Monday, December 31, 2012

what we did.. this year

I started off the year preparing myself for a baby. (My second baby.) Including almost fully moving into a house we were already living in. And when he finally, got here I spent a lot of time getting to know him- and a lot of time not sleeping.

I broke out in some sort of crazy rash, went to the emergency room, and saw a bunch of doctors that had know idea what was going on- but eventually one of them gave me tons of drugs.. and it went away. I also Googled "death from lack of sleep," just to make sure I was not.. going to.. you know..

I started to figure out how to leave the house, live life, and all sorts of other things with not one, but two little ones in tow. Although I still haven't figure it all out, it's getting easier. Sort of. Sometimes. Randomly.. with no rhyme or reason to when it is and when it isn't.

There was Easter, two more cavities discovered (and dealt with), and I got an electric toothbrush. At some point I realized I was a housewife.. even though I thought I was supposed to be a stay-at-home mom. (I still have not completely come to grips with this.)

Noah smiled. And stuck his tongue out. I started physical therapy. Again. I discovered Gotye and "Somebody That I Used To Know." Lily got goldfish. Lily stopped having goldfish. I had to have a talk about death with my 3 year old. Mother's Day happened.

The zoo happened. I started looking into preschools for Lily and eating a lot of noodles. Summer was really hotter than I was able to deal with- normally.

There was a stupid amount of drama with where my brother-in-law was living (still with us). No one handled it well. Or right.

I went to all kinds of doctors. Lily started eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. A lot. Independence Day. I discovered the joy of a blue cheese veggie dog lunch.

I didn't go to BlogHer'12.

It deserved it's own line- I sold my ticket, cancelled my hotel reservation, and I was devastated. I didn't go.

I finally bought a new wallet. Noah started eating baby cereal. He didn't care for it, but ate it anyway. The air conditioner became my best friend again. I got new sneakers. Lily, Noah, and I went to a county fair. Lily got way, far away from me and I had to sprint after her.. at a county fair.

In-law drama. Lily got really good at playing video games and I started eating a lot of cereal. Lily was suddenly able to spell and write her name really well. Noah became an expert at baby food and I got another year older.

We enjoyed a lot of food from my mother-in-law's garden. Lily started preschool. Lily. Turned. Four.

Halloween. We lost power for 25 hours. Lily went on her first field trip. I voted. I started physical therapy. Again again.

I found a new dentist and had 4 more cavities filled. Added another new doctor to my collection- who sent me to physical therapy, even though I was already still going. We all got sick 900 times in the first few months of having a child in school. Noah started crawling at scary lightning fast speeds.

My brother-in-law finally.. moved.. out! And I started cleaning his room. Thanksgiving. (Funny how those are the two events that ended up next to each other on this list.) Lily and I actually watched most of the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Lots of "strange," TAPS kinda things started up again. I blogged every single day of November. Purposely. And I secretly purchased a new color of Fiestaware dishes.

Lily decided she hated/was scared of the Elf on the Shelf. I used this to my advantage. Lily had the worst day of school. Ever. And she went to the dentist for the first time.

Sandy Hook.

Not something we did, but.. It still affects me. So horribly. That I can't talk about it anymore.

Lily and I made Christmas decorations. Lily had the best day of school. Ever. I cut my finger open taking Lily to an appointment. And traumatized her for 2 weeks. Santa came to visit, Christmas happened, and the toy store exploded in our house.

The first real snow of the season happened just before 2012 ended.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

what we did this week

1. Wrapped presents (while listening to Christmas music)
2. Went to the city
3. Realized that there was apparently a dinosaur at the first Christmas
4. Had a visit from Santa
5. Waited for snow
6. Saw snow, finally, start to arrive

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012 in review

I am not organized. The house never really got fully cleaned up for Christmas. Which wasn't a huge deal because the only visitor we had was Santa Claus. And he, ya know, doesn't care that much about whether or not you washed the kitchen floor, vacuumed the hall, or did all the laundry.

Also, do you think I got any decent Christmas pictures? Not really. There are a few non-descript pictures that could have been at almost any holiday or other point in history, but they are nothing super Christmas2012-y. And none of them have more than 1 person in them. It would have been so nice to get a great a holiday picture of my 2 children together. Being nice to each other. And not blurry or streaked because they cannot stay still. Ever. No, not even long enough for the shutter to click.

But, I guess I should just be thankful that I don't have pictures of the Christmas tree being thrown to the ground by an almost-toddler or some of the inside of an ambulance. And there I was, at the end of November, thinking about having a real tree. It was hard enough getting Noah to leave the tree and lights alone. And getting Lily to stop touching the ornaments and rearranging everything constantly. If I had added a giant bowl of water with a tree trunk in it to the equation, I probably would not have made it through the holiday season.

Oh well, there's always next year. When I will have a full-blown toddler and a 5-year old. The combination of which I'm sure will be much more conducive to real-tree having.

Funny. More like conducive to real-tree being sent flying through the window having.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

what we did last week

1. Went shopping at Target. Bought lots of things that I didn't intend to when I entered the store. So, what else is new? This glass mushroom light was 30% off and with a $1 off coupon on top of that. How could I not get it? Somehow the fact that it was USB (and stated so in bold letters on the front of the box) went right over my head. But apparently our printer and router both have USB ports.. so, there is sits.

2. It's been the kind of week for layers upon layers of clothing. At least I somehow got some color and pattern in there.

3. I tried a Vanilla Honey Steamer from Cosi for the first time. I burned my tongue (because I have little to no patience), but other than that.. it was pretty good. Especially on such a miserably cold and windy night.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More spectacles

Wherever we go, it's not usually quietly. Yesterday morning, getting Lily up and ready for school.. was.. beyond awful.
She hadn't gotten enough sleep, so she didn't want to get out of bed. But unless she's really sick- she needs to go to school, because we both need the break from each other. There was screaming and whining- and all clothes choices were completely unacceptable. She wasn't screaming that she didn't want to go- she was just screaming.. so I pushed on.

There were a few times I had to walk away from her in order not to completely flip my shit. After about an hour of it- and over half an hour late for school, Jason called me. His helpful advice was to just not take her, but when she's already totally drained everything out of me by 9am..? She's going to school! I told him what was happening, that "I need to g-e-t a-w-a-y from her," and hung up.

I took a deep breath, adopted a drastically different approach, and 20 minutes later we were on our way to school- really not knowing how she would be at school, but I had a feeling..

She would have a really good day. And she did. Her teacher could barely contain herself telling me that Lily was the line-leader when the kids went outside. (Which apparently is reserved for the best-behaved, most cooperate child at the moment.) It was a first for Lily.

And then there was today. Lily and I had an appointment that we needed to be 15 minutes early for. Not surprisingly, 15 minutes before the appointment we were still at home. Aaand we were late even if we weren't supposed to be there early. Because, that's just what we do.

Then, I cut my finger on their front door. At first, it seemed like just a tiny scratch. But by the time we got up to the window to check-in I could see it wasn't. Oh hello, we're really late and could I have a band-aid because I just sliced my finger open on your door. Lily hid her face in her hands when she saw the blood running down into my palm. Another super-successful impression made.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Dental Health-idays

It's only been in the last few years that I have suddenly had stupid amounts of dental problems. Caused by cavities and the process of making them go away (Novocaine, drilling, filling, etc). So when my hygienist told me to get an electric toothbrush, I was like.. I'll buy a pineapple farm if you tell me it's going to make "the drilling" not have to happen.

I looked at a lot of reviews for electric toothbrushes. And people seemed to be fairly happy with the line from Oral-B, so (having never had an electric toothbrush in my life) that's what I went with as well.

The one I have is in between this and this. And? I looooove it. To the extent that I would recommend it to anyone else thinking about getting an electric toothbrush. Or even if you aren't thinking about it.  Because before the time that specific hygienist told me to get an electric toothbrush- no one else ever had. (And I don't know why- because they really should have.) I guess I thought they were more for those people. You know, the types of people that aren't you.. or me. Other people. Weird people. People with too much money and not enough.. something. So, I guess I'm one of them now.

Yes, they are more expensive. But if it keeps the drill away from my mouth for even one extra visit, it's worth it to me. Each brush has different features- but, my favorite is the one that tells me that I'm apparently brushing my teeth too hard (it's hard not to when I keep hearing I have cavities) and that's a bad thing.

And.. what better time than the impending new year to buy yourself (or someone whose dental care needs bettering) an electric toothbrush? If I didn't already have one, I'd take advantage of some of the deals from the P&G eStore right now: 15% off on a first-time order from a new customer (using promo code: A9Z-MN5-KY3-ISA), free shipping on orders over $25, and free samples with every order.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The awful gets.. awful-er

The awfulness that happened on Friday.. it just won't go away for me. It's just a nightmare.. a total unreal nightmare. And I feel awful for even feeling things like that- because I didn't lose a child on Friday (thank God and whoever else). I don't personally know anyone that did. I don't even live in Connecticut. And yet..

The more I read (and I can't seem to stop myself) the more horrid, gruesome details I learn. And the more sick, absolutely sick I feel. It just seems to be a never ending tale of the worst things I can imagine happening, without these things actually happening to me.

At first I thought.. well at least X. Then no, no.. that wasn't the case. And I felt worse. Then I was thinking well, at least Y.. Y at least, right? Because Y has to be true.. because, it just does. And then I read articles about "new gruesome details" (because I wasn't devastated enough already apparently).. and felt worse and worse and worse. Because Y wasn't true. At all. The actual total opposite in fact.

(If you haven't been reading the gruesome details, don't. As bad as you can imagine it- it's actually worse. And probably will just keep getting worse and worse as I cannot stop myself from knowing. I wish I could scrub my mind out.)

I have been sick since Friday. Physically sick to my stomach. For days. Part of me just wants to cry, thinking it will make the sickness go, but.. I doubt it will.

I read about so many people planning to wear the elementary school's colors (green and white) on Monday. What is that going to do? I don't know. But we did it, the 3 of us. Because when one feels so unbelievably helpless, when the tiniest shred of anything comes by.. you grab it.

Unfortunately, we are probably the least green wardrobed people on the planet. Lily agreed to wear the green pants she has refused to wear for the last month (I couldn't believe it honestly) and a dress over them that was mostly white. Noah had little specks here and there on his clothes, but he did have a green blanket. All I had was heavy winter jacket and a striped (with white) scarf.. in the rain. I added some green and white yarn to the zipper pull.. and we were off for the day.

To where? Oh.. nowhere special.. just dropping Lily off.. AT SCHOOL.

I didn't really want to think about it. Just went through the motions of everything this morning while we were getting ready. Lily said her usual, casual goodbye to Jason and we started out the door, then..

She runs back down the hall towards him and tells him "goodbye", "I'm going to miss you!", etc etc. Hugs! Kisses! Sadness. Oh God child.

We head down the stairs.. and she starts telling me how much she's going to miss me. Something about writing her a letter and leaving it in the mailbox. Sadness. Emphasizing the MISSING me. I finally had to stop her.. asked her to stop being so sappy (which I'm sure she didn't understand). Because, in my head.. I knew I was on the verge of falling apart.. with the way she was acting.. like.. we're not going to see each other again. All I was doing was taking her to school, it's not like.. oh, wait. Exactly.

Going from the car to the school, I gripped her hand tight, and closed my eyes for a moment. "Get it together, you cannot cry dropping this child off at school," I told myself. And I did. Until Noah and I left the school without her, and I was just thinking about how all I wanted was for her to be returned to us safely. Ug.

And there was no way I thought about her at school.. while she was.. you know, actually AT school. Because I would have chewed all my fingernails down to nothing.

When Noah and I picked Lily up from school.. I could hear her before I saw her. I put Noah's carrier down on the floor and crouched down to Lily-level, because as she popped around the corner towards me, running, her face..

..God. Looked just like the faces coming out of the elementary school. She'd been crying, she still was crying, she was desperate, SO upset. She ran straight into my arms and I held her tight. She kept crying. I almost lost it too. With the shakiest voice I've ever heard come out of my body, I asked her what happened.

And.. it was not anything that was the end of the world. I honestly cannot even remember what she said.. I was just holding onto her.

Because I could. Because we still have that ability. We are both still here. But how those parents, walking out of that firehouse.. without their children, had the ability to put one foot in front of the other? I don't know. They would have had to carry me out.

I do not ever want to know how they could. I do not ever want to understand a parent's ability to get through something like that. I just don't want to know if I have that strength or not. No one does.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

what we did this week

1. Lily went with two different socks, knee socks at that!, the other day. I don't know where she got the idea, but.. it was a good one. (She's so "stylish"- to use a word she's been known to say.)

2. We've done exactly one holiday craft this year (so, thank goodness for preschool). She wanted to.. I can't even remember what it was (that wasn't the best idea).. but I steered her in the modified direction of coloring and sticker-ing Christmas type shapes (tree, ornament, wreath, etc) that I cut out of construction paper. It went okay for about 5 minutes.. then she just wanted to cut paper into microscopic pieces. After I strongly discouraged that.. she instead smeared the glue stick on the paper and stuck random shapes to it. So.. Merry Christmas.

3. Cupcakes. That Jason made and started decorating with Lily. She had her own batch that she coughed all over, licked the frosting off of, and similar 4-year old activities. I was on my way out, but stopped to decorate two anyway, because I thought Lily would enjoy the 3 of us doing a "project" together. I doubt she noticed though, she was too busy sucking the frosting right out of the piping bags. Ah, to be 4.. and full of sugar.

Friday, December 14, 2012

When there are things that make no sense..

Dear Lily and Noah,

When I left this morning, I hugged you goodbye, and told you to be good. I said "I love you" and you told me the same (those of you that could). It's the same ritual every time.

It's hard for me to put into words why, and certainly not words that a 4 year old and 10 month old can understand. And maybe not even words that anyone other than a mother.. a parent could understand. It has to do with the heart.. the soul- your inside being. And there are often no words that can explain those things. But, the older and more "mommy" I've gotten.. the more I've come to understand it.

I've always hugged you and loved you, but I used to sometimes forget that even when I was in a rush out the door- there is never anywhere I can't be at 10 seconds later. Now, I always indulge you in that one extra hug or kiss or game of patty cake or "pretend hug" or whatever else.

Because you guys are, without question, the most important things to me.

I was happy, as usual, to see you both when I came home from my appointment. You played while I did the dishes, started laundry, and picked up a few things around the house. When I was done, I sat down at my computer. I read my email and looked at what I'd missed on Twitter. I saw that someone had written.. "Thoughts and prayers to Connecticut" followed by another that used words like "saddened," "tragedy," and.. the worst one.. "Elementary." Oh. God.

I did a search for the school they named: Sandy Hook. And nothing has been the same since.

Again, it's hard for me to find the words. Especially because of you, Lily, on the verge of starting Kindergarten. I am devastated.. so very, very sad.. and sick. Over a bad thing that happened to so many little people, just a little older than you, while they were at school. Such a bad, horrible thing.

There are some families that will never get to see the people they love again. There are some boys and girls that went to school this morning, but won't ever get to go home or play or have Christmas again. And the ones that do.. will never ever be the same, no matter how many hugs and kisses they get from their mommies and daddies.

And that makes me so sad. So sad for them and so sad that this is the world you are growing up in. I am so sad and scared that these things happen. It's hard for me not to cry.

All day since, I have been sad. And all day since, I have tried hard to be a better mommy for you. Because that's all I can really take away from the bad thing that makes no sense. It's the little bit "okay" along with the scariness- that so many mommies, daddies, and little ones are getting and giving a lot of extra hugs tonight. Us included.

Love, Mommy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

First dentist visit? Check.

The most exciting thing to have happened (other than maybe starting school) in our young four-year old lives happened. Finally. The first dentist visit. For Lily as the patient, for me as the mommy of the patient.

Yes, I know, I'm a terrible parent for waiting so long, but.. a) at least she's finally been to see one now, and b) I've been a little busy this year with one thing after another after another after another (including the minor task of being ridiculously pregnant and then having a 2nd child).

So I made an appointment.. and we headed off to it- just she and I. As an aside, other than an occasional morning trip to school, it was the first time it'd been just she and I since.. Noah was born. Which is sad, obviously. (At the same time, it was the first time Noah and Jason were just the two of them. For more than 10 minutes or so. (He didn't care for me pointing that out.) By the way.)

I talked up how awesome getting to go to the dentist was. I super promised they weren't going to drill her teeth (yes, I tell her that if she doesn't brush her teeth well she's going to have them drilled- like mommy). Or pull any out(!- not sure where she got that idea). But.. I could tell she was still just the slightest bit apprehensive going in.

Ya, like that lasted long..

She plopped herself down on a bench in the waiting room. And while I filled out her paperwork, she watched another little girl playing with her Mario and Princess Peach figures. (Woah- not only do other little girls like Super Mario, but there just had to be one in the waiting room with us. It was meant to be.) I didn't realize it at first, then I heard the girl say something about 'Bowser' and Lily responded to her about a castle, I looked up at her- at them.. and smiled, knowing Lily must think the dentist was okay after all.

The dental staff was.. like.. perfect, basically. They knew just what to say to Lily. And when the hygienist missed what Lily had said, because she was talking to me, she immediately apologized to Lily and asked her to repeat herself. They were gentle with her when they needed to be and pushed for a little more as they thought they could get away with it. Although, if they hadn't offered her BLUE raspberry toothpaste, they may never have gotten to brush her teeth.

She was thrilled to get to watch, with a hand held mirror, while they turned all her teeth blue. And then used a straw-like device to suck all the toothpaste and saliva out of her mouth. (When asked later, that was her favorite part.)

Lily was a model child the entire time- cooperative, articulate, funny, charming. When the dentist commented on her red outfit, she told him 'yes, like a strawberry.' As he and the hygienist laughed about that, he continued that she needed a green hat then.. 'or a green jacket,' she responded without missing a beat. And that only made them chuckle more.

The best part? No cavities.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Asking for it

Lily had a bad day at school. Not as in the day happened to her, but as in she happened to the day. And it was rough. Really, rough.

The word "tantrums" (yes, plural) was used when I picked her up this afternoon.. as I got in trouble too. Because it was her worst yet day. To the extent that they were on the verge of calling me.


But- let me explain. She's not a bad kid. She's not rotten, awful, mean, etc. The opposite in fact. She's who she is. And she knows what she wants to do when she wants to do it. Aaand that doesn't go over especially well in a traditional school setting. Which was one of my concerns. She's smart, well-spoken, compassionate, etc. But she's also free-spirited, stubborn, strong-willed, etc.

We've had a hundred talks, she and I, about being a good listener. She will agree with me eventually, usually. But you can tell she thinks it's a bunch of crap. In a lot of ways it is, but 10 to 20 kids can't all do whatever they feel like at the same time. It's not fair. Which is my latest way to try to get through to her.

Because I don't want to tell her that she has to do whatever her teacher tells her. I watch the news- there are a million and a half ways that can go horribly, so horribly.. evil. And it's not a bad thing that she has her own drummer. I don't want to squash that.

She is not going to do something just because you say so. She needs to know why. It needs to make sense to her. It needs to interest her. It needs to be in line with what she thinks are good ideas (and there are many, so many, things she thinks are not good ideas). I don't know if that's typical for a 4 year old, but I don't think so.

As her mom, I've had 24 hours a day.. 7 days a week.. for the last 50 months.. to figure out ways to get her to be on her best behavior for as much of the day as I can squeeze out of her. Her teachers are just getting dropped into the middle of the chaos that is Lily.

Are they going to have time to treat her a little different, a little special? Because she is? She's not going to switch activities just because a teacher tells her to. Is it a valid switch? It is something interesting? Is it something she wants to do? Is there something in it for her? It's a logical approach.

But when her answers are no, no, no, and no.. and they push her into it anyway? Because that's the way a traditional school is run.. it's a problem. She doesn't take it well. She gets upset. She yells. She kicks and swings. Then she gets it out of her system and she's fine. And sweet and lovely again. Which is, I think, why they haven't booted her "free-spirited" little butt out yet.

I'm just sick of getting in trouble every time she does too. Cus I am doing something. I am holding her accountable for her behavior. I am trying for her to do the right thing. You just wouldn't know it, at school.

[Then I actually write this. And she has to run around the house acting like a crazy person. And scream. And not listen to a single thing I say. And.. force me to make another cup of coffee. While I kind of.. push the hard alcohol a little further back in the cabinet. Because it's only 2 o'clock. On Monday.]

Saturday, December 8, 2012

what we did this week

1. Happy Apple. Apparently one of my favorite things when I was a baby- now in the hands of my second child. Can you believe it was actually made in the USA? Apparently that was the norm a million years ago (when I was born).. making things in this country.

2. I don't have shoes so fancy that I should be taking fancy pictures of them and posting them on the fancy internet. But.. I do have some pretty cool socks.. which are possibly borderline fancy.

3. When I went to Target yesterday, Lily put together this gingerbread man for me. And then made me eat the whole thing. So I did.. cus I mean, who am I turn to down a cute little child of mine when he or she is offering up sugary goodness?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The e-l-f

This probably makes me a terrible parent, but.. I love The Elf on the Shelf. It's like.. the miracle parenting tool. You know why? Because my daughter HATES it.

Honestly, I didn't even realize we had it. When we unpacked the Christmas boxes this year.. there it was. I can only guess that we got it on clearance after Christmas last year. Excitedly I showed Lily the box and took out the elf. And she instantly disliked it. I tried to talk it up.. about how he was going to report back to Santa about everything she was doing- good and bad. We even read the book.

She decided she hated the elf and demanded it go back in the box. She didn't want anything to do with it.. she didn't even want to look at it. So.. back in the box it went.

I tried to bring up the subject again, but she didn't want to hear it. And then suddenly it dawned on me..

If that elf thinks bad behavior is going on.. he's going to want to come out of his box and check it out. I made sure Lily knew that as well.

Now? The mention of the elf coming out of his box to see what's going on stops her dead in her naughtiness tracks. Like.. dead, instant stop. This has never happened with any other tactic. Ever.

Lily's jumping on the couch? Do I need to get the elf? Bang- she's sitting down instead. Lily's screaming about not wanting to pee or brush her teeth or take a shower.. or whatever? Should I get the elf to come and help? No don't get the elf!! Don't get him! Okay, I'll do it. Lily's dragging her brother across the floor by his arm? What is that I hear- is that the elf getting out of his box? NO! Don't get him, don't get him! And she stops.

I don't think she's fearful of him. She just fully believes he's going to tattle. And she does not want Santa to get wind of any misbehavior on her part. Getting those Christmas presents from Santa is a powerful, powerful motivator for a 4 year old.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

what we did this week

1. I may or may not have purchased some new Fiestaware dishes in relation to Black Friday/Thanksgiving Eve sales. If I did do that.. this might be what they look like. But I'm not admitting to anything.
2. New zebras mittens for Noah. I couldn't not buy them- he's going to hate them I'm sure.
3. Aaand.. we have a Christmas tree. I was tricked into being involved with decorating it, as you may already know. I am, however, totally responsible for all Starbucks related ornaments it might be adorned with. What can I say, miniature Starbucks cups are my weakness.
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