Monday, December 8, 2014

Multi-tasking isn't for the weak

I have the desire and urge to update my blog a lot more often than I actually do.  I was feeling bad one day about it and was talking to a friend at work about how I didn't seem to have time to do the things I really wanted/needed to anymore, like work out or write.

He asked what all we did during the week so I pulled up my spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet) of our daily schedule.  It starts with Jay leaving work work and me getting the girls off to school and ends with us alternating putting the girls to bed.  Basically every day is filled in with stuff like "eat" and "give Sam a bath", plus the nine hours of practice Addi has at swimming each week and boring stuff like "sleep" and "work".

Then I said, "There's not much else other than all of the craft orders I get, having to fill those, plus any work meetings and volunteering we have at night, which is usually only once or twice a week. And Sam just started swimming each week and I signed up for a triathlon last week, so I'll start swim lessons again soon.  Plus we have Addi's swim meets and Jay is leading a team for Knights of Columbus, so he will start to be more busy too.  Other than that stuff, we aren't that busy. I cancelled a lot of my commitments this year like leading Girl Scouts and PTO."

I thought I didn't have a lot on my plate.  My friend helped me see that I am lucky to not be in a corner rocking and moaning and basically, I need to give myself some grace and stop beating myself up for not getting it all done because sometimes "it" isn't that important in the end.

(written while I'm multi-tasking at Addi's swim practice)

The Great Pumpkin

This fall Jay took a chance and went pheasant hunting with some friends in South Dakota over a long weekend.  The girls and I went to Addi's swim meet on Saturday, then relaxed and has a lazy day Sunday.  While visiting a friend Sunday afternoon we noticed their enormous pumpkins out front.  She told us about this great place she got them from, just a retired teacher out in the country, and how reasonable their stuff was.  It was a nice afternoon out so the girls and I headed out to see what we could find.
Just a little baby pumpkin (it brought out the thug in Addi)
Sam found one she liked as well

An hour later we headed home with around 20 smaller pumpkins and gourds, a car full of corn husks, 3 large pumpkins (each in the 20 lb range), and a daddy pumpkin.  
$70 worth of pumpkins, gourds, and bugs
This bad boy weighed in at a lean 97 lbs and had to be fork-lifted into the back of my SUV.  The girls LOVED it and couldn't wait to surprise Jay with it when he got home.  On the way home, we did find a slightly creepy drawback to impulse shopping for fall decor: corn husks are full of bugs and really shouldn't be inside an SUV.  Within five minutes of being back on the road both girls were screaming and I was trying really hard not to drive off the side of the road as Addi shrieked that a HUGE spider was crawling towards me.

We made it home safely and after spending 20 minutes vacuuming my car, all was right with the world.  Jay reacted just like we thought he would - he laughed, then begged us to confirm we didn't spend our life savings on soon to rot Halloween decor.  Once he found out the "big" pumpkin was only $15, he laughed.
Jay and his hunting buddies

Monday, November 17, 2014


As we are coming up on Thanksgiving, I can't help but be so thankful that Jay and I made the decision to send our girls to Catholic school.  We went back and forth on whether or not it would be the right decision for our family, and eventually it came down to a gut feeling.  Now I can easily say I have no regrets.  The past four years have improved our family life, made us closer to God, made me able to talk about my beliefs without feeling like a phony... I could go on and on.

Now, just because our kids go to Catholic school doesn't mean they are good all the time.  In fact, it usually means I hear about their not-so-great behavior a lot faster because the school is so small.  I am regularly texting with various parents about one or both of the kids, and we really do know most of the parents by their first name (and car).  If we don't see the parents, their classmates are more than willing to tattle on them during drop off or pickup, so it's hard not to cringe when I see a kid running towards me.

Every now and then, the stars align and I get a text or email that just fills my heart with joy, so because I can I'm going to brag a bit here.  The email below could not have come at a better time for Jay and I, because just the day before we were lamenting on what pains our kids were.

An email from a parent about Addi and a friend:
"Yesterday, at The Hive, the kids were asked to paint concentric circles on a canvas. My son was having a tough time keeping his paint from running together, and was frustrated with the outcome of his efforts. Both Addi and a friend gave him words of encouragement, and he finished his project.

I know kids don't always realize the power of their words; but, since adults do, I wanted to pass this along to you. I am always grateful for the kind friends in their class, and yesterday was especially grateful for your lovely children."

I also received an email the other day sharing pictures of Samantha painting.  We rarely get to see them in school so quick emails like this mean the world to me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Body image issues

I've spent the majority of my life unhappy with how I look. It's something that seems inevitable but today, at the ripe old age of 36 1/2 I can say fairly confidently that this is me, I love me, and even though I can always get in better shape the real goal should be a happy life. 

That said, there's something really unnerving to the self esteem when you take a shower with an audience. 

Skinny bitch. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dear Children

My kids are pretty smart. However, they both could really use to learn one specific lesson.

Setting the stage, you are home alone with mom.
Your dad had been out of the house for an extended duration (sometimes minutes, sometimes days).
You have been told at least 46 times to listen, or pick something up, etc.
Your mom looks very, VERY stressed.
Your very near future of life, liberty, and the pursuit of dinner relies solely in the hands of your mother and the next few minutes.

So, when "Who is the boss here, me or you?"

The answer is never, EVER: Daddy. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Our future Olympian

This weekend Addi has her first meet with the Dunlap Dolphins, a competitive swim team that she joined this school year.  It's pretty hard core, with tryouts and no guarantee that you will be accepted so she was pretty nervous about the whole thing.

About two weeks after her tryout we were laying in her bed reading when Jay texted me (from Sam's room).  It said, "Addi made the Dolphins."  She saw me glance at my phone and said, "Wait, WHAT did that say?"  I let her see my phone and the shriek of joy and pride that came out of her mouth was amazing.  I wish we could have recorded it.

When I tried to get her to lay back down and sleep, she said, "Wow, Mommy... Can you believe me and Daddy are like the two best swimmers EVER?  Like, in the whole world?  I'll probably go to the Olympics or something."

We are working on  her self esteem - it's obviously rock bottom low.

The team has practice five days a week for an hour and a half (she only has to make it to an average of two per week) and she is learning a ton.  Her coach is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. and, believe it or not, Coach Bob is 78 years old.  She LOVES the team - even wanting to go to practice most days - and is making good progress.

When we found out Addi's first meet would be this weekend, we realized Jay would be out of town on a hunting trip.  Here was the conversation that followed.

Me: Addi, Daddy can't be at your first meet, is that ok?
Addi: No, you won't have any idea what to do because Daddy is way smarter than you in swimming.  Can you call uncle Adam and see if he can come in Daddy's place since he's the second best swimmer in the family?

[two days later]

Me: Addi, uncle Adam can't come, so it will be me with you, ok?
Addi:  Can you call aunt Robin? She's the next best swimmer in the family because no one is better than Daddy.

[one day later]

Me:  Addi, aunt Robin can't come.  I will take you, ok?
Addi: [deep, deep sigh]  OK.  I will have Daddy coach you on what all you need to do and say, but you will need to call him after ever race so he can tell you what to say to me.

So, I'm pleased to say that Jay has written down instructions for me on how to cheer Addi on and wrote down things for her to remember before each race.  Last night she asked if I had seen the list he made and when I said yes, she said that list was the coolest thing EVER.

At least I'm still Samantha's favorite.

Wish Addi good luck this weekend!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Puppet Theatre

Last Monday as I headed in to put Samantha to bed, Jay asked me to talk to her about her homework.  When they were working on it after school, she was being really evasive anytime he asked her questions about it and he thought it was kind of fishy.

I asked her some basic questions and she kept saying, “I’m not talking about my homework, and I already told Daddy that.”  When I pushed, she told me it was a secret and she didn’t want to get in trouble, so then I started to get a little worried.  I looked her straight in the eye and told her that no matter what she said, she wouldn’t be in trouble and that secrets aren’t good and even though I could tell she heard me, she still wasn’t going to spill.
Finally I put a pillow up in between us like a wall, stuck my hand up like a puppet, and in a squeaky voice said, “Hey Sami! Can you tell me your secret?”
Two seconds later her hand appeared over the pillow and I heard, “I copied all of my homework off of Joseph.”
Extremely relieved that it wasn’t something BAD, we had a heart to heart about cheating and how if she doesn’t understand her work she should tell the teacher instead of copying, because she needs to learn this.  After a few minutes I said, “Have you copied off of Joseph before?” and she replied, “No, NEVER!”
“I usually copy off of Julie.”

We just got her progress report and I have send Julie’s parents a thank you note for raising such a smart child.  Sam’s getting straight A’s.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Math is bad for your health

With the new school year, stress of a new job, and just life in general, sleep has been hard to come by for me.  Most nights I put a kid to bed, fall asleep in their room, and if I am lucky wake up before 10 p.m. and head downstairs to hang out with Jay, watch TV, craft, work, or whatever.

Then I start watching ridiculous shows on TLC like "I'm pregnant and so is my daughter" and before I know it, it's 1 a.m. and I'm wide awake.

The obvious answer to that issue is to not watch TV, so over the last few weeks I've made an effort to go lay in bed at bedtime, even if I don't think I'm tired.  I assumed my "insomnia" was self induced vs. real and if I just relaxed I'd go right to sleep.

I assumed wrong.

There's a LOT of noises that happen in a house at night when you are trying to sleep.  Is it the cat hiding his mouse from the other cat, or a burglar coming in to kill me?  Is it a kid coughing, or a kid about to barf?  Did I lock the windows?  Is the garage shut?  I know better than to wake Jay up for most of those, so usually I just lay there and try to drown out the sounds coming from the house.

There's one issue.  The sound keeping me up last week was my own heart beat, and shutting that off was kind of hard. It was SO LOUD... Like pounding out of my chest... And no matter how I rested, I couldn't get it to quiet down.  Finally I sat up, grabbed the iPad, and Googled "pounding heartbeat."

It suggested I take my resting heart rate, so I did.  I set the stopwatch on the iPad, located my heartbeat, and 20 seconds later did the calculations to see my heart rate was.... 130?

That seemed pretty high, considering I was laying down and not jogging in place, so I took it again.  135 this time, which I guessed was due to panic.  And the panic was easy to come by, because according to Google, "A healthy adult heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute when at rest. Anything over 100 beats per minute consistently is considered as having a high heart rate (tachycardia).  Tachycardia can seriously disrupt normal heart function, increase the risk of stroke, or cause sudden cardiac arrest or death."

Um... so not only was I missing the season finale of Hoarders, but I was going to die?

I tried to relax and slow my breathing, which seemed harder because my heart didn't feel that fast to begin with.  Finally after debating whether I should wake Jay up to tell him I was going to die or just drive myself to the nearest fire station, I was able to fall asleep.

The next morning I woke up and was thankful to not hear my heartbeat, so I went ahead and took my resting heart rate again so I had a baseline for the call I was definitely going to have to make to my doctor later that day.  And my resting heart rate after a full nights' rest was.... 115?

I decided to take it one more time before panicking Jay.  I set the stop watch for 20 seconds, counted how many times my heart beat, then multiplied by 5, just like I had each time before.

Then I realized that 20 times 5 is 100, which is NOT the number of seconds in a minute.  Once I multiplied 23 by THREE, I ended up with a much more reasonable, non-life-threatening number.

And this is why I don't do math for a living.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Liar, Liar

You know how when you go camping and it takes a day or two to get the campfire / tent / fish smell off of you?  You shower, wash your clothes, and still when you get in your car there is a lingering something special?

That is how life is with Samantha and summer camp.  We are needing to wash the rest of the bad attitude and sassiness right out of that girl's hair.  Most of the summer things were fine, but the last few weeks we started noticing a little different stench exuding out of her.

A little more attitude
a little more back talk
a "shut up" here and a white lie there
just a little too big for her britches.

Now, do I blame daycare?  Nope. They were awesome.  But, she spent a lot of time with older kids (including her sister), she had basically no bedtime and we really didn't keep them on a schedule.  It's just part of the glamour of being a working family - it takes a village to keep them out of prison and sometimes it's not all rainbows.

The sassiness and the attitude I could deal with (Addi has given us loads of practice there) but I did start to get a little more concerned about the lying.  None of it has been over anything big, but little lies popping up here and there.  She "can't remember" who filled a cup up with water and grass and left it on the table... She doesn't remember how she got sunblock all over Jay's new truck (after embellishing his old one with a rock down the side)...  She apparently lost her memory as well as her mind this summer.

I am hoping we have caught this early and with some stiff punishments we can hold off on juvie for a while.  But, I do think from now on when I catch her in a lie I'll sing to her this song I just made up (to the tune of "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keyes).  Not only will I have ruined her favorite song but she'll have to listen to me sing off key.  KILLER.

"Pants On Fire"

She's just a girl with pants on fire
Sent to her room, lonely like a highway
She's a liar, liar pants on fire
Blaming her sister for everything, but she knows she can't get away

Ohhhh oh oh oh oh
She just slammed the door
After being sent to her room
Ohhhh oh oh oh oh
She got tears on her face
And her life's all doom and gloom

Her pants are on fire...
Her pants are on fire...
She's walking on fire...
Her pants are on fire...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The dogs are barking

I'm home doing what I do every other Wednesday evening - cleaning up for the cleaning lady to come tomorrow.  I'm more picking up - not cleaning anything - just putting things where they belong so Mary can do her thang, and so we can actually find stuff when she leaves. She's amazing at cleaning and apparently even better at putting things away SO WELL we can't find them for weeks. 

I realized I do something I GUARENTEE doesn't happen when Jay picks up. I see a row of very carefully placed toilet paper squares all around Sam's room, and instead of tossing them in the trash I evaluate the level of anger that will arise from said child when she sees I've destroyed her "very special thing."  

Here are my levels:

1 - 4 level = minimal tears and quick to recover; also see "blame it on daddy". 

5 - 8 = high pitch screeches that make the neighbor dogs bark and usually result in yelling, sobbing, and "you just don't understand". 

9 - 10: Sonic. Boom. 

I'll let you know what happens next. Fingers crossed I can blame it on the cat. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First day

Today was the first day of week three for the girls' 1st and 3rd grade years, so there's no better time to show off their first day pictures!

One of the new found skills Sam has brought to first grade is photobombing. 
She taught the cat to do it too, and the proof is right here
Per tradition, the girls had one of their grandparents here to drop them off on their first day

Samantha's first grade desk - she lasted less than a week before having to be moved due to too much talking

Ms. White, 3rd grade teacher - she currently wears the same size shoes as Addi

Addi's desk - she looks way too grown up here for me

Samantha's teacher, Sister Christiana

New technology

Tonight Addi's friend was texting her on my iPhone.  If you have an iPhone and are texting someone else on an iAnything, when they are typing you see a .... until they hit send, and this was the first time Addi had seen this.

She said, "The waiting is killing me!  I wish she'd hit send!  The anticipation is overwhelming!"

It was cute.  It was fun to watch.  And it made me see that when she asks me for her first phone, I am TOTALLY saying no.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The weight of Mommyhood

I'm having THAT kind of mommy week.  So many obligations - not enough time. Even though I do my best to not overcommit myself it happens anyway.  Great things are happening (new job and promotion, craft business taking off, girls in a new school year) and right, wrong, or  indifferent I am spread thin. 

I had a working lunch with a good friend who just gets my life, and after I showed her a few pictures of a new wreath she asked, "How do you fit it all in?"

Outwardly I brushed it off but inside I was thinking:
  • I disappoint my kids while reading emails during dinner. 
  • I miss improvements in Addi's swimming because I have to take a work call during an important meet, or worse I watch but don't even see it because I'm thinking about a project I have to complete. 
  • I forget things (like tonight, picking up our crop share of veggies) and someone else has to rush and get them. 
  • I focus on the thorns - not the roses - because stopping to smell would take too long. 
  • I break promises to be home because work is more important at the time.   
  • I miss documenting milestones on my blog because I miss the milestones all together. 
  • I feel guilty when school asks for volunteers and there is no way I can do it because it's during working hours. 
  • I have insomnia and don't rest well, then am foggy brained the next day. 
  • I don't remember the last time I hung out with friends and am missing a school mom's night right now to finish a wreath (I'm at the pool, watching Addi, texting about weekend plans and making a bow. Oh, and blogging. 
  • I can't remember the last time I really, truly belly laughed. 
This isn't interesting or even unique to me. But, it sucks. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Take two

Tonight, Samantha had her very first soccer game.  Now, while we've gone through almost every sport with her sister, Samantha hasn't been involved in many activities.  There are a lot of reasons why, but mainly it's hard to go out and assert yourself when you spend every minute trying to climb back into the womb. 

Samantha (oh yeah, she's Samantha again now that school started, not Sam) finally moved more than four feet from me and joined her first organized team. Now, Addi hated soccer so much we had to threaten to sign her up the following year if she didn't put forth a tiny bit of effort, so we wondered if Samantha would do the same.

Nope!  After practice one she came home exclaiming, "Addi! You were WRONG!  Soccer is FUN!"
Practice #2 - her turn at goalie
After three practices and her first game, she's still loving it.  And bonus:  her team won tonight.

The closest to a real picture I could get
She sure loves to photobomb

I need more sleep

Having two cats is a pretty awesome.  They are fairly self sufficient, you can leave them for a few days at a time and they are alive when you come home, and never once have I come home to a missing wall (photo evidence here) and a guilty looking cat.  Aside from the litter and the furballs, they are pretty easy pets.

A bonus: Our cats love each other.  Even though Bandit (the white one) is older (like 12 maybe?) and Leo is the new young bribe kitten, they can be found spooning or bathing each other a lot.  There isn't a lot of hissing and the change from one to two cats was way, way easier than we expected.
They are both boys, by the way
Well, the last few days I realized I am so, so tired.  I thought maybe it was work, or maybe too much caffeine, but then, it hit me.

Like, literally hit me. In the face.  At 3 a.m.

It was Bandit's rubber mouse.  This realistic, rubbery mouse that he loves so much that he must apparently play with it all hours of the day.  His absolute favorite is fetch (adorable evidence here) and I've been been forced many, MANY times by him nudging my hand to throw the mouse. 
Notice the grey blob he's holding... that's mouse-y
However, it's getting out of hand.  Not only does he now yowl at Leo if he comes near the mouse, but he brings the mouse to me in the middle of the night and drops it on my face.  Then, he tries to bury it under me in order to hide it from Leo, then yowls some more when Leo tries to cuddle.

Good times.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Getting ready for school

Even though our kids go to Catholic school, at the end of the day they have many of the same perks and trials of any other school.  And just like every other school, we have standardized testing.  Last year it seemed like the entire first month of school was taken up with testing, so when our school decided to try out having the kids do their tests three weeks before school started this year, I was intrigued.

Today the girls had their math tests, so I picked them up from summer camp and dropped them off.  Addi was done after about 45 minutes so she joined me in the conference room where I was working while we waited for Samantha to finish up.

Addi decided to do a little impromptu testing of her own.  It was called ,"Make Mommy guess from across the room what animal I just drew on Sally Jessie Raphael her girl's shirt."
adding decorations to Sally's pants

it's a penguin on an a unicycle. DUH.

I passed my test, by the way.

All Tied Up

We went to a local pizza place for dinner one night last week, and as is typical during every outing the girls had to go to the restroom.  We let them go together and when they came back we headed to the car.

We were in the parking lot when Samantha said, “Hey, look at my new belt!”

A belt, made out of toilet paper.  Apparently she couldn’t work the button on her pants, so weaving TP in and out of multiple loops was easier.  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pink Floyd

I'm not the most creative person in the world, but I like to throw random things out into the world every now and then to try and trip the kids up.  Like when they ask me to tell them a story and I throw in magical talking horses, backyards with bouncy grass, and secret basements filled with candy. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised by the things that come back out of their mouths considering I'm their mom.

Somehow though, I am surprised almost daily.

Tuesday, the girls were getting ready for camp and I was getting ready for work.  I asked Sam where Addi was and she didn't know, so I said, "Where do you think she went? To the moon?"

Sam said, "Yeah...  But she went to the DARK side of the moon."

Monday, July 28, 2014

She's magnetic

After a long, stressful day at work where I seemed to spend the majority of my time arguing with people, I picked up the kids and headed home.  We sat at the kitchen table and waited for our dinner to show up like usual but it never did, mostly because Jay was out at a work event, so we finally decided to go to the China buffet to quell the hunger pains we were so not used to.  Never one to miss a buffet, my dad joined us too.

After my dad dry-heaved at all the sushi Addi ate and the girls finished up seconds of dinner, we headed for dessert.  We all had ice cream and Sam tried eating hers with chopsticks.  Very cute, but not all that successful.

We all cracked open our fortune cookies and I just sat and laughed at mine, after the day I had at work.  I texted a picture of it to a few coworkers, then ripped it up.

Addi's fortune was a dud - totally unremarkable. 

Sam had a more interesting fortune.  It said, "You are magnetic in your bearing."

The girls asked what that meant and I said it meant that people would want to be near her, like a magnet, because of her personality.  Addi said, "Well, that's not really true for Sam.  Who'd want to be with her all the time when she picks her nose and eats the boogers?"

Sisterly love at it's best.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Deep Conversations

Of the two girls, Addi is far and away the more intense child.  She gets into deep thought and asks thought-provoking questions, and it's really hard to not tell her the answers to tough questions when she asks. 

Yesterday Addi asked me to come into the bathroom with her and shut the door, because she had a really important question for me.  Those times usually end up with me mortified with what she heard at day camp (why are eight year olds talking about sex??) so I braced myself for a doozy.  It was 7 a.m., so anything could come up.

She got really, really quiet, then said:

"Mommy, what kind of questions will they ask when I take my driver's test when I'm 16? Like, will there be multiple choice?"

She and I were both very relieved when I could answer with a simple, "Yes."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Life lessons from Jay

A few months ago Jay made ribs and Addi Fell. In. Love.  She has begged and pleaded ever since to have them again and this Saturday Jay finally gave in.  But instead of just making them for her, he decided it was time for her to learn how to cook.

They started with the trip to the store to pick out the perfect piece of meat.  I have absolutely no idea how to pick out meat - I'm pretty sure Jay gave up on any possibility of me learning years ago.  Once they got home and Addi saw the raw slab she changed her mind, but Jay and I insisted.  I told her that if she can learn to cook as well as daddy she's guaranteed to have boys want to marry her.  She just stared at me.   Probably not a selling point to an eight year old.
Learning to prep the meat
I missed taking pictures during the rest of the prep and cook phase but managed to snap a few while the girls were going to town on the finished product.

The ribs should have been the highlight of the meal.  However, laughter was the main takeaway after Sam and Addi were talking about long hair and Addi told Sam that Jay had longer hair in high school.  Sam said, "Oh, like a rock star, daddy?"  Jay looks up, confused, and says, "Lobsters don't have hair."  Seriously hilarious.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Blast from the past

I was looking for a file this morning and came across this from Addison's kindergarten year.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Big Goals for the Future

Tonight we were driving home and Samantha said, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a mail carrier."
I said, "Well, that's awesome.  But, you might want a back up plan - I doubt mail carriers exist when you are grown up."
She said, "You know, I don't think I'll be a mail carrier after all.  I plan on being a pop star."

Maybe a mail carrier wasn't such a bad idea after all.

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