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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Haps

September is going well.

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I'm still feeling pretty good, though that mystical 2nd trimester burst of energy has not hit me yet.  I swear, I am more tired than I was a month ago, and I wonder if it just has to do with our weeks being so much busier and more "scheduled" with preschool and ECFE starting up again.  I am not usually a nap taker, but there were two days last week that I inadvertently fell asleep during Louie's nap.  Blech.  I don't like doing this because I like to get things done during that time, or at least enjoy some alone time.  I guess a nap can be considered alone time, but still.  Feels like a waste, and I wake up even more drowsy and crabby than I was before.

It nearly happened again yesterday.  We had a busy morning of preschool drop-off and pick-up and in-between got Louie a haircut and made a trip to the library.  Oh and my mom hung out with us all morning and she is good company but also talks a lot and sucks up a lot of my "social" energy.  So after getting home, getting the kids lunch, reading them a few library books and putting Louie down for a nap, I was ready to drop.  I did lay down for a minute, playing around on my phone, but the drowsiness almost took over, so I popped up and was at it again.  I spent a bunch of time organizing toys, trying to manage the sheer volume of toys is getting overwhelming again after Gus's birthday.  Right after his party a few weeks ago the boys and I went around the house and threw everything that they didn't really care about into a huge box for donation, I was surprised by how willingly they were able to give things up.  Louie repeatedly would announce that something was "junk" and toss it in the pile.  (Okay, that's kind of sad.) It was a much more positive experience than doing it myself secretly which has in the past on more than one occasion caused pure DEVASTATION when (usually months after they actually disappeared) a certain preschooler noticed things missing.  I figured this time it would be better to have their buy-in.

Here are a few pictures from Gus's 5th birthday party.  We had TWO parties in one day, and it was majorly exhausting, but so so so nice to get them both out of the way in one day.  Family all cam over in the morning, we cooked a feast - pulled pork tacos and all the fixings, chips and guac, spanish rice, fruits and veggies.  It was delicious and not THAT much work, other than all the chopping and dicing that was done the night before.  Oh and Dan had to set his alarm for 3:00 AM to get the pork started in the slow cooker.

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Just us the night of his actual birthday. 


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There are a surprising lack of photos from the 1st party, too busy hosting I guess.


Then in the evening we had a "kid party", for which we served pizza from Broadway Pizza and homemade mac & cheese.  Much simpler.  Gus invited his daycare friends and then of course a bunch of his other friends, which are basically the kids of MY friends.  ;)

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Super fun, the dual party situation also allowed us to feel it worth it to get a bounce house and go all out, it being his golden birthday and all.  We got the smallest & shortest bounce house we could find due to the size of our very urban backyard and the lovely power lines running right through it.  Despite some stress and worry about finding said "small" bounce house after promising one to the kids and printing it on the invites... it all worked out just fine. 

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And then after a weekend full of birthday excitement, school started.

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Breakfast before his 1st day. 


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Ugh.  The bizarre fake smile.  The hands in his pants.  It's just too much. 


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While Gus is at at school... we go shopping with grandma!  (Random stop at a construction site outside Home Goods.)

This month we also did make the much discussed bunk bed purchase and Gus is regularly sleeping up top so there's this big old bed underneath just waiting for his brother to take over.  But the tiredness.  I just can't muster the energy to do the room-sharing thing yet, much less transition Louie out of his crib.  Ugh.  I know it's inevitable, and I guess the sooner we get that crap over with, the better... but I am filled with the dread.  This procrastinating of difficult things is one of my worst and least productive tendencies, but I still continue to do it, despite fully acknowledging that it is a giant character flaw.

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Blurry pic of his first night sleeping in the bunk bed.  Now he's consistently been sleeping up top.


Of course these things I dread are almost always way worse in my head, so let's hope that's the case when we finally make the shared room plunge.  The biggest issue is that the boys have different bedtimes, Gus actually goes to bed quite a bit earlier since he doesn't nap.  Just not sure how we will make all that work, but of course we will.  Life will carry on.

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When Louie stays up later after Gus goes to sleep, he just never stops talking and drives his parents batty.  But he's so also just so hilarious and charming and I caught him "reading" this people magazine one night on the couch in a rare moment of him not talking.


The fall fun has already begun, I took the boys to Sever's last Saturday with Suzi and her kids, and we had a complete blast.  I had never been, and always anticipated this place to be a hellish zoo, but maybe picking the very first weekend to go was key.  It wasn't busy at all, and the kids had so much fun and surprisingly it didn't require an overwhelming amount of "parenting", if you know what I mean.  Just sort of a free-for-all of fun, which isn't always the case with these sort of things.  I think we have found ourselves in somewhat of a sweet spot with the ages and maturity levels of these two little guys.  Gus at 2.5 was no picnic, and while Louie certainly has his moments, he's just so dang verbal that a lot of the frustration of dealing with a 2 year old is mitigated by the ability to just communicate.  Yes, he's irrational, and yes, he can fall a part at the drop of a hat, but he's pretty easy to talk sense to, or at least distract.  

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"Mom, look!  I''m just like Mario, jumping from tire to tire!"

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Llama selfie.  Because I had to.


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Why are the goats always so crazy?

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My kids are both old enough that I never really had to go in there!  (Except for photos.)

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Lovely picture of the four of them, no?

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The tires - black smudgy EVERYTHING.  The corn - dusty EVERYTHING.  Bath night, for sure.

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Okay, yup that there wrestling match is my life with boys.

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The hay bale maze is fun both inside and on top!  The kids all ran themselves ragged in this thing until they were practically asking to head home.

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Not without a picture though.  With a giant crotch.

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More cooperation.  :)


Monday, September 08, 2014

So it's fall already

If you went by my archives, it would appear that most of spring and summer don't exist... Year after year I seem to sort of fall away from the internets a little bit during these precious warmer months, and I'm trying to let go of the guilt I have about that, because it does sort of suck to not have any of that documented for the future, but it's also okay to just live and not worry about finding the time to write about it.  Summer is like this strange blend of normal life with less rules, and an almost indulgent absence of time and deadlines.  Even at work, summertime in the office often feels like summer camp, along with my coworkers I find myself coming in later, leaving earlier, stretching the rules of business casual, showing up in sloppy sandals and maxi dresses most of the time.  I like it though.  Summer is awesome.

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Louie and Tim, fishing off the dock at the cabin

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ECFE end-of-year party... in MAY!

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Random spontaneous backyard summer awesomeness

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Go find your brother with those kid

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Big catches labor day weekend!

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Kite flying!

So we've been playing hooky from real life, even though day-to-day life isn't really that different on the outside, it somehow feels different.  It smells different.  And I liked the lack of busy, even though we do seem to keep quite busy.  Fun busy is different from "have-to" busy.  In the summertime I find we do much more with our evenings, all of us with more energy and enthusiasm for truly LIVING (well pregnancy steals a little bit of that unfortunately), those winter weeknight hours of sitting in our living room willing for bedtime to come feels like a distant memory, memories I am currently pretending won't become our reality again in a few months.  There have been more nightly baths and later bedtimes but it's all worth it, because there are also more smiles and more sunshine and more family togetherness that doesn't feel forced.

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Local fire station open-house

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Zoo with cousin Graham

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Twins game in early June.  I was pregnant, but didn't know it.

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6:30 PM bedtimes at the cabin

But nothing smacks you harder with reality than September.  A new school year.  A suddenly full weekly calendar.  Meticulous planning for pick-ups and drop-offs, and 30 minutes setting up iPhone reminders for little things like snack sign-up and preschool pajama day.  I like it but I don't.

As a student, I've always loved the start of the school year.  I spent weeks thinking about what I would wear on the first day, I would lay in bed for hours staring at the clock, willing myself to fall asleep but my adrenaline too high.  I loved it.

As a parent, of two kids not quite in real school yet, I have mixed emotions.  Excitement?  For sure.  Pride, anticipation, nervousness, worry, lots of jitters.  The worry usually rears its ugly head when I'm laying in bed at night, and the funny thing is I'm not even really stewing about school this year.  Gus is going to the same wonderful preschool, 3 days a week this year rather than 2.  And I'm only a little anxious but that's just because that's how I get with my tough-cookie-to-crack first-born who seems to have a harder time adapting to change.  Sleep is a big thing for him during the school year, when he gets off, he gets OFF and it greatly impacts how his days go at school and daycare.

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Turned 5 just a few days ago!

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So for those reasons and many more, the excitement of the start of a new school year is mixed with some melancholy.  Following the steps we know we have to follow in order for him to be successful also means life is a little less fun.  Less spontaneity.  Less "throwing caution to the wind".  A lot of checking and double-checking of calendars to make sure we're not missing something.

I also can't help but think ahead to the year of decisions we have to make, about Kindergarten for next year.  Public or private?  In-district transfer?  When is the lottery for the district STEM school again?  Open enrollment outside of the district?  Drop-off or bus?  And then we will need to figure out what latchkey issues each of our options present.  It all feels so huge and monumental and I think right now I know the best place for him (for our whole family really, that's the other thing about all of this, Louie and baby Nubs will go here too), I know where we're leaning.  But truly?  You don't really ever know.  It's the fear of unknown, I've always struggled with this, and I can't really picture what life will be like with kids full-time in school.. I have no way to determine how things will go, and I honestly just want the decision to be made so I can move on in my mind and start powering forward.  

Louie and I started a new ECFE class today, through another district because we couldn't find a way to fit any of the classes offered with our own district into this newly "busy" little life of ours.  So I was actually nervous, it's new for me too, and I felt sad to not be going to the same local school I've been going for ECFE since Gus was a tiny baby.  Well it went really great, though Louie was so nervous and kept asking me over and over if I was going to go drink coffee with the other moms and leave him there, and I said yes, but not until lots of fun playtime and circle time together.  He was quiet on the car ride there, and again asked me the same questions, one after another, and would look down at his hands and talk really quietly when I brought up things he might do at school.  Oh he seriously is the sweetest child, I feel so so grateful to be his mom and to be one of the people in this world he loves the most.  I do not take fact, nor the weight of it for granted.  Lucky lucky me.

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This year is going to be great.  My gut says so.  I am hopeful and tentatively excited.  Wish I wasn't such a headcase about things, change in particular, but I'm guessing I'm not the first mom out there mulling over this stuff in her brain over and over and over to the point of craziness?  I feel like as a parent of littles, especially when they were babies, I was able to roll with the punches and let my instincts take over... I guess I'm counting on and hoping those instincts will do me well in this next phase of life.  The school years.  Crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Number 3: FAQ

How it happened

Welp. This is a bit awkward, and knowing that Dan's GRANDMA periodically checks in here, (a number of our family members actually), I won't go into too many details.  But suffice it to say, there was a bit of a mishap situation thingy, and I know exactly when/where/how this little bundle came to be. (!)

And so while that part of the story made for some excitement and shock and "NO WAY. SERIOUSLY?!" at the beginning of this journey (ugh - The Bachelor has ruined that word), we are so very happy and this baby is very much wanted and loved already.  

We had been grappling with the decision to have a 3rd child for quite a while now, and as a couple we continued for many months to have the same conversation over and over again. A conversation that always ended the same. Indecision. Mutual promises to talk about this again soon. "It's only going to get more difficult the longer we put it off…"

So what I think we needed was a little divine intervention, and suffices it to say, that's what we got.   

How did we tell people? 

Oh goodness I just blurted it, a number of times. I wonder if it was because it was a surprise, but I seriously just felt itchy to get it off my chest. Maybe I needed more people to know so they could help me get used to the idea? Maybe I just needed to keep saying it so it would become real? I blurted it first to my friend Betsy because I just had to tell someone, and because I took a test on a Thursday on my lunch break, I couldn't tell Dan yet. You can't tell your husband something like that over the phone or in an email. Well Betsy lives in Chicago, so my thinking was that ultimately I wouldn't be able to tell her in person anyway… so immediately when I got back to my office I sent her a message and we emailed back and forth all afternoon going through the details. Freaking out a bit, calculating due dates, thinking about what this all means.

Once Dan was in the know (Chinese take-out, pregnancy test, I alluded to that story already) we couldn't help ourselves. The next evening we had dinner with my parents and brother and sister-in-law, and after dinner when we were playing in the backyard with the kids, my mom made another one of her innocuous comments about giving them another grandchild (I'm sure she said granddaughter actually) and I blurted it out. Well. I’m pregnant so… you can cut it out with the NEED MORE GRANDCHILDREN pressure.  ;) The first thing she said was, "AHHHH! Surprises
are almost always GIRLS!" (Sigh.)

Dan's parents were out of town that weekend, but that Sunday evening we were all over at his grandparent's house for ice cream and Dan blurted it this time, because I was starting to feel weird about it. We had never told people so early, not even our parents, so it was making me nervous, like we were going to jinx things. But I do think both of us were just feeling so surprised and shocked by this whole development that we needed to share the surprise and shock with everyone around us. The next day, Monday, I told Lisa after Zumba and she squealed and was so excited just as I knew she would be because she is 10 weeks ahead of me and now we are pregnant TOGETHER! This is oh-so-exciting and one of those huge life things that I'm pretty sure we discussed and planned to do together as grade-schoolers. And here we are!

That Wednesday evening I took the boys to Dan's softball games after work and my sister-in-law was there with my nephews… so I told her. In fact, I remember my exact words, because they were so eloquent… "So did Dan tell John yet?  I'm freaking pregnant, how crazy is that?" And do you know what she said?

"Ummm, ME TOO!"

Come to find out, she's about a week and a half ahead of me, due with her FOURTH, and I just could not even believe it. Shocked. Mind blown a second time within a week.

What are the chances we're both having another boy, bringing the headcount between our two families to SEVEN?  That's more than half a soccer team!  

How the big brothers are doing

Oh goodness, those sweet boys of ours are so excited. They talk about the baby constantly, especially as my belly continues to grow at an epic (scary) pace. I think Louie is definitely more in the "tentatively excited" camp, he certainly doesn't understand quite as well as Gus what is going on. 

Gus, however, is just jubilant, proud, excited, and very engaged in the whole thing, and this has been the best part so far of being pregnant with older kids.

We broke out all the new baby children's books and have been reading them non-stop, by request. Gus is extremely interested in one particular book that shows how the baby is growing in the belly, and talks about the different stages of fetal development, going all the way back to the ole sperm and egg situation. He is fascinated, and has told me on a number of occasions that the baby already has fingernails, and a really big head, something the book calls out at 12 weeks. 

Louie mostly has just ruminated over how he has to stop having "night night" soon, before the baby is born, which will be after Christmas, and after his birthday. (Due date: February 20, 2015) Yes, as of about 4 days ago we were still nursing at 2.5 years old, only at bedtime/nap-time as it was part of a very set-in-stone routine.  I finally just bit the bullet and cut him off completely this weekend. I've been ready to be done for a while now, but he was so attached to it, and it wasn't really hurting anything, so I just did what I usually do when I am dreading some sort of change or transition.  I put it off. But finally this weekend I hit a wall, and it just started to really eek me out. Like made my skin crawl, which I knew meant it had to be over. And much to my surprise, it was really easy.  Bedtime and nap-time when they involve me are a little more drawn out now, because I've messed with our routine, but he hasn’t been angry. He hasn’t been sad. He's been sort of matter of fact about it. Baby Nubs is going to be here after his birthday and so we need to stop. He pretty much said, "No more? Okay mom, let's just snuggle in the rocking chair."

Oh yeah, Baby Nubs. Up until about a week ago, both boys have called the baby "Nubs" which I’m told is the name of the baby rhinoceros from an episode of Wild Kratts. It has definitely stuck, even Dan and I refer to the baby as "Nubs". Then last week Gus announced in the car on the way home from daycare that, and I quote, "I’m going to name the baby Sweetie now, I decided Nubs isn't the perfect name, but Sweetie is." Okay then.  

Gus is convinced it's a girl, there is no discussion of it.  He always refers to the baby as her or she, and if we remind him that it could be a boy he says, "No, it’s a girl." My sister-in-law Michelle was having a conversation with him on Sunday evening and said, "What if it's a baby brother? That would be fun too, right?" He responded matter of factly, "It's not. It's going to be a girl."

Soooo...

Will we find out?

The good news is, we are FOR SURE finding out at the big 20-week ultrasound, so he'll have some time to get used to the disappointment if we do find out we're having another boy. Of course, I would love to have a little girl, LOVE. There's no question, and I'm not going to dance around it. But what's done is done, what is will be… and right now we are just planning for another baby. I don’t even think about the baby as a boy or girl right now, I mostly think about the fact that we will have THREE KIDS. Ha. And when I talk about the baby, I find myself saying he, though I doubt that means anything. Still, I haven't even allowed myself to think about names yet, and I don't even have a desire to do so until we know. There is plenty of time for those inevitable spirited marital debates, and I'm not really a fan of decidedly choosing a name ahead of time, or anyone other than the two of us knowing the chosen name. I like having the ability to change my mind (as many times as I please), and frankly I don't want anyone's opinion on the matter, so there you go. We will find out, but the name will come later. 

How I’ve been feeling

I am feeling much better. I will be 15 weeks on Friday, and I can tell the worst of it is behind me. The first trimester was definitely no fun, but I can't complain too much. There was only one bout of the pukes (while brushing my teeth – classic) but lots of nausea. Mornings and late evenings have been the worst, and an empty stomach is sure to give me the dry-heaves/shakes. I've been eating breakfast almost immediately upon getting up in the morning, when I'm normally an on-the-way-to-work breakfast eater, because I literally could not get through mine or the kids' morning routines without eating right away. And by the end of the evening, still, I'm just spent, and sort of crabby to my poor husband, and ready to just please let this day be over. Lame, I know.
Other first trimester woes have included that pregnant lady tin-mouth phenomenon (blech), bloat, round ligament pain when I accidentally and quickly use my ab muscles, and decidedly huge boobs already (rage).

What I've been eating

Aversions so far have been random: buttered wheat toast, hazelnut coffee, almond milk in my coffee, anything that leaves a sweet after-taste (gross), ice cream (tummy aches), watermelon for some reason always ends badly even though it tastes wonderful as I'm eating it, and finally just over-eating makes BAD THINGS HAPPEN (there was a particular incident that involved the over-consumption of guacamole and tortilla chips at the beginning of date-night out that essentially served to end said date night about 3 hours early)

Cravings: coffee with cream, eggs, pizza, potatoes, guacamole (despite the incident), apples and peanut butter, and strawberry or raspberry greek yogurt

Nausea-fighting edibles: mints, sunflower seeds, and lime-flavored sparkling water (OMG so good)

What I’ve been wearing

I just broke out the three boxes of maternity clothes yesterday, and promptly went through and got rid of two boxes. (So ugly, did I really wear those things?) Work has been particularly difficult to dress for over the last month or so, because no one there knew, so I was dressing in my regular clothes while trying to be discreet. Many a big bulky sweater was worn mid-July through mid-August, which is just ridiculous.

I feel like I look REALLY pregnant this time around, and it's somewhat unnerving, and it's not my favorite.  I never really lost all of the tummy stuff after having Louie, so I'm guessing that's just it, combined with the whole 3rd baby thing, it's just way OUT THERE right away.  I have finally just decided to embrace the belly at this point and roll with it, even if I feel like it is bigger than an almost-15 week belly should be. I've only gained about 3.5 lbs, which I don't think is terrible.  Eh.  It's all pretty typical insecurity stuff, probably shouldn't even attribute it to pregnancy because I am crazy in real life about body image stuff. I just have to buy a few new things that make me feel good and I'm sure I'll get out of this funk. 
  
What’s on the “To Do” list?

Lots. 
  • Get Louie transitioned out of his crib (he is nearly 2 years, 9 months, so it's not like we're pushing this on him!)
  • Operation bunk bed/shared room
  • Potty Training (in italics because Louie is hard core pushing back on this one, and letting us know in very clear ways that he is not ready, but I really hope he changes his tune on this one sooner than later)
  • Lots of things hinging on the pink or blue news: Pink will mean I am definitely updating the nursery a bit, to infuse some major girliness into this home that has been over-run with all things superhero/dinosaur/things with wheels for going on five years now. Pink would also mean I could go through my (approximately) 8 tubs of baby clothes and shoes, etc. and get rid of everything but the "special" stuff that will be saved for Gus and Louie's wives someday. Blue would mean I could start organizing, planning, tailoring, and still could get rid of some of the stuff that I have never been very fond of. I have so much boy stuff at this point that I am only keeping things I love and am sure to put on my 3rd and final child. 
  • Names. Again, not even thinking about this until we know. 
  • I think I’m going to get bangs again, and get highlights.  This is completely unrelated to baby, but it's on my list.
  • Solidify childcare situation for next year. I've talked to my daycare provider, i.e. SHE KNOWS and the discussion will be happening at some point in the future as to how we will do this, how we can make this work. (There were FOUR babies born at our daycare in the last 5 months, so there are considerations being made for those babies, and now our baby has become another factor in the daycare under-2 numbers game.)
  • Decide where we're sending Gus to school. Again, not tied directly to baby but this decision has huge implications for my work schedule, childcare situation, and all of our lives starting September 2015. And to say I am having an easy time with it would be a lie. It stresses me out like crazy.
  • Finish work on our breezeway/porch.  I am desperate to make this happen, even though I am not the one doing the work. We need this space in our home, I need to get some of my living room back from the TOYS. This has to happen this year.
So there it is.  All of my pregnancy-brain ramblings.  (You asked for it, girl!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I'm having another baby

I decided not to bury the lead this time.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

I've had a few months to freak out/panic/laugh/jump up and down/freak out some more/find peace with/get REALLY EXCITED about this little piece of news.  So I hope I've done a good job of freaking some of you out about this who don't know me in real life.  

Now you know how I felt on June 6th in that dingy public restroom in the back of a Bloomington Subway Sandwich restaurant.

And now you know how Dan felt when I came home that night with Chinese takeout and he reached into the brown paper bag for some Kung Pao chicken and pulled out a pregnancy test.  (I know, not the most sanitary, but I was going for shock value!)

I promise I'll be back with more interesting information, and maybe even a few belly pictures... I'm a few days away from 14 weeks. (Friday is the day actually, pregnant ladies, myself included, just can't seem to help themselves from rounding up, can they?)

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12 week little buddy!

I just wanted to get it out there, since as of this morning, my boss knows, and the news was sure to bleed over into the internet world soon (if it hasn't already) via some heavy instagramming of a very clear belly over this past weekend by my girlfriends.  (Still coming down from my Girl's Weekend high!)

Reading
The old "new baby!" books are back in heavy rotation.


More soon, I promise!  I have not been blogging all summer, in general, because I have basically been hanging on by a thread, taking the loveliness that is the first trimester day-by-day... but things seem to be on the upswing in the complaint department. Here's hoping!

THREE KIDS!!!!!!!!  It's going to be a while before I get used to that.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Religion and kids

I grew up Catholic and Dan Lutheran.  I fell away from the Catholic church after college, I suppose, when some of the big causes and issues the church took on over the last decade were things I very much opposed and felt strongly about on the other side of things.  Oh and all of the hypocrisy that was getting harder to ignore.  I started to look at religion very differently.

We joined a Lutheran church as a family a few years ago but definitely haven't been the best about making it a priority.  This is probably due to a number of things, but primarily because Gus was an absolute animal last year at three years old, and we couldn't get through Sunday school without some major meltdown or disruption or embarrassment.  I started to dread it and feel a lot of anxiety about the whole thing.  And Sundays are our family days and we hated spending so much of it managing children and scolding and fretting over their behavior.

Easter Sunday with their cousins
And you know what?  We are the grown-ups now, so we get to decide how involved we are in the church.  We get to choose our priorities.  Life is too short to do things out of guilt or some sense of obligation, and as much as I do value my Christian upbringing and how it shaped me, we have to do what feels right at the time.

I don't want to make some big statement here about organized religion and what it means to raise children of faith.  I'm not sure I have quite wrapped my head around it all, and what we're going to do as the kids get older.  I just want to say, that at this age, raising littles, I find it all very sweet and innocent and lovely.  A little bit goes a long way, and that's what Gus is getting at a Christian preschool.  We have Gus's school to thank for bringing it back into our house in small ways over the past year. I think talking about how Jesus loves you no matter what and that we should show kindness and understanding for others the way God does for us is pretty much exactly the amount of religion we need in our family right now.

It's been good for us.

Led by the boys, we now hold hands and sing a prayer every night at dinner, a prayer Gus learned at preschool and taught all of us one evening.  Louie LOVES it.  He closes his eyes at the direction of his big brother and sways back and forth like Stevie Wonder.  It is hilarious and brings so much joy to Dan and I.  I've always loved the ritual part of religion, so it makes sense that praying at dinnertime is one part of all of this that works for us right now.

Gus has so many questions for us, for which I am never quite sure how to answer, though he almost always is quick to accept whatever I say as fact. (Which is my primary issue with religion at this age, it can feel like brainwashing when the children are so young and naive and innocent, oh their spongy little brains.  That part gives me the ick.)

The questions and conversations we have are just so funny though.  And they seemingly come out of nowhere.

Gus: "Jesus is my best friend, mom."

Me: "Really buddy?  Since when?  Well, that's very sweet."

Gus: "Yeah, but mom?  Who is Jesus?"

The other day at the park, he even talked to Suzi about it, same thing:

Gus: "Jesus is my best friend."

Louie: "Yeah, he's our best friend, but he always takes away all our toys."

(HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHA!)

At dinner the other night:

Gus: "Let's play Jesus.  I'll be God.  You can be Mary, Mom.  Dad, you're Joseph.  And Louie is baby Jesus."

Me: "What if I want to be God?"

Gus: "God is a BOY, mom."

Dan: "Not necessarily.  Some people would beg to differ.  Maybe he's neither?  A little of both?"

Gus: "God is a boy."

I'm guessing these conversations are only going to get more complicated, but it is a much preferred dinner conversation over discussions of butts and diarrhea (another current favorite), so I'm going to have to try to step up my game.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

10 Years

Dan,

Well here we are.

10 years ago, my goodness we were just babies weren't we?  I was so moony-eyed over you, I loved being around you.  No one gave better hugs, no one smelled better, no one ever said such sweet things to me.  Oh and you were such a good guy.  A great guy.  Anyone who knew you would say that.  You were kind and sweet, and quiet and reserved at first, but outrageously sarcastic and funny once out of your shell.  And you loved me, of all people.  You used to tease me so much, and I think you know that I both hated it and loved it.  I saw it in your eyes, how much you loved teasing me... because they twinkled.  Yeah, I'm serious.  Twinkled.  That twinkle, the quiet amusement and adoration it reveals, I know it well, and I still cherish it today.



I didn't know yet 10 years ago who you would become.  I probably could have guessed, but I didn't know, because I was 22 and naive and I didn't quite understand what it really meant.  You were a good guy then.  Today, you're a good man.  You are so many things.  You're loyal, sensitive, authentic, devoted, hard-working, gentle, knowing, vulnerable, intelligent, understanding, brave, faithful, and strong.  Not to mention, you're a patient and playful and dedicated father to these two boys we created together.

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There is no one on this planet that knows me better than you do.  That's another thing I don't think I stopped to think about as a young pup, embarking on this whole marriage thing.  I was much too worried about the fact that I wanted pink tulips, not the purple ones our florist mistakenly ordered, for the table arrangements at the reception.  At 22 you think you know everything.  But I'm not sure I really realized how vulnerable we were being, by letting each other in so deep, by deciding to become us, by choosing us over me and you.  Because now, who even am I without you? 

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Home is you.  You're my home.  My one constant in this ever-evolving life we've chosen together.  My partner, my confidant, my voice of reason.

My best friend.

Happy Anniversary babe.

Alicia 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

We went to Mexico

I can't find the words to describe how good this trip was for us.

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Life is busy, and those joyful boys (.k.a. chirpy little balls of never-ending energy) we are raising can be pretty all-consuming. Sometimes you need a reminder of how the other people live. Sometimes you need a reminder that life isn't all dishes and wiping counters and "What do we make for dinner tonight?" and daycare drop-off and long commutes and never enough hours in the day and middle of the night wakings and teaching right and wrong and being asked "why?" over and over and over... Sometimes you need a reminder of how much you actually ENJOY this person you are making a life with.

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And the sun.  The glorious, warm, life-giving sun.  Minnesota has been missing you.

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These 4 days in paradise were good for my tired soul.  And for my over-stimulated brain.  It was able to dial back a little, as the big decisions in Mexico involve making the choice between another margarita or switching to gin and tonics. Or deciding whether to go for a walk on the beach or read a few more chapters.

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Oh, and I never needed to warm up my coffee in the microwave.

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We woke up each morning way too early, but neither of us seemed to be able to sleep later than 7:00, these children have RUINED us!  And then we would go down to the beach and just do this.

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And a little of this.

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Then we'd hit the pool to cool off a bit.

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Or take a stroll down the beach.

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It was so QUIET!

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The view from our balcony.

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Room service breakfast every morning.

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Romantic dinners each night.

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Sorry about the selfies.  We are awkward introverts and just can't stand asking strangers to take our picture.

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We ventured outside of the resort just once, on our last night, took a bus to a super touristy spot to go haggle with the locals on souvenirs for the boys.  It stressed both of us out and we couldn't wait to get back to our all inclusive safe haven. We are terrible travelers without our guide Lisa!  ;)

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And then we came home.  As we were descending over Minneapolis I was immediately back to mom mode, remembering to take a picture from the plane to show Gus, knowing how thrilled it would make him.

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We are so thankful to our incredible parents for taking such great care of the boys, I was worried about leaving them so long, even if 4 nights and 5 days isn't really that long at all.  I shouldn't say worried, I knew they'd be in good hands.  But nervous and neurotic? Yes.  They were both so happy to have us home, and Dan and I both took the next day off of work to spend a day with them at home... get back into our groove.  That day was a blessing, however I came to the realization that our time in paradise didn't do quite what I hoped it would do, which was provide us with a nice little break that would allow me to come back to real life with all this bottled up patience and a zen-like approach to parenting.

Instead, I am even more aware how dang LOUD these kids are!  Like seriously.  We've been back almost a week and I think I'm finally getting used to it again.  Crap.

They're loud.

But gosh I love them, and missed them, and am so grateful for them.  And I sure do love my husband.