Friday, March 30, 2012

Things That Make Me Happy

This video.

Chickens. I would really like some chickens.

Via Seattle Farm Supply

Bright colors. And skirts. 

via JCrew 


Thursday, March 29, 2012

That Guy

The sleep training went way better on night two. The first time we put Maggie to bed just involved a few minutes of fussing. The second time, Cork picked her up, asked her if she wanted to lay down, and she pointed at the bed and put herself back to sleep. The third time (yeah, I said it went better, not awesome), she woke up and sort of wandered around her crib saying, "Mama?" and then plopped back down and fell asleep. I attribute 100% of the progress we have made to my husband.

I'm usually the person who over-researches and over-thinks stuff. And researching and thinking is important. It is how you avoid stuff like this (that and a basic sense of grossness. I mean seriously, Alicia? Was that just a publicity stunt?). But over-researching stuff also means that something like sleep training leaves me stressed out the whole time wondering, "uh, is this how it is supposed to go? I haven't read Ferber or Weissbluth in a while (and I never even finished No Cry Sleep Solution. That book just sounded worse than what I was already experiencing). What if we are doing it wrong and it doesn't work!? and what if we cause some sort of brain damage?! (just kidding, I think that argument is so dumb, I won't even link to it. Maggie has cried more on trips to the doctor than in this whole attempt combined, I think she'll be OK.)

Cork is usually the one who listens to what I have to say on the matter, thinks about it, does his thing, and amazes me with how natural he is at this parenting stuff. I think trusting your instinct has a really important place in parenting. Unless your instincts are stupid, which let's be real, some people's are. But luckily for us, Cork has really amazing instincts. He's an awesome dad. And he's also really cute. I sort of lucked out with that guy.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To Sleep

About a week and a half ago, I stopped drinking soda. I think soda is equal parts disgusting and awesome. I mean, it is just sugar and chemicals. Many of which are probably carcinogenic in large quantities. It is like drinking a filthy cigarette. A tasty, ice-cold, bubbly cigarette. But Maggie was not sleeping well, so I wasn't either. And I'm not really a coffee drinker, so Dr. Pepper was my caffeine of choice. And I was not just drinking it, I was craving it. I was probably getting most of my daily calories from it (gross, I know. Don't judge). And it was starting to feel disgusting. It was making it hard to fall asleep and making my stomach hurt (and the chocolate peanut butter I had with the soda might have had something to do with that stomach ache). I have been meaning to quit soda for a while now. Like since I picked the habit back up after Hannah was born. So I finally hit my soda-drinking "rock bottom" one night and I've been not drinking* soda ever since (*except when someone near me is drinking it and I steal a sip). I figure at some point, I'll lose interest in it. Right?? Ideally, I'd like to be repulsed by soda. I'm still waiting for that.

Along those lines, I decided it was time to start taking some other measures to get everyone sleeping better. So I decided it was time to sleep train Maggie. She is almost 14 months old, so my pediatrician would say it is about 10 or 11 months overdue. But cry it out (CIO) hurts my feelings. Sometimes I think I'd rather never sleep again than hear my baby crying out for me. But she also needs to sleep through the night. And so do I. And I'm pretty sure her marathon ear infection schedule has thoroughly destroyed the possibility of that happening on its own ever again. But here is what CIO looks like for us: she wasn't screaming in her crib in an empty room. No, Cork was holding her and she was screaming "Mama!" until she fell asleep in his arms. (Then, in subsequent wakings she fell asleep in the crib with Cork right next to her.) This kid. She is difficult. I love her. But I did not win the easy-baby lottery with her. Cork denies that there is such a thing. I disagree. Other people seem to be having these magical, happy, sleeping babies. And it's not fair.

The only cute thing that came out of it all, I asked Hannah if she wanted to take a walk with me while Maggie was screaming with Daddy. We got outside and I told her, "that crying, it hurts my feelings."
And she said, "I'll take it away, Mommy."
"Take what away??"
"Your hurt feelings"And she patted me gently and gave me a big hug.
That kid.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Club Invite: The War on Moms

My little lady bug, holding hands with her Daddy.
Some mornings it is harder than others to leave this adorable little girl and her chubby little sister and go to work full time. I do it for a variety of reasons, but am the first to admit it is not my ideal scenario. While I love using my degrees, getting dressed up each morning, having lots of adult conversations, and doing work that is important to me, I'd also really love more flexibility. I'd love to be able to take the girls to the "mommy and me" classes that are only offered during regular business hours. I'd love to be able to stay home with my girls every single time they didn't feel well, not just the times they were sick enough to meet exclusion criteria for daycare. I'd love to have stayed home with them for six months after they were born and do nothing but be their mom. I recently ran across this article, interviewing the author of this book and though, yes! Yes, yes, yes.
"The U.S. is the only industrialized country and one of only five nations—rich or poor—not to grant new mothers paid time off. Then I was explaining to them the results of the Pew survey that said that 60 percent of mothers who work full time [in the U.S.] said they would prefer to be working part-time. But because our health insurance is often tied to full-time employment, and because there aren’t many decent part-time jobs, and because the jobs that women strive to get are usually inflexible, women end up working way more than they want to—or sometimes way less than they want to, because if they decide they can’t keep up with children and full-time work, they quit."

and THIS. ohmygosh, THIS:
"And the [reason women aren't fighting harder for these things] is that their energy has been misdirected: You have the ridiculous “mommy wars” thing, the idea that every mother’s enemy is some other camp of mothers. It’s a complete distraction from the fact that all of us are actually facing same problem—which is basically a shortage of options that don’t suck."
The War on Moms
Seriously, read the whole article. Then buy the book. It's about to get all book club-y around here.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Shoes and Hair and Tubes, oh my

After having a non-stop ear infection (pretty much) since late January, Maggie is finally feeling better. So we celebrated with a pair of super cute Salt Water sandals. And it only felt fair to buy Hannah some cute new shoes too, because we are a family and we all suffer when Maggie suffers. So I got her some sparkly pink Toms. (As Hannah likes to say, "my pink farkly shoes. I'm so jealous." Because apparently I tell her quite frequently how jealous I am of her sparkly stuff.) So I'm thinking, it was either the new shoes or the surgery (I can't say for sure which one), but this weekend was a lot better.

Seriously though, Maggie's language pretty much stopped progressing when the ear infections set in. She was still saying the same words she had back at 11 months (Mama, Dada, dog, bye, hi, baba, ball, more, etc.) Two months might not a huge deal, but that was when Hannah's language exploded. And yes, every baby is different. And yes, second babies tend to talk later (is that even scientific, or just what everyone keeps telling me?). But I was a little worried. And so it made sense when the audiologist said she totally failed her hearing test. And as soon as the tubes went in and the fluid came out, she started talking again. Like putting-two-words-together talking ("go out," "more food," and "my ball"). And she is so much happier. She runs (and falls) and plays (and falls) and giggles (so far, no falling from giggling. Unless you count falling from being pushed by her sister while giggling. Because we need more falling? Seriously, girls.) She doesn't need to be by my side and/or in my arms all the time. I did have reservations about the surgery. Although, they weren't the kind of reservations that slowed me down much; I basically got her into the OR as soon I could. And seeing how much better she is doing, I'm glad we went ahead with the tubes. Still. I would just really like to stay away from any future surgeries for the rest of her childhood. Mmmmmkay. Yeah. That'd be great.

So we got some family pictures taken this weekend. Those things always sneak up on me. I always have big ideas for coordinating outfits in my head, but then never make it to the store or order anything in time and it always feels rushed. One thing I did do right, I'm getting better at doing Hannah's hair. I'm not a hair genius to begin with. And she has curls and cowlicks and very little patience for a comb or hair brush. Although she does love her a good "pointy tail." So here is my big, life-changing secret that all other moms have probably been doing all along and will think, oh thanks, maybe next you can tell me about how you wipe from front to back. Back off, OK? I'm trying my hardest. Anyway, you just have to do her hair when it is wet. That way, you don't mess up the curls and you don't have to fight the cowlicks and you can sort of manage the fly aways. Bam. You're welcome. Just kidding. But any toddler/little girl hair styling geniuses, I do welcome your suggestions.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Maggie got tubes yesterday morning. I really didn't want to resort to surgery because of this and this. But ohmylord, these ear infections were hurting my feelings. And also, Maggie's ears. She has been on antibiotics for the past two months. I'm pretty much besties with the CVS pharmacist.  And when we got the surgery, her ears were already infected again. I have decided I made the right decision, because that is what you do when you make decisions you can't take back.

She couldn't eat anything after midnight because of the anesthesia. Which meant we were up from 1-3 AM while she looked at me like: why don't you just nurse me back to sleep, woman? She wasn't hungry. She was just annoyed and staring at me, sleepily. Then playing on the floor, not sleepily. Then she fell asleep for a whole two hours before we had to go to the hospital. I fell asleep for even fewer hours and every minute of which was spent dreaming about sleeping through her surgery and all things stressful.

I thought handing her off to the nurse would be sad. But she was so over pre-op, she was excited for the change in scenery. She didn't even look back for me. And I was too tired to be dramatic. So I didn't cry either. It was terribly exhausting and anti-climactic.

The whole thing lasted about fifteen minutes. We checked in for surgery at 6 AM and were home by 8 AM. Maggie seemed pretty happy once the anesthesia wore off. Or that is what I told myself. I was like, look at her so happy that the fluid has been drained and there are holes in her ear drums! I made a good decision. Right??

The moral of the story is, there had better be a lot less crying around my house in the coming weeks. And a lot more sleeping.

PS, some punk bit Maggie at daycare again. She still isn't biting back, is the crazy thing. This poor kid, she is bleeding out her ears and covered in scratches, bruises and bites.

PPS, I think she might be left handed. My mom and husband will be pleased.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Without Dad

Cork was out of town this weekend, so it was just me and the girls (and the army of family that I have close by who are awesome. Because let's be real. I am not ready for two at once with no back ups. I am OK admitting that. I'm totally in awe of moms who can, though.) I took the girls away to Lost Pines for a night. I love that place, big time. The girls were able to play in the kid pools and water fountains, make s'mores, run around, and play in the hotel curtains (weird, right? they were obsessed with hiding and running in the layers of curtains). Lost Pines is seriously the most enjoyable, kid-friendly place I have ever been.
I could do things like, get a glass of wine and a plate of cheerios (and fruit, not pictured). And not feel like the jerk who brought their baby to a bar.

They had s'mores in the evenings. And in honor of St. Patrick's day, they also had green Peeps s'mores. I have to say, Peeps are nasty. Not even chocolate and graham crackers can make them OK. They were pretty though. Pretty and gross. Maggie and I stuck to the plain marshmallows. There is also marshmallow all over my face, you just can't see it in this picture. Not really. But I managed to get Maggie's "good" side that doesn't look like she just got in a baby cage fight. Because not pictured is her scrapes on her face from falling off a slide, and bites on her arm because some punks in her daycare class keep biting her. What is up with that? We bite food, not friends! Ask Hannah.

Speaking of baby cage fights, did I mention that Hannah has a black eye? She got it climbing on a kid-sized chair. I pretty much walk around with them and get non-stop Child Protective Services jokes (which are the best kind, am I right? sigh.) It would maybe be less annoying if I didn't feel so awful everytime they get a bump or bruise. But what are you going to do? No, seriously. What am I supposed to do? Am I doing something wrong? When does this bump-and-bruise phase end???


Friday, March 16, 2012

Break My Heart

From happier times. When Hannah was sleeping and her whole self didn't hurt, and neither did Mom or Dad's.

Hannah has been having a rough week. She tells me her head hurts or her "whole self hurts" and won't sleep well, and then is tired all morning. We kept her home Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday even though there was no fever (but she is like me and isn't a big fever-getter) or obvious sign of infection (took her to the NP to check). Just a runny nose and sadness. We finally sent her back on Thursday and it was hard. She was not happy at drop off. And that never happens unless she isn't feeling well. And again today, the tears and crying. But the thing about tears at drop off: if you can fix it, then stay and fix it; if you can't, run like hell. And I knew I couldn't fix this. So I gave her a hug, a kiss, and ran. And every time she cries, it makes me want to sit on the floor and cry right along with her.

Like all days with tears, I called later in the morning to check on her. Like all days with tears, her teacher assured me she was fine (after a little cry and some rest in the reading center). But she said that after I left Hannah told her, "but I just wanted to blow her a kiss!"

GAH. How can you even stand that? I mean, she does like to refuse to give kisses/wave goodbye and then freak out that she didn't. Probably just to prolong goodbyes. But STILL. Her teacher told her that she could still blow me a kiss. The wind would help blow it to me and would make sure that I got it.

It did, Hannah. I got your kiss. And it broke my heart into a million little pieces.


Not So Good, Not So Bad

When I first found out I was pregnant, my biggest fear was both of them being sick at once. And that is hard. For sure. But I hadn't considered the scenario wherein they are sick at the same time, and then back-to-back one right after the other, and then at the same time, and on and on and on. For months.
It is a dark place. Where you wonder if you can even remember what a good night sleep and a quiet moment to yourself feels like, or if you will ever know what it feels like again. Where you miss your husband, even though he hasn't gone anywhere. You just barely get any decent, screaming/crying-free moments with him. And then, when he is going to go somewhere, instead of being stressed out about having both girls by yourself, you are just happy for him that he will get some relief.
But at the same time, you know how stupidly dramatic you are being. Having a child who wakes up at 3:30 and won't go back to bed is inconvenient. It is not a tragedy. When it keeps happening night after night, it is really inconvenient. But still not even close to the worst thing that can happen to a person.
And how can you be upset when there are chubby, I-want-more-cupcake faces looking at you like that?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Music and Mixed Feelings

Hannah loves all things musical: singing, dancing, and playing instruments. Typical toddler stuff. Their daycare brings in musicians to sing and play songs.Hannah loves it. She is always teaching us cute songs. Or her misunderstood version of cute songs that we have to Google to figure out (speaking of, I think they taught the kids to sing "Ring around the rosies, pocket full of posies, ouchies, ouchies, we all fall down!" Instead of "ashes, ashes." This makes me laugh every time).

Anyway, I imagine that song and music time involves kids running around, dancing and singing. Because from an early age, the phrase "shake your booty" has been a part of her vocabulary. And I am fairly certain she did not learn this phrase from Cork or me. We always thought it was sort of silly and amusing. Until last night when she combined it with what looked like a two-and-a-half year old's version of an actual booty dance. We both looked at each other like, that is not OK. No. Definitely not appropriate. I sat her down and said, Hannah how did you learn about shaking your booty? To which she responded, "We don't shake our booty now. Not until Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday....Wednesday...Friday, Saturday...and.....and..." I offered, "Thursday?" "Yes. Thursday."

We looked at each other and said, on the one hand, she seems to have learned about booty dancing from her teachers. On the other hand, she also learned the days of the week from them. I guess it all evens out in the end.


Monday, March 12, 2012

A Little Better

I felt like we got a beautiful and long-forgotten glimpse of healthy Maggie this weekend. For the first time in a while. And oh, how I missed her. I love sick Maggie too, I promise, but she absolutely breaks my heart. Also, she doesn't let me sleep very well. There was so much giggling and smiling. I was starting to forget what that was like, and beginning to wonder if I ever really knew what that was like in the first place.

My absolute favorite thing that happened this weekend: Hannah was singing, "If you're happy and you know it." Maggie was in the next room and all of the sudden heard the words and started doing the motions (clapping her hands, point at her "your face will surely show it" smile, throwing her arms up in the air and even saying, "HURRAY!").

My least favorite thing, Hannah gave herself a black eye climbing on a chair. Also, she has a cold and feels pretty crumby. One day, everyone will be healthy and happy and bruise free. Right? That is possible?


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Maggie's Party

We celebrated Maggie's birthday a little late because we were waiting for the plague to pass. I'm not totally certain that it has passed. But close enough, right? And what is a plague without a good party?


Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Long Month

Maggie is gong to see an ENT about tubes (or whatever else an ENT can do that involves not giving babies tubes). She cries a lot these days. It is bad times. But I think Hannah did that too around this age too (molars? One year old angst?). And Hannah wasn't even chronically ill. Luckily, this time around I'm not pregnant. So that does make it easier. In related news, Maggie isn't actually for sale for $199.98. But if she were, I would totally use the money to buy these shoes. That is all.
J. Crew Viv Bow Flats


Monday, March 5, 2012

It's All My Fault

It is crazy the way kids can act as a mirror for their parents. Mine, not so much in the literal, I look at them and see myself, kind of way. {Instead, I usually look at them and just imagine what played out when my 23 chromosomes met thier dad's. I like to imagine how they introduced themsleves, exchanged pleasantries, and then suddenly and without provocation Cork's genes proceeded to beat mine within an inch of their life. Then I imagine some of my genes reaching up saying, "we just wanted to share." And one of Cork's gene's kicking that gene of mine in the stomach.} But the things they say and do, for better or worse, they have my name written all over them.

For example, sometimes (sort of out of nowhere), Hannah will say, "It's all my fault!" From what I can tell, she has very little idea what this means. I suspect that she likes that the word "my" is in there, and assumes it must means she owns something, which is always a good thing in a toddler's eyes. On closer observation, I realized that she usually makes this proclamation during some time of intense stress (i.e, transitions. Time to go somewhere/do something new. Bed, bath, school, whatever). Which must be exactly when she sees me say it. Also, she says it really dramatically, usually throwing herself onto some furniture or blankets. And I have to wonder if that is how she is interpreting my behavior? Because if so, holy cow. I need to tone it down. Hopefully that is just dramatic toddler re-enactment.

Before I heard Hannah utter the phrase, I didn't even realized I said it. Or said it that much? I usually throw out the, "Ah, I'm sorry. It's all my fault" in a moment of high stress, where I feel like I could have done a million things differently to have prevented the chaos. Because I have magical powers that could prevent ear infections? Or powers that grant sudden, remarkable mastery of receptive and expressive language? Or miracle of miracles, I somehow can control the toddler volume in our house?

Maybe Hannah isn't the only one who likes to think she owns something? Maybe it somehow makes me feel less stressed out to think that the occassional out-of-control feelings that little kids can inspire are something that I actually can control, I'm just not there yet? While there might be some calculated risks I maybe shouldn't always take (naked time after baths), or some ways I could be more organized (clothes and bags always ready the night before), I think the larger issue is that I need to just be more accepting of the inherent potential for chaos when little ones are involved. It isn't my fault, it isn't the kids' fault, it just is what it is.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Epic Nights and Teeny Jeans

You can tell it is a bad day when laundry cheers you up. But there is just something about doing a load of jeans, and pulling out an itty, bitty, teeny, tiny pair of baby jeans from the dryer. It always makes me smile.

I have no idea how this one is so happy. Last night was epic. Epic, I tell you. Definitely a top five worst night in the history of parenting (all two and a half years of it). Which is impressive considering no vomit was involved. It was just like screaming and walking and rocking and nursing and sleeping only to wake up and look at the clock and think, "OHMYGAAAWD, you just slept for thirty minutes? That is it? I can't do this anymore!!" {did I mention both her ears are infected? Again. For the fourth time in a row. Not cool.}

If she can be happy after last night, then I guess I can too.