max. I’m not pleased.

I don’t think they’re old enough to understand an “OK to Wake” type alarm clock yet, are they? (They’ll be two in two weeks.) we can’t really let L cry in the bedroom for long in the morning, either, because if we do he’ll eventually wake E, who usually needs/wants more sleep. I’d be fine with letting him hang out quietly until at least 6, but he gets mad and starts yelling and won’t settle back down. Shifting their bedtime later doesn’t cause them to sleep in, either. It’s just makes for an angry and exhausted shitshow. I have no idea what, if anything, to do. I guess this is just when I get up, now.

Outside

The kids absolutely love a playground and we are lucky enough to have one in our neighborhood. It’s a frequent outing on weekend mornings: plop them in the jogging stroller and head down to the playground a mile from our house. We stay and play for a while and then head back home. Everybody gets outside, everybody gets some exercise, everybody wins.

Except yesterday, when we got there to find that the gate had broken and been zip-tied shut. It’s the kind of gate that takes an ID card to open (the playground is for HOA members only, which 🙄), and it seemed like when the mechanism broke, rather than leave it open and available to everyone, someone decided to shut it completely and prevent ANYONE from getting in. (Sure, we could “just” cut the zip ties, but who carries scissors to the playground?)

I hate this attitude and it’s not the first time I’ve encountered it with our HOA. We’re constantly hearing about how people who don’t even live in our neighborhood want to come use our pool and playground. Allegedly, people try to “jump the fence” on the reg. I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard our HOA president promising to build a wall around the neighborhood soon slash claiming it will be paid for by the less affluent neighborhood to the south.

So anyway, we of course had two very broken-hearted toddlers in our hands who cried the entire walk home, L wailing repeatedly, “ow-SHIIIIDE! ow-SHIIIIDE!” It was little consolation to his soul to be told that, although we were not at the playground, we were still technically outside.

And that is how today, when it started pouring down rain just as we arrived at a public park (not taking chances with our neighborhood playground again), we wound up at the McDonald’s PlayPlace — you can bet we were not going to break those children’s hearts again. You want to slide? You are god damned getting to slide. And mama is buying some warm chocolate chip cookies and a giant Diet Coke.

Friday Night’s Alright for Posting

It’s Friday evening and work was too busy today for me to dash off a post. Now that I’m home and fed and the kids are in bed, I’m hanging out with my husband watching TV, which is also less than ideal for blogging. But that’s what we rugged NaBloPoMo people do, you see: we blog every day in November no matter what! Hashtag brave. Hashtag blog warrior.

Here’s something: on weekends, we like to try to get out of the house with the kids at least once if not twice (before and after nap) per day. We do a lot of parks/playgrounds and the library as well as taking them out on whatever errands or shopping we might have. This is all fine. But every weekend, we’re like, “What are we doing? Where should we go?” and all of our options feel a bit boring. But staying home gets boring and restless and frustrating, so we try to minimize that.

Here’s where I’d maybe like some suggestions: what are some toddler-friendly activities we might not be thinking of? Think simple, small-town, and preferably free. For example, we don’t have any museums, zoos, aquariums, etc. What basic stuff am I not thinking of? I’m sure there’s something.

2017 So Far: Constant Family Illnesses and Political Shitstorms

Oh, hi. Hello there. I am out of practice with blogging, but let’s see what happens here:

I was laboring under the illusion that I would suddenly have all kinds of freedom and autonomy when the twins started daycare in January and I don’t know whether to laugh or weep at how wrong I was. Parents, I know y’all know what I am taking about.

So far, the babies have experienced: norovirus (twice), RSV, Hand Foot and Mouth, and various respiratory viruses resulting in several hard-to-treat ear infections. (They now have ear tubes, so fingers crossed that pattern is over.) From the twins, I myself have caught the noro, RSV, and various colds, resulting in sinus infections, bronchitis, ear infections, and pneumonia. My husband has been similarly affected. It has not been pretty.

So basically, this is how daycare works: we pay daycare as much money as we pay to our mortgage every month, but much of the time the kids are too sick from GERMS THEY PICKED UP AT DAYCARE for them to actually GO TO DAYCARE.

ANYWAY.

We’ve had at least one child home sick every day this week. Fine. Not like we have jobs to go to or anything.

GOD.

So in addition to being sick and caring for sick people and barely — just barely — managing to perform my full-time job at a proficient and productive level, I have had time for … approximately nothing. It’s fine. Whatever.

I don’t even want to get into it, but also politics lately are sapping any emotional energy I may otherwise have had leftover. I’m sad and disappointed and anxious and suspcious and bubbling over with pure, white-hot, brain-melting RAGE.

I’M FINE.

In other news that has happened since the last time I posted:

I have been officially promoted at work to the highest rank possible for my position (to take effect when fall semester starts) and received a college-level teaching award. Not to brag, but I guess I’m pretty all right at my job.

I joined Biggest Blogging Loser, a friendly weight loss/good choices competition among my online lady friends and it helped me stay motivated to lose about 15 pounds from January-March. We just started a new round this week and I’m hoping to lose about 15 more, which will put me back at my pre-pregnancy weight. (The only problem being, of course, the constant family illnesses and political shitstorm are both driving me to comsume too much comfort food and wine.)

I’m back to hitting pretty decent paces on the run, which has me feeling good about my fitness and is a nice reminder that fitness and weight are not necessarily the same.

I have about 150 final exams to grade and then I will be done with spring semester. Deep breaths.

We are planning some summer travel, hopefully to include a visit to my friend on the gulf coast, a visit to in-laws in Iowa, and maybe a stop in St. Louis to see another friend on the way back.

Had to run an errand on campus, so these little bunnies got to run around on the grass for a while. 🐰🐰 Lew + Ella. 💙💗

My children are gorgeous, amazing little maniacs who keep it dialed up to eleven at all times and I love them so much.

 

Pumpkin Patch and Halloween

We have been enjoying the fall lately. Here in Alabama, the weather is still regularly in the mid-to-upper eighties, but I think we’ve had two or three cooler days so far. See evidence below: I actually wore a jacket to the pumpkin patch!

Four of Us

This was my first time visiting an actual pumpkin patch on an actual farm (as opposed to buying my pumpkin from a giant bin in front of the grocery store). It was a really pleasant day to stroll around and enjoy the fresh air and take pictures. I’m sure we’ll do it again — the babies were still too little this year to enjoy some of the kid stuff they had available (pens of baby goats & pigs, a big slide, hay bales to climb on, etc.), but they’ll have a blast next time.

Mom & Eleanor & Linus
Dad & Eleanor & Linus

We came home with a couple of pumpkins for the front porch (which we didn’t carve — I’m just not that into carving, plus they last longer if you don’t) and the strong desire for some pumpkin muffins, which I made. Successful outing.

Halloween was really fun, too. I mean, can you EVEN?!

file-nov-04-1-07-50-pm

I can’t. Can’t even.

I’d been feeling all this pressure to come up with some really cute thematic twin costume and I kept coming up empty. Some year we’re going to do Luke & Leia for them and Darth Vader & Padmé for us, but we figured that’s a better idea for when they’re older. This year, we just didn’t come up with any ideas we really liked. Ideas that were suggested and then vetoed: lobster and chef, shark and surfer, bee and flower, etc.

At one point, we had nearly decided on ordering a matching pair of pumpkin costumes from Amazon, but we decided to sleep on it. The next day, the pumpkin costumes we liked had sold out and every other pumpkin costume was either not available via Prime (and wouldn’t ship until November) or was not in their size. THWARTED! Everything else we thought was cute on Amazon was crazily overpriced (like, $40 or more PER COSTUME, which is insane).

In desperation, I checked the Halloween aisle at Target and happened upon the elephant and the giraffe. Guess what Wubbanubs they happen to have and love? An elephant and a giraffe.

THEY COULD DRESS AS THEIR BINKIES, YOU GUYS. And so they did.

Trying the costumes on them for the first time was one of my best parenting moments so far. Each of them was absolutely DELIGHTED by the sight of the other twin in costume. They just looked at each other in amazement, grinning and giggling and eventually trying to grab each other’s faces. It was hilarious and adorable and so, so sweet. They’re the best babies.

On Halloween evening, it was 88º and I was wondering if we would regret the warm, plush costumes, but the kiddos did great and didn’t seem to mind at all. We went out for pizza and then explored the downtown trick-or-treat, checking out people in their costumes and hanging out with a few friends who’d also brought their kids. There were tons of adorable costumed babies being pushed around in their strollers and the whole thing was fairly delightful.

Next year, I suppose we’ll do the neighborhood trick-or-treat. Our neighborhood is really perfect for it (sidewalks, lots of families, pretty safe), but it didn’t seem like a good fit this year. Honestly, I just didn’t feel comfortable knocking on doors to basically just ask people to admire my kids and not actually collect any candy. E&L are still too little for candy and it would have felt like collecting candy for ourselves. Well, it would have ACTUALLY BEEN collecting candy for ourselves. Which, yeah, I like candy. But I have a job. I can buy my own candy.

 

 

 

Thanks & Mission Accomplished

We finally got to have our Thanksgiving dinner, and the food turned out great! It was also really nice to have my dad and brother here for a couple of days (even though my brother knows how to get on my last nerve like nobody else in this world can). I felt really happy and grateful to be in a position to invite them to stay with us, and to cook for them, and to have the time to spend together.

Yayyy!

I was really proud of my pies, I have to say. I’m sure I should act all cool and like it’s no big deal ’cause I, like, so totally bake this kind of stuff all the time so whatever, but no. Damned proud of my pies. They both got mostly eaten (though a couple of slices remain, hooray!) and the crust was complimented several times by my brother. Quite happy!

Dinner was fantastic, too. CW basically worked his butt off all day in the kitchen because he was in charge of the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the green bean casserole. I jumped in there for the last thirty minutes and threw my Celebration Roast, sweet potatoes, & parsnips in the oven to roast and I outsourced the cranberry sauce to my brother, who I knew could make a good one. So I basically sat around all day drinking Bloody Marys, occasionally asking CW if I could help with anything, and reminding everyone that I’d spent the entire previous day in the kitchen making pies, so it wasn’t like I was being lazy or something. Poor CW burned the hell out of his arm on the top of the oven (he’s OK), but otherwise he pulled everything off without a hitch and the food was delicious.

Dinner was had! Happy Thanksgiving!

The only drawback to the weekend was that our big dinner was yesterday, which was Saturday, and today is Sunday, and tomorrow — as one might predict! — is Monday. I desperately wished all day today that I could somehow turn back the clock and make it Friday instead of Sunday. I’m not one to get the typical “Sunday Night Blues,” where you dread going back to work. I really like my job and I don’t mind going back to it. The problem today was that my normal Sunday tasks, which usually involve prepping for Monday in the form of class activities, lectures, reading, emailing, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and generally organizing my life, were far, far less appealing than usual.

If I could have planned the ideal day for today, the day immediately following my big Thanksgiving meal, it would have consisted of the following: eating pie for breakfast, lounging on the couch in PJs with coffee and the dog and either a new book or an old favorite Christmas movie, having Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch, taking an afternoon nap, going for a run through the fall leaves right before dusk, taking a hot shower, drinking a cold glass of wine, and then setting about preparing some more Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner, followed by some more lounging on the couch with my husband and perhaps staying up late watching too many movies and eating another slice of pie.

Dusk run

Fine, fine. I got to do a lot of those things. I did lounge on the couch with coffee and a book for an hour or so; I did have Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch; I did go for a run through the fall leaves right before dusk, take a hot shower, and pour myself a glass of wine before I sat down to write this post. I also, in the midst of all that, found the time to do laundry, plan class activities, catch up on email, create a Prezi for my lecture class, and plan and organize my next week of work and other tasks. Okay, fair enough. I suppose the day has been equal parts productivity and relaxation.

I should also mention that, as today is November 30th, I have officially completed my NaBloPoMo effort, successfully posting once a day, every day, for the entire month (uh, except November 1st, because I started a day late). It has been really nice — and also, at times, really challenging — to post here once a day. There were certainly days when I found myself without anything I really wanted to say, but I still made myself open a WordPress window or app and write some words down, even if I didn’t feel like it was that good or interesting or important. I still did it. And I’d like to say thanks to all of you for reading along, commenting here or via Twitter, and giving me little nods of encouragement. It really helped!

I’d like to continue regular posting, but I’m not sure how exactly I’ll do it or what that might look like. One thing I enjoyed about daily posting this month was that it somewhat diminished my need to feel like every post was something significant. I knew a lot of the things I wrote here were nothing of the sort — and I kinda liked that. The pressure to think of something significant to write is often what holds me back from actually writing. I like feeling freer to write insignificant things. I don’t really think daily posting is right for me long term, but I’d like to post maybe 3 times a week, at least. It will prove difficult to do this in December, for sure — I’ll have final exams and grading, which is always a hectic time, then traveling for at least ten days at Christmas time. But I’d like to try. For one thing, I still have a couple of questions submitted by friends and I plan to get to them — so I’ll see you back here soon.

Family Thanksgiving is Here, Mostly

Today is the day we’re making our big meal and hanging out with my dad, step-mother, and brother, and then watching the Iron Bowl. It should be a pretty nice day.

As you can see by what I had to amend above, my step-mother did not show up after all. I discovered this when my dad and brother pulled up in front of our house with just the two of them in the car. I’m not totally shocked. I only ever gave her 50-50 odds on coming in the first place. She didn’t come to my wedding, see (but in that case she did use the online RSVP form to warn me), or to Christmas when I hosted here a few years ago. She doesn’t like to leave town, or the house, much.

My dad says it’s because she’s very introverted, but (and I say this as someone who is ALLL the way over at the I end of the I – E spectrum) it’s obviously something more than that.

We are not close and haven’t ever been, although we do get along fine — the only reason we don’t really know each other that well is that she and my dad met my senior year in college, right before I moved to Oregon, so I’ve never lived in a house with her and have only spent brief time with her around the holidays. But not on any holidays I’ve hosted, AHEM, because she won’t come to those. Fine. I’m not broken hearted about it, but I am somewhat…insulted.

One more thing and then I’ll finish complaining about this: my invitation went out to everyone. My dad and brother both talked to me about planning, both of them generally using the term “we,” and never specifically mentioned my stepmother by name. They also did not mention that she wasn’t coming. She didn’t mention it either, obviously, since she didn’t ever reply to my invitation or contact me via any other means. So, basically, if she is completely ignoring my communiqués and not even doing me the courtesy of a regretful decline, how long am I obligated to keep inviting her to things? Because I am about done.