Wednesday, February 28, 2018

UGH February

Whoa, the flu hit our house this month. Callie and I were spared but it hit Ben and Polly HARD. I kept Callie quarantined and nearly destroyed my skin with washing and hand-sanitizer. I seriously considered drinking it. This is a busy season at work for me and Ben had a lot going on too so it was rough timing and I still feel behind. I literally had to stop everything and take care of my family and I couldn't help but think of others that don't have the support or flexibility that I have. This working mama thing can be so hard and full of guilt. Guilt about working, guilt about not working. Guilt about guilt. Ugh.

Anyways, there were moments where I just wished I could absorb their sickness myself. It's hard seeing your people be so sick. On top of all of that I was having issues with their new insurance company (I'm on my plan through work). So not only did I have a sick family but I was on the phone a bunch arguing and worrying about their health care. It shouldn't be that way but it will likely not get any better under our current administration. Health care is a right. PERIOD. It should not be this hard.

I didn't have much time to breathe this month much less make notes about these cute kids. Look at those serious babies up there! Here are some thoughts from the blur of February.

  • While sick and barely awake Polly looked up at me shaking her head and said, "I don't know what I'd do without you." I melted into a puddle but honestly I don't know what I'd do without her.
  • Polly never stops making noise. Even when she's eating, she is humming a song. She slept in our room a few nights when she was sick and talked in her sleep. I wasn't sure if it was from the sickness or if she truly never stops making noise. 
  • Callie is picking up a few more words here and there. She can definitely say cheese which is the only word you really need to get by in life. She's newly obsessed with wearing her coat and gets very angry when you try to take it off. 
  • When Polly and Ben were so sick, I would pick Callie up from day care and take her to dinner or the grocery store to minimize her time at the house. It was nice getting to spend that quiet time with her one on one. It's hard to focus on either of them when they are both going full speed so it was nice to get to slow down for a minute and really see her. 
  • It is so hard to find the balance between self time, family time and time with your spouse. Sometimes we are all in a good groove and then other times we all seem to be hanging on to sanity by a thread. We are all SO looking forward to spring and summer so we all have a little more space to spread out and get some much needed sunshine. Time changes next weekend people. There is hope for us all!. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ugh January!!!

January is the longest month of the year. It feels roughly 131 days long, for real. This is a crazy season at work for me so I did a terrible job of writing down little notes about my girls but that's not the end of the world right?!? I'll still feel guilty about it though because that's how I roll. Here are some highlights from this month:

  • Polly and I were talking about babies one night and she looks at me and says, "well it looks like you have a baby growing in your belly again." Thanks kid. Again, it's just a pizza baby. 
  • Callie has moved to the toddler room at daycare. She has her own little place to hang her coat and marches into the big kid room like a little boss breezing by the baby area. I'm just not sure how time has passed so quickly. 
  • Callie is pacifier free! She is a handful but in many ways she has been a very easy baby. I was dreading the process of taking it away but I guess she stopped napping with one at daycare a while ago so I just tried it one night and she was fine. 
  • Polly asks me the craziest questions while she sits on the potty like, "where would I be if I was never even born?!?" 
  • Polly sometimes randomly says, "I just can't believe such a cute baby is my sister." Sometimes she adds, "I never knew what it would be like!" I love thinking about Polly trying to imagine what it would be like to have a baby sister and that she's still delighted about it. I hope that never changes.
  • Callie as started pretending and it's my favorite thing.
  • Polly went to work with me a week or so ago for the whole day and she did really well! She's such a little person. Sometimes it's so nice to have some one on one time with her. The two of kids can be intense sometimes to the point where it's nearly impossible to focus on either of them. I loved working and being able to turn around to see her quietly drawing or with her little headphones on, eyes glued to a movie. It was good to realize that she really can be a good listener outside the chaos of our house. 

Friday, December 29, 2017


I have a 5 year old. I feel like this one is a big milestone for some reason and it's rocked my brain a bit. She's not a toddler anymore, she's a big kid with her own complex thoughts. She's definitely testing her boundaries and my patience on a daily sometimes hourly basis. This month flew by but I also feel like there is a lot to tell. Both of these girls are definitely keeping me on my toes. Here are the highlights:

  • Polly is experimenting with not taking a nap. I miss my two hours of quiet, no kid time but this new solo time with Polly has become pretty precious too. Lately we have curled up on the couch together to watch a program (so I can nap) or do a little drawing or other quiet project that isn't interrupted by a body slam by Callie. Sometimes I fall asleep and wake up to a sleeping Polly next to me. It's one of my favorite things right now. She still seems like a little baby to me when she sleeps. 
  • Callie likes to eat. When she is hungry, there is no appeasing her until she gets some food! She can say "more" and "cup". I also think she has is working on "out" meaning she wants down from her seat. She doesn't have as much language skills as Polly did at this age but we always knows what she wants. She's very expressive with her hand motions, gestures and yelling. We have a yeller. 
  • I'm amazed daily by the differences in these two girls. While Callie doesn't have as many words as Polly did at this age, she seems a lot more physical. She just thinks she's a big kid. We find her in the middle of the table or just fearlessly walking off the edge of the couch. She gives me a heart attack EVERY DAY. 
  • Bedtime deep thoughts by Polly:
    • Polly with feet dangling from the toilet, pants around ankles, "Mommy, what if nothing were real?" SERIOUSLY KID WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM!?! I didn't think weird shit like this until I was in high school. I don't even remember what I said, sometimes she just stumps me. 
    • Polly all cozy in her bed takes a deep sigh and says, "Mommy, I don't know what it will like when I grow up." This one knocked the air out of me. I think the scariest part of being a parent is that I don't know either. 
  • Callie will not let us carry her anywhere. She has this, "I can do it myself" attitude. She's still a baby but the days are numbered and going too fast. She must walk herself to the car to leave. She must try her best to climb into the car herself but she's terrible at it. If you interrupt her efforts too early she stiffens her entire body so you can't bend it into her carseat. Just this week after pre-bed story time, she demands to march her way into the bathroom to brush her teeth. No carrying. She does still let me sway back and forth with her head resting on my shoulder for a few minutes while I sing her a song right before bed. I'm holding on to these days. I can hardly hold Polly anymore, I'm not sure when that happened. Things are often so busy around here and old routines are replaced by new ones so quickly that one day you realize something precious is gone. Luckily there are new things in their place. 
  • One night last week I make it through the Polly bedtime routine and as I close the door I hear...
    • "Mommy!"
    • Me poking my head back into the room a bit annoyed: "What Polly?"
    • Polly: "Today I was sitting on the sit and spin in the muscle room at school and Matthew kissed me!"
    • Me: "He did?"
    • Polly enthusiastically: "YES!"
    • Me at a loss: "Where?"
    • Polly annoyed: "AT SCHOOL!"
    • Me gesturing around my face: NO! Where? 
    • Polly: "On the cheek."
    • Me: "Did you like that?"
    • Polly: "Yes!"
    • Me, being a crazy person: "Well if anyone ever tries to kiss you or touch you and you don't like it you yell NO!" (I regret not saying NO KISSING!)
    • Polly, obviously not listening to me says: "And I said to myself, I'm IN LOVE!"
    • Me: "Good night Polly." Close door, go downstairs, pours beer. I tell Ben the story, he slaps himself in the forehead and pours himself a beer. We are doomed. 
  • Last week Polly and I went to lunch together which was a rare treat. We were in the process of ordering/checking out and Polly is repeating everything we had picked out to the cashier. Polly: "we got broccoli, noodles, juice for me, mac and cheese and a beer." I turn red and correct her that I'm holding a sparkling water, it's just a can she doesn't recognize. The cashier gets a good laugh. 
  • The hours can be long with these two girls right now but the days, weeks and months sure are fast. I've mentioned this a million times but it never stops amazing me how easy it can be to wish away these tough phases to easier times. I know I'll miss these days where my kids need so much from me that I sometimes lose sight of myself. I know I will miss them fighting over space on my lap where one is laying completely on my lap and I'm cradling the other in my arms. They are both wiggling and feel like they have 10 elbows each and making it impossible to be comfortable. All they want is me to themselves until they get it when one runs off and then they both run off. I will miss Polly saying a million times a day, "will you play with me?" when I'm just trying to change a diaper or do something around the house. I try to be present but it takes a lot of work. I know I will miss these long days. 
  • We are a lucky family. Sometimes I think about how hard this parenting phase is and then I think about all of the advantages I have. I have childcare that is expensive but I can afford it so I can have a career. I have a real partner who isn't just a helper, he's there, in this with me as an equal. I have a mother-in-law who is an hour away but will come and help when we need it. I have a flexible job that will let me work from home two days a week that just makes this parenting thing easier so I don't lose a hour of my life to commute during those two days. I also have a flexible schedule that allows for doctor appointments and sick kids. We have food, stable housing, awesome neighbors and friends who have our backs when we need it. We are lucky. When I feel overwhelmed I know there are women out there struggling with what I struggle with but they also don't have all of the things I listed above. I've just been thinking about all of this a lot lately. I'm not sure these thoughts are going but they are there. 
  • If I go crazy this coming month, it's because our entire family can't stop singing the Dominic the Donkey Christmas song. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Don't Put Cheese in Your Sisters Nose

This month was a lot of work! Admittedly I am writing this blog post later than I ever have but I'm going to back date it so I don't feel like such a slacker. That's right, everything you see on the internet is a lie! Jk, sort of. I was busy getting ready for Crafty Supermarket, working my for real job AND keeping up with my family of four. That means that I didn't take as many little notes as I usually do and honestly I was also very distracted with my dumb phone A LOT. BUT now Crafty Supermarket is over and I'm going to spend lots of time with my family and enjoy the holidays. Here are some highlights that I remember with my tired brain.

  • I keep wanting to start a running list on my blog called, things I shouldn't have to say to my kids it would include things like, "Don't put cheese in your sisters nose!" and "Don't drink random water off of the floor with a straw!" and "Don't eat ice you find on the playground!"
  • One day Polly was talking about her thoughts and she referred to her head as her remembering bone. That just cracks me up for some reason. 
  • We are STILL struggling with a very opinionated, stubborn girl. I'm talking about Polly not myself just to be clear here. She's even worried about her status with Santa. 
  • I love Polly's curiosity. She received a book called the Fantastic Elastic Brain written by JoAnn Deak. My colleague bought it for her who has great kid book taste. I actually had the opportunity to see the author speak at a conference back in October and she was great! She talked about the development of the brain particularly with girls. Anyways, Polly opened it and pointed at picture of the brain and said, "that part is the brain stem". It was the first moment that she said something that I didn't know she knew. I was excited because how many four year olds can point out the brain stem but I was also a little sad because her world is getting bigger and bigger and that is only going to continue from this point. That's the point of this whole parenting things but it's so bitter sweet. 
  • Callie is a very skilled climber at this point. We've bolted the bookshelves to the wall in the living room. She is very determined. She still doesn't say much that we understand but she gabbers a ton and she thinks she's one of the big kids. Our neighbors have an almost 4 year old and a 6 year old so Callie pretty much things she falls in their age range somewhere. 
  • Callie is moving up to the toddler room at daycare next month. I'm totally, absolutely, positively fine with that. Completely. Yes. TOTALLY FINE! I'M NOT YELLING YOU ARE YELLING! 
  • Honestly I wanted to write this blog all about how I thought I was going to be better at this mom thing. The Monday after Thanksgiving my family headed out the door and I settled in for my work day from home and as I sat in my chair at my desk, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was a long four, tiresome days. I officially think that stay at home parents who are actually home with their kids ALL DAY LONG, every day have the hardest jobs or maybe I'm just better at my day job than I am at being a mom. I just can't tell. I love spending time with my family. On Saturday mornings I wake up excited for two days of not having to say goodbye. Then on Mondays I'm often sad that I have to work.  Most Mondays Ben is home with the girls while I work and I'm jealous of their time together. But then there are those long weekends where no one has on their listening hears, all four of us want to do opposite things and it's HARD. During those days I'm relieved to get to be myself with my thoughts and my work. All of this just reminds me that moms are hard on themselves. I can worry the hell out of EVERYTHING so of course I worry about mom things and that dumb thing I said 20 years ago. 
  • When I write this post next month I will have a 5 year old. WHAT!%$#! I'm totally, absolutely, positively fine with that. Completely. Yes. TOTALLY FINE! I'M NOT YELLING YOU ARE YELLING! 
  • Callie still likes to poop in the tub. 
  • It's been two years since I found out I was pregnant with Callie. She was our little Christmas secret and this year we are looking forward to two little girls excited for Christmas morning. I do love this second childhood I'm getting to have through them. 
  • And here's what my kids actually look like most of the time. I caught Polly mid-sneeze! I can't stop laughing at that picture! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Terrible Fours

This month actually felt long in a good way. There wasn't a ton of snot and we got to soak up the last few weeks of warm weather. Now winter is knocking at our doors and I'm dreading it. But let's focus on this past month and not the long winter ahead! Here are some highlights:

  • Are the terrible fours a thing? If so, will this phase please end on Polly's 5th birthday? Someone say yes. She has been a handful this month.  She's super dramatic and thinks anytime we punish her for something, it's (I'm quoting her here)"THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!" Other quotes from Polly include hits like:
    • "I wish timeout weren't a real thing."
    • "I wish I had a new family."
    • "Callie, you are the only one in my family that I love."
    • "Bear, you are the only one in my family that I love."
    • "I'll go live with the Turpins!" (neighbors to which we said, OKAY!)
    • "I wish I weren't a little kid anymore."
    • "I wish Callie and me were the parents and YOU and the daddy were the little kids!"
    • and the most dramatic of them all and the one that actually made me really, really sad, "I wish I weren't even alive." I would be worried if this weren't over a conversation about dessert.
  • So, Polly confuses punishment, like timeout or even telling her not to body slam her sister to the ground, with us being mean. The quotes above were all solicited from punishments where she was not listening or was physically harming her sister. It's so frustrating. Every night we talk to her about her day and how she behaved. We talk about how her words can hurt people. She always comes back to the fact that we were being mean but then we review all of the nice things we did and all of the fun she had. I know this is a phase and she's testing her boundaries but it's TERRIBLE! 
  • It will be a miracle if Callie survives childhood without a major head injury. Polly plays so rough with her sometimes and Callie loves it until she doesn't. I see all younger siblings as little walking and talking miracles. You middle and younger children out there, you are tough, it's amazing that you survived! I know for one my brother and sister lost me in a cornfield on purpose and I found my way out thank you very much. Once my sister threw a bag at my head that had a metal pipe in it. I still have an indention in my skull from it. Maybe I should be thanking them because I'm still a fighter? They would say yes.  
  • I'm a nagging mom. It's official. I nag about getting dressed, I nag about eating dinner, I nag about STOP TALKING SO MUCH AT BEDTIME AND SHARING YOUR LIFE THEORIES! I want to fuss less and listen more but it's hard to hear myself say something over and over and we don't have endless time in the morning or at night so sometimes I have to repeat myself 1,000 times. SO I'm trying to take some time each week to lay in bed with her for an extra long time to let her ramble on about all of the little thoughts in her mind. I know she's just delaying bedtime and trying to keep me in there forever but it's fun to hear about all of the random stuff on her mind and pretend like time doesn't exist for a while.
  • Kids have a magical way of making you feel young and refreshed like you are seeing the world all new again through their eyes but they can also make you feel old like you will never wake up again and feel rested. These two facts amaze me. 
  • Callie says duck, cat, dada, and mama sometimes when she really wants me. Polly says all of the other words for the whole family. 
  • Tonight Polly cried because, 'You interrupted my talking." If I never interrupted her talking, I would never get to speak. 
  • Polly and Callie love one another so much. I've tried to get Polly to run to the store with me just her and I and she wants to bring Callie. It doesn't occur to her to want to leave her behind or that she's missing out on one on one time. She often says, "I never knew having a little sister could be so fun." Ugh, that kills me! 
  • When Callie wakes up in the morning she want out of her crib, hugs, then down onto the floor to find her pacifier, grabs her blanket and pulls it though the bars of her crib if it's not already in her hands and then she walks to Polly's door with determination in her step that says, "if she's not awake, she will be." Then she give Polly cuddles and instantly Callie wants down so she can demand to go downstairs for food. She is determined and sweet. I just want to eat her up. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Babies are trouble

I guess I just need to get used to the fact that each month is a blur. Thankfully I make a few notes in my phone throughout the month to remember little things that happen that make me laugh or cry so I can do a monthly recap, otherwise I think I'd just time travel through these kid years on accident. I'm not sure how long we will keep this up, I'm sure at some point I'll have to stop embarrassing them on the internet. For now though, I like going back and reading the little changes that happen throughout the months and years as we watch these girls grow. It's amazing how much I forget until I read it here. It's actually sort of terrifying. So, here are a few bits from this month that I don't want to forget:

  • First, look at how tall Polly is. Just look!
  • When I was a little kid one of my favorite things to do was drink apple juice out of a coffee cup. I wanted to be like my grandma and dad with their coffee but my favorite was apple juice. I remember requesting it with an enthusiastic, "Can I have apple juice in a coffee cup please!" The request had a specific cadence to it that still rolls off my tongue. Polly have her own version of this that she developed all on her own but it's "Can I have mango juice mixed with sparkling water in a fancy glass please!" By fancy glass she means wine glass so it's good to know the bar has been set a little lower a generation later. 
  • Callie still has only two teeth. I'm not worried, you're worried!
  • Callie is definitely a blanket baby! Her blanket made it's first monthly picture debut above! Yes, my child has chosen a white blanket to carry around with her. It's great. 
  • On the way to school one morning Polly out of the blue asks, "Do people last forever?" Her question hung in the air for an eternity. It wasn't just what she was asking but how she asked it that made tears instantly start leaking out of my face. The question had a hopefulness about it but also a hint to the fact that she seemed to already know the answer. Inside I'm screaming, HOW DO I ANSWER THIS WITHOUT SCARRING HER FOR LIFE!?!?! Outside I calmly tell her no, people don't last forever. Every living thing dies and that's just the way things are and it's okay. I'm sitting there thinking good answer mom. You're not so bad at this mom thing. Then she follows up with, "yeah but not little kids." It wasn't even a question but a statement so I'm sitting there inside screaming, WHAT THE HELL THIS IS JUST A TEN MINUTE DRIVE TO SCHOOL!!! HOW ARE WE COVERING SO MUCH GROUND HERE! ARE WE THERE YET? DO I JUST LET THAT ONE GO??? Outside I calmly tell her that sometimes little kids die but mom and dads are here to help keep kids safe so don't worry. Then she follows with, "yeah and we have to stay healthy"which gave me a great opportunity to work in a speech about fruits and vegetables. She's quiet for a few minutes and I'm terrified of what's coming next and then she says, "Callie has snot ALL OVER her. It's on her sleeve, it's in her hair, it's on her seat, it's EVERYWHERE mom. I never knew babies could be so much trouble." I'm sitting there thinking THANK GOD! Now she's just questioning the existence of her baby sister. No big deal.
  • I'm not sure where the above question came from. Over the last month we lost a friend, our former neighbor Cathy. She was one of the nicest people I've ever met, maybe even THE nicest person I've ever met and we had the joy to live next to her for 9 years. During that time we enjoyed hearing her play music through our open windows, watching her sneak into our backyard spraying some new deer repellant in our yard that never seemed to work, her cheerful scarecrow scaring me to death when I look up from my garden and it's staring at me. Side note on the scarecrow, she had her own Facebook page and many adventures. Her famous car cheered our street which she and her niece painted themselves. Polly doesn't remember her and we've tried not to talk about Cathy's death around her but it's been hanging in the air around our house. Polly's question hit me because this month we've been thinking about death and celebrating life and how it's all so bittersweet because it's all so quick. I wanted to tell Polly that without death, maybe life wouldn't have so much joy but life and death is hard enough for me to comprehend so hopefully we have a little more time before we have to have that conversation again.
  • Speaking of death, on a lighter note one day we were driving past a cemetery and Polly could see the tombstones as we passed by and she yelled "DADDY I SEE POKEMON SIGNS!" She's getting taller and can see more and more out the window these days. Ben and I are both confused and then we realize that when Pokemon GO first came out, Spring Grove Cemetery, a beautiful park/cemetery here in Cincinnati was a major place for Pokemon and Ben and Polly would drive through there to get Pokemon on his phone. Our kid thinks cemeteries are Pokemon stops. Given the above conversations we are just leaving this one alone for now. Pokemon stop it is. 
  • Polly is a little dramatic. We were driving past roofers installing roof on a house and she asked what they were doing. I told her those people are getting a new roof. She asks why and I tell her they just wear out. She's quiet for a moment and then says sadly, "I'm going to miss our roof when we get a new one." I can't imagine what puberty is going to do to us.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Polly and Callie August Update

This month was full of sickness passed around the family, travel, work, and time travel. There wasn't a single week this month where someone in our family wasn't home sick. It's not even winter yet! That being said, it was still a good month with these two crazy girls of ours. Here are some high lights:

  • Callie is a climber. I don't remember Polly trying to scale things that Callie tries to climb, it's heart stopping. We cannot take our eyes off of her for one second. 
  • Callie is also an eater. She eats more than Polly for sure and it's hilarious. When she wants food, don't get in her way. All of this eating somehow happens with only two teeth. WHERE ARE HER TEETH?!?!
  • Apparently Callie has a boyfriend at school and they try to kiss on the lips and she strokes his hair. WTF? Callie the one year old. 
  • Polly has Bear, she chose bear just over her first birthday but I don't really remember when or why, it just sort of happened over time. Where Polly goes, Bear goes. I wondered if that would happen for Callie and over the last few weeks we've discovered she's a blanket baby. She wants to take one of her swaddle blankets with her everywhere. She carries it with her which is a tripping hazard but it's damn cute to have a Linus on our hands. Seeing how disgusting Bear has gotten though has me lamenting the fact that Callie chose a white blanket as her thing. 
  • This month we went to visit my family in South Carolina and Polly and Callie got to see the ocean for the first time. Polly tried to bring every shell ever made home with us. We talked her down to one container full of shells. We made sure these pale girls were well coated in sunscreen but in our focus on them we forgot about ourselves...burning happened.
  • Callie loves wearing her shoes. When we get ready to go in the morning all we have to do is mention shoes and she goes and sits on the steps or gets her shoes herself. Then she wants a hat on and waits by the door. It's so funny to see her little mind and personality forming. She has her own routines and demands. She's her own little person now.
  • When Polly loves something she says, "I need this in my life!" Like, "I need this ice-cream sandwich in my life!" It's a pretty great way to describe things.