Monday, August 31, 2009

The Dumps

I'm gonna preface this by stating that I just returned home from a dentist appointment during which the dentist was finishing up a root canal that has taken four--FOUR--separate appointments, so I'm in a fair amount of pain and I am feeling a bit salty at the moment.

Grace starts school tomorrow. Have you seen these commercials on TV (I think they're for Staples) where the dad takes his kids back to school shopping and he's skippping around the store, gleefully tossing pads of post-it notes and other supplies into his cart while the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays in the background? Well, I am the opposite of that dad. In fact, tonight as I was putting Grace to bed, I whispered to her, "Thank you for spending such a wonderful summer with me," and then I broke down in sobs. SOBS. I have tears in my eyes now just thinking about it...although the feeling that a dull nail is piercing me in the jaw might have something to do with the tears.

Here's the thing. It probably wasn't a particularly memorable summer for Grace. Don't get me wrong--we did lots of fun stuff. We went to the park almost everyday. We went to a whole bunch of festivals. We went to the Children's Museum a few times. We walked to the library at least once a week. We went to the zoo at least once a week, and we even camped at the zoo a few weeks ago. We visited family. Grace had many fun playdates. But, will she remember all the fun we had in another year or two? Maybe, maybe not. But this summer will always, always be a special one for me.

Chances are, this was the one and only summer that I will be able to spend at home with my children. I have been actively looking for a job for a few weeks now--let's face it, not many families I know can live comfortably on one income--so the writing's on the wall. I'm headed back to work, and as much as I want to drag my feet and hem and haw about it, it's gonna happen sooner or later. Another summer like this one is probably not in the cards for us. And that is just heartbreaking for me.

Here come the tears again...I should be thankful, and I really, really am, that I had this opportunity. But it's hard.

I'm trying really, really hard to at least match Grace's excitement for the first day of school. And tomorrow when I drop her off, I will be all smiles and excitement...for her. And, maybe a little for me, too. But, when I turn around to walk home, I know that things just won't be quite the same without her home with me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Harrison--Half Way to One

If you don't think he's the cutest baby boy ever, well, I just don't know about you. (Unless of course you have a baby boy of your own. In that case, you're exempt.)

The earth has made half of its yearly trip around the sun since the day my little man was born, and all that I can say is, "Wow." I say that for two reasons: 1) Where did that time go? and 2) Holy crap the boy has grown. Here are the latest stats:

Weight: 18 pounds, 11 ounces--72nd percentile
Height: 27 inches--85th percentile
Head Circumference: 47 centimeters--OFF THE CHARTS

So the boy has a big head. I could have told you that six months ago.

Harrison is adding a whole bunch of new skills to his repertoire as well. He's sitting up on his own for longer periods of time. He's *this close* to crawling. He rolls over from tummy to back and he's able to get almost all the way over from back to tummy. He's much more vocal than he's ever been, responding with laughter and smiles and coos and little spitty noises whenever someone chats with him. He LOVES to play with anyone who wants to, especially his big sister, for whom he saves his sweetest and biggest smiles. And although he hasn't cut any teeth yet, he's got at least two in the front that are visible from under the gums and are threatening to poke through any day now.

Harrison has been eating solids for a little over a month now, and we just increased his solid food feedings to three a day. So far, he has had rice cereal, all of the yellow and orange veggies, and peas--squash is his favorite so far, and peas are decidedly NOT on his top three list. We're looking forward to incorporating some fruits and maybe some other fun stuff within the next few weeks.

As far as sleep goes...well, it's okay for now. He went through a particularly difficult period recently where he was waking up several times a night to fuss. The past few nights have been all right, so here's to hoping he's getting back on his schedule of sleeping from 10pm to 5am or so. And I prolly just jinxed myself by typing that.

Happy half birthday little dude!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

I AM Blessed

So, we've been having a bit of a rough go of it lately. Our little boy has reverted back to at least three to four night wakings per night, and Grace has been having some serious sleep issues of her own. The lack of sleep that has been mounting for the past six months or so has caught up with me (and, I think, with Aaron too) and as a result, I have been feeling pretty down in the dumps lately. In fact, yesterday I felt so exhausted that I was physically sick. I once heard someone say that parenting a young baby is similar to going through boot camp...this weekend, I definitely felt like that was the absolute truth.

Tonight, as I was driving alone around our neighborhood, I had a chance to take a deep breath for the first time in quite a while, and I took a moment to gain some perspective on things. Yes, right now things are tough for us. The kids keep us up all night, but the time will come when they won't want to be around us so much anymore, and I'm sure we'll long for those middle-of-the-night snuggles. Is feeding or rocking Harrison by the light of the moon in the dead of night really such a bad thing? Is it terrible that Grace wants to spend a few extra minutes alone with me at bed time? On both counts, the answer is a resounding, "No."

These kids have brought so much love and happiness into our lives. I can suck it up for a while longer, drink truckloads of caffeine, and deal with this.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Proof Our Messages Are Sinking In

This morning, as Grace and I stood at the window and watched the pouring rain...

Me: Wow, look at all that rain! Look, our rain barrel is overflowing!

Grace: It's overflowing? All that water is coming out!!!!

Me: Yep, but that's ok.

Grace: *gasp* But all that water is being WASTED! IT'S BEING WASTED!!!!!!! MAMA!!! THE CLOUDS ARE WASTING THE WATER!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lollapalooza: My Two Cents

Aaron and I attended two of the three days of Lollapalooza in Chicago this weekend, and apart from the crazy weather (downpours on Friday, heat and humidity on Saturday), it was a great weekend. Oddly enough though (or maybe not), the best parts of the weekend came from spending some time with friends who we don't get to see as often as we'd like to and enjoying some much-needed couple time. The music was secondary to me this me, the most important part of our trip was hanging out with Aaron.

That said, a couple of observations on Lollapalooza...

The music lineup was very good this year, and as usual, the music portion of the festival was run like a well-oiled machine. Bands (for the most part) started on time, ended on time, and (unlike the last Lollapalooza I attended in '06) the sound at the shows was fantastic. I was pleased to experience a number of very good shows by some very talented acts--highlights were The Decemberists (naturally), Blind Pilot, Ben Folds, Gomez, and Tool.


Lollapalooza hosts over 200,000 music fans, so the organizers should consider adding a few more bathroom pods. One shouldn't have to wait 30 minutes to use a filthy port-a-john. Also, since the festival is in August, a few more water stations would be a good idea. Again, festival goers shouldn't have to wait 30 minutes to fill their water bottles. I realize that the festival caters to the 18-24 year-old crowd (who probably don't mind so much or haven't been to a festival--like Bonnaroo--that has adequate and CLEAN facilities so they don't know that things can be SO much better), but still. Those of us who know better or care did notice.

Also, my beloved Decemberists: I love your new album, "The Hazards of Love" and I'm pretty sure your most devoted fans do, too. However, deciding to play the whole thing through from start to finish without any commentary was probably not the right decision, given the fact you were playing to a festival crowd, and the majority of those in the crowd had not come to see you, but rather they were holding spots near the stage to see Kings of Leon, who were playing after you. Because of this, I had to endure much eye rolling and fake yawning coming from the teenyboppers and others who don't appreciate your music as I do, and this was quite distressing indeed. Just sayin'.

All in all, Lollapalooza was a good time. But, as Aaron said, I prefer my music festivals in a field in Tennessee. Give me Bonnaroo anyday.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Today has been one of those days when I marvel at the fact that my kids are clean, dressed, and have been fed three square meals. And I am really marveling at the fact that all of these things seem to take place everyday...that's something, right?

It's not a particularly bad day by any means. The kids have been well-behaved. We had a nice lunch with Aaron at the zoo, and we just returned from a nice walk to the library, where we picked up some new books for Grace and I to read together at bedtime. We're about to head out the door to grab a quick supper and then we're on to Grace's swimming lessons. By all accounts, today has been a success--no major meltdowns, no vomit, no injuries. I'm wearing the same clothes I put on this morning, so no major spit up incidents. And, Harrison managed to pee on me only once today, and that was only on my leg, so it was easily cleaned up.

So why do I feel SOOOOOOOOO drained? I feel like I've been hit by the proverbial Mack truck, except that truck backed over me a couple of times just to make sure I was down.

I can now say, unequivocally and without reserve, that being a stay-at-home mom is a far more difficult job than any other "cubicle dweller"-type job that I've had or could imagine having. It's physically challenging. It's mentally challenging. It's emotionally challenging. And there is no lunch break. There are no 15-minute solitary walks around the building to clear the mind. Hell, in my house, I rarely get to go poop alone...Grace loves to join me in the bathroom. I guess I am just tired, and I am really in need of some time to myself.

Don't get me wrong--I love my children more than anything. Staying home with them is truly a labor of love for me. But man, even moms who love their kids more than anything and would gladly spend every waking minute with them need a break.

One more day, then Aaron and I head out of town--ALONE--for the weekend. And it couldn't have come at a better time.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Funny How Things Change

The Meaning of Bliss--

Pre-baby: A romantic night out on the town with the hubs, complete with lots of wine, good food, fabulous conversation, and maybe some great live music. Or, relaxing in the sun with a good book and a cold beer.

Post-baby: Scheduling a play date for Grace during Harrison's nap time and actually having a few moments to myself to check my emails and possibly go to the bathroom.