Friday, January 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes [1.27.12]

1.  I had a dentist appointment at 7 a.m. this morning.  It was still dark when I got in my car to leave.  The only time I'm ever up and at 'em that early is if I'm heading to the airport.  I canceled my dental insurance for the rest of Brian's company's fiscal year so I figured I should get in a check-up before the end of the month while insurance would still pay for it.  And wouldn't ya know, when you call a week in advance, 7 a.m. appointments are all that they have available.

2.  I hate going to the dentist.  I was seriously laying there as she scratched away at my teeth with that pointy sharpy thing thinking that I was pretty sure I'd rather be going through childbirth than sitting there in that dentist chair.  And that's coming from a gal who's got a set of pretty healthy teeth.  No root canals or bridges or crowns to speak of.  I hadn't been in three years.  I can see you wagging your finger at me.  Stop it.  I got enough from the hygienist.  She said I brush too hard and floss too little.  And she was kinda mean about it.  What is it about hygienists feeling like they have a right to get up on their soapbox all the time?  When I go to the doctor for a check-up they never guilt trip me about not exercising enough or not eating 3-5 servings of vegetables every single day.  What's up with that?

3.  Last weekend Brian and I cleaned, sorted and purged the basement.  After Katherine was born it became a dumping ground for all the clutter I didn't have time to deal with but didn't want to see.  Every time I came downstairs to do the laundry I had an anxiety attack at the mounds of boxes that had piled up.  I sorted through and organized all my baby clothes, Brian made a trip to Good Will, we broke down a lot of cardboard boxes for the recycling bin, and I listed a few items on eBay.  (Go have a look!)  Now whenever I come down to do the laundry, which is once every ten minutes, I feel peace and calm rushing through my body.

4.  Now that our basement looks so much bigger without all that clutter, I decided to make a small play space down there for the kids.  Currently our porch is the home to all the kids' toys but it was getting a little full after opening Christmas gifts.  So I relocated a few of their old toys to the basement and now they are suddenly super interested in all the things that were previously collecting dust.  Funny how just a new spot can do that.  It's nice to have another option for the kids to go as we sit here in the middle of January anxiously awaiting spring.

5.  Speaking of the weather, there hasn't been much mention of it around here.  Usually it seems to be my favorite topic here on the ol' blog.  Especially if I'm in a complaining kind of mood.  But this winter has been different.  Very little snow and very high temps.  So I'm not complaining.  We got a couple of inches in the last week but nothing that makes a very big story.  The kids love the snow and as long as it isn't paired with below zero temps, I'm OK with it.  I'm so hopeful for an early spring.  Here we are at the end of January so soon and it's like I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But a true Minnesotan knows to never jinx it until it's the end of March.

6.  On Wednesday Brian took the day off work to visit his dad who is recovering from surgery.  He took Lucy with him.  The whole day felt like a vacation.  And I didn't even make William take a rest.  I never realized just how much energy it takes to raise a two-and-a-half-year-old whose name is Lucy.  I think she probably uses up 90% of my mental and emotional energy and the other two get the leftovers.  During lunch William turned to me and asked why it was so quiet in the house.  Every day with my Lucy is full of fireworks.  Explosive and loud, but still ridiculously pretty.  Every day with Lucy is also another day closer to her turning three.  Thank goodness for that.

7.  Lucy getting older reminds me that William is old.  I took him to Kindergarten Round-Up on Tuesday night.  Yep, we're there already.  He was so excited to be there.  Afterward he kept telling everyone he knew that he was in Kindergarten Round-Up now.  He's excited to wear a uniform and walk with the big kids and cross the street with the school patrol and eat lunch there and he totally cannot believe that he'll get to skip rest time every day.  He's such a good kid and sometimes I forget that.  There's a kindergarten teacher out there who doesn't even know what's going to hit her next year.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Some [New] Thoughts on Breastfeeding

In the words of my dear friend, Andrea Logue: My boobs are like workhorses these days.

While nursing her daughter she told me she would ask herself: Why even bother wearing a shirt? I laughed so hard when she said that because it is totally true.

I am in the thick of breastfeeding with Katherine right now. She's at the age where she's still a few months out before starting solids, yet she's getting bigger so her tummy keeps asking for more, more, more!

When I had William I had to work really hard to nurse him. He was in the NICU for the first two weeks of his life so that meant the pump and I were best friends. I had a love/hate relationship with that thing. When William was finally strong enough to eat on his own, it seemed like it took months before he had a good latch and was really getting the hang of things. But I kept on because I just thought this was how it was supposed to be. He breastfed, more or less, for about 13 months.

When Lucy came along she latched on the second she was out of the womb. "OH!" I thought, "THIS is how it's supposed to be." Easy and natural. And most of the time it was like that. Until she started biting me. I didn't always enjoy breastfeeding her but I did it because that's what I expected out of myself.

In the last few years I have had more and more friends who have desperately wanted to breastfeed but, for whatever reasons, couldn't do it. And it was rarely for lack of trying. It's been after listening to these women, these good friends of mine, tell me their grief at not being able to breastfeed that I've come to realize how I've taken my own breastfeeding experiences for granted. I've truly been blessed to be able to naturally feed all three of my children with relative ease.

And now my darling Katherine is here and theoretically she should be the toughest to nurse. It's hard to hear the chaos that ensues with my other two kids when Katherine needs to eat and I'm glued to the chair. I can't make lunch right now. I can't take you to the potty right now. I can't help you build Legos right now.

But I'm realizing that I'm enjoying breastfeeding this third time around more than ever. It's so peaceful up there in that room of hers when it's just her and I. When one of the other kids pop in to say hello, even they sense the serenity and bring their voices down a notch or two. When my life is busier than ever I'm so glad I have this forced reason to slow down. A rationale to sit for ten to fifteen minutes at time. An excuse to hold her little body when it's so much easier to set her down and run about the house.

And this body of mine. I really don't thank it enough. Instead I look in the mirror and question what it has become. I see the silver little stretch lines on my hips. A tummy that's softer than it used to be. Breasts that seem to be mismatched. (But they are bigger. That is one positive out of this.)

No matter how much I might put down my body or yell at it for not fitting into these jeans or that shirt the way it used to, it still performs for me. When I forget to drink enough water. When I eat too many sweets. When I wait too long to eat lunch. When I don't exercise enough. When I don't sleep enough. It still never lets me down.

It's such a marvelous thing to not only grow an entire human being for nine months but to then be able provide it with sustenance for months after that baby is born!

So my new thoughts on breastfeeding are this:

1. I'll never judge another woman for not breastfeeding. None of us knows the individuals pains it takes in doing so.

2. I'm going to try my best to offer praise and encouragement to women who can and do breastfeed. It's tough, but it's often times thankless.

3. I'm going to try my best not to groan in the middle of the night when a hungry baby yelps. Or get panicky when she gets hungry in a less-than desirable location. Or get annoyed when she wants to eat AGAIN. This is a gift I've been given, not a burden.  I'm going to try to embrace it.
Just a fun picture of Katherine because I'm not the kind of girl who can take, much less, post a picture of myself breastfeeding. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby Giggles

Before I had kids I would have thought this to be a lame video to post.  But now I have three.  And I know just how hard you work for those first giggles.  To know that behind the eating, sleeping, pooping machine there's a real live person.  One with feelings and emotions.  And not one where all the feelings are of being hungry.  But a little life who enjoys some fun and play just like the rest of us.  And more importantly she enjoys it with her Daddy.

I'm only a teeny bit angry he got her to laugh before I did.

I feel like I haven't written enough about Katherine lately so let me sum it up in three little words: She is awesome.  I can totally see why it's easy to think about having a fourth when your third just sits and smiles all. day. long.  I am in love.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Little Old Ladies Tell the Truth

In lieu of Quick Takes, today I'd like to write a response to blog post I've seen linked all over the Internet.  Maybe you've seen it too?  It's called Don't Carpe Diem by Glennon Melton.  It is some seriously awesome writing and I think every mother in the country should read it.  It would make all of us feel of a whole helluva lot better.

The part I want to respond to is when she writes about the little old ladies who approach you at Target, you with your overflowing cart and unruly children, and tell you to enjoy it because this time will go by so fast.  Glennon goes on to write about how this isn't reality.  And she's right.  While I would love to sit and stare at my beautiful baby daughter all day long, to coo at her and smile back at her and to try my damnedest to make her laugh, the reality of it all is that the laundry needs to be folded and put away, dinner needs to be cooked, a two-year needs to be dashed to the potty and those fingerprints on the window are really starting to get on my nerves.  And while all that is going on, that daughter of mine has gone from a week old to nearly three months old.  Moments slipped between my fingers while I was dealing

What I want to say about those little old ladies at Target is that they're not telling us a pack of lies.  They're telling us the truth.  Or the truth as best they can remember it.  Because that's the thing about life experiences.  We all remember the past in rose-colored glasses.

I grew up with a mom who was much like myself.  She took care of the house too much and played with her kids too little.  Or at least that's what she tells me.  But what I remember about my childhood was a mom who always made the bed with sheets that were dried in the spring breeze.  A mom who had homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for us when we got home from school.  A mom who read aloud "Little Women" and "A Little Princess" every night before bed.

She says she didn't play with us enough but I remember the hot summer night when our whole family laughed and ran around outside while having a water fight and then discreetly stripped to our skivvies in the backyard before going in the house.  She says she never let us have sugar cereal but I remember how she fed our bellies with good food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  (And I also remember the once-a-year summer trips when we got to bring the mini cereal boxes that included Cinnamon Toast Crunch.)  She says she never took us to Disney World.  But I remember amazing ski vacations in the Rocky Mountains, jumping in the lakes at summer cabins up North and searching for seashells on Sanibel Island.  She says she never bought us name-brand clothing.  But I'll never forget the one Christmas when I opened up a pair of Gerbeaud jeans.

Did she yell at us?  Probably.  Did she lose her temper?  I'm sure of it.  Did she ever make a parenting mistake?  All the time.

But I couldn't tell you a single story of it ever happening.  At least to my recollection.

I look back on my college years as the fondest four years of my life.  It's where I met my husband.  And my friends for life.  It's where we stayed out late, slept in, went to interesting classes, ate junk food and drank too much.  The biggest responsibility I had was paying my cell phone bill each month.  Which I think was less than $30.  My employment consisted of watching some pretty cool kids and bringing them to the pool each day.  I still can't believe I got paid for that.  I listened to whatever I wanted on the radio and watched whatever I wanted on television.  I had no idea a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show even existed and I certainly didn't know how to sing its theme song.

But if I really rack my memory about college I also know there were a lot of tears.  Frustrations over a term paper.  A bad grade on a test.  Fights with the boyfriend.  Worries about roommates and where I would live next semester.  I ate food that made me gain weight.  I never had enough money to go out.  And if I did, I sure felt like crap the next day.  But ask me about my college experience and I'll never tell you these things.  I'm not trying to hide or sugarcoat anything.  In an overall summary of my memory, college really was the time of my life.

And I think that's what these little old ladies mean when they tell us to enjoy it now for soon it will all be done.  When I wake up in the morning I never ask myself what I will do that day.  I know what I have to do.  I have a purpose, however exhausting that purpose might be.

Those little old ladies wake up each morning with an entire day of nothingness in front of them.  Of course I'm generalizing here but what I'm trying to say is that they don't have little lives dependent on them.  They don't have anyone who needs them for survival anymore.  And that hurts a little.  It feels good to be needed.  And it feels good to be solely responsible for a little piece of the future.  To be in charge of these molds who look to us for their every little need.

A few weeks ago I was in the basement of our church attending donut Sunday after mass.  I was walking across the cafeteria with Katherine in one arm and guiding Lucy with my other when a small, shaking, fragile hand reached out to me.  It was an old woman who appeared to be in failing health.  She had no teeth and couldn't really speak,  her hair was falling out, one of her eyes didn't open all the way, and her whole body just looked like it was ready to throw in the towel.  But she reached out to me anyway and then pulled Lucy in close for a hug.  Then she looked at Katherine, really looked into her eyes, and she smiled a huge toothless grin.

That's what little children do for little old ladies.  They don't remind them of the time when they had piles of laundry or when they spanked when they shouldn't have or when they yelled too much or all the sleepless nights of nursing a newborn or when their toddler wet her pants three times in one day or how long it took to get every one's hats, mittens, coats and boots on or that one night when she couldn't get it together enough to get dinner on the table.

Instead, little old ladies smile because children remind them of their glory days.  When they woke up each morning and knew exactly what the day would ask of them.  When they had enough strength to birth a baby out of their body.  And breastfeed the baby while reading a story to the toddler.  When they knew the exact remedy for curing the cough in the middle of the night.  And how to get the spaghetti sauce stain out of the school uniform.

They remember sweet kisses before bedtime.  Handmade ornaments for the Christmas Tree.  Scratchy five-year-old handwriting that said, "I love you, Mommy."  Paper birthday crowns.  Dr. Seuss.  Painting tiny toenails.  Pigtails.  Dirt under his fingernails.  Plastic swimming pools.  Tutus and princess wands.  Taking off the training wheels.  Snowmen in the backyard.  Swinging until his feet touches the branches.  Big, fat, rosy cheeks.  Chubby baby fingers.  Somersaults and cartwheels.  The smell of popcorn during a Friday night movie at home.  The flutter of eyelids while they're sleeping.  The sound of two of them giggling together.  Wisps of hair and extra long eyelashes.  And yes, even sweet, tiny fingerprints on the windows.

Ask a woman at the end of her life what she remembers most and this is it my friends.

Yes, it's exhausting and frustrating and boring and chaotic and one hundred percent selfless.  Some days are even the worst you've ever experienced.

But when little old ladies tell you they enjoyed every moment of being a parent, they're not lying.  It's all they remember.  Even if it is behind rose-colored glasses.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Which I Failed As a Parent [But Don't Really Care]

There was a death in our family last week.

Lucy's pacifier, or nukie, as we call it, broke. She has this habit of chewing on her nukie every once in a while and the nipple part finally ripped off.

The thing was pretty disgusting as it was anyway. It really had been through the ringer. She had had this nukie since she was an itty bitty baby. Sure, I could have bought a new one. But being that she is two, going on three in April, I declared that this would be her last nukie. Once it was lost, or broke, that would be it. No more nukie.

I put my foot down. I wasn't giving in. I'm the parent. I say what's what. Sometimes kids need a little extra shove when it comes to growing up and this was all part of it.

Well that Lucy. She turned right around and showed me who's boss. And it's not me. Or Brian. That's for sure.

We bloggers have a funny way of portraying ourselves in our best light. We've got it all figured out. The best parenting strategies. Touched-up photos. Angels for kids. Even bad situations turn out good in the end. Am I right?

Well lately I've been trying to keep it real here on the ol' blog. Hence the post on the faith I live. Sometimes everything really is coming up roses. (Her name is Katherine.) But sometimes it's not. And this weekend is a prime example for me to tell you how I had a big fat fail. How I turned away from what I know I should have done and instead took the easy road.

The easy road includes things like the baby swing instead of her crib because she sleeps longer and television to keep the five-year-old quiet because I just can't answer one more curious question. Keepin' it real.

The easy road also includes going out and buying your two-year-old not one, but two new nukies even after you declare that there shall be no more nukies.

What happened as a result of the dead nukie was simple: she wouldn't sleep. For naps she wandered around her bedroom and tore it a part. At bedtime she cried for her nukie and most nights didn't fall asleep until close to ten o'clock. And in the morning she awoke much earlier than normal especially considering how late she fell asleep.

All that adds up to a whole lot of sleep loss. And when Lucy is sleep deprived you best get out of her way. If you look at her sideways she will not let it go unnoticed. There are five people living in this house and each day Lucy set the mood for all of us. And it wasn't a good one.

I waited it out through Saturday. I wanted Brian to experience a full 24 hours without a nukie. He was the biggest advocate of getting the nukie out of our lives. On nights when we thought the nukie was really lost for good, he was ready to throw in the towel much sooner than me.

"Can't this just be it? Can't we just say we're done with the nukie?" He would ask as I crawled around on my hands and knees looking in every nook and cranny for the damn thing.

He got his answer on Saturday.

"Yeah, this sucks," he said, "We need to get her a new one."

On Sunday morning Brian needed to run an errand at Walgreens.

"See if they have the same n-u-k-i-e-s," I shouted as he left. (Lucy, being the stubborn child that she is, is quite particular about her brand of nukies. I had already tried to offer her the many other options we had on hand for Katherine. "No, not THAT nukie!" she would yell at me.)

Operation New Nukie was a success. Walgreens had exactly what we needed. When Brian handed the package of two nukies over to Lucy she screamed in delight.


I've never seen a toddler cry tears of joy but I'm almost positive I saw it that day.

And since then? Not a peep at nap, not a peep at bed. And her mood? Pure bliss. Well, I wouldn't go that far. She's still Lucy, after all. But it's leap and bounds better than before.
How did I fail as a parent?  Oh let me count the ways.  But ask me if I care. I dare you.

And that, I believe, is the best way to illustrate that fancy term I learned in psychology known as cognitive dissonance.  You're welcome.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Sleepy One

Of all the challenges kids can throw at their parents, sleep has never been one of his.
Calvin and Hobbes lost out to sleep.
Since the minute he was born, he has always been able to sleep anywhere, at any time, under any condition for long periods of time without waking from any distruption.
In this season, with a toddler who has difficulty falling and staying asleep and a newborn who wakes out of necessity to eat, I've never been more thankful for this trait of his.

P.S. I would have loved to have watched the progression that led to these scenes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Faith I Live

When I first started blogging I thought I was going to be a Catholic blogger.  There were many Catholic mom blogs and writers I read and admired.  But it wasn't too long after I started blogging that I realized a solely Catholic blog wasn't up my alley.  There are some things I'm comfortable putting out there for all to read.  Things I'm willing to take a stand on in a public forum.  And then there are things I hold close to my heart and choose not to write about because I'm just not ready (or willing? or called?) to be a warrior for those issues.

But make no mistake.  I am Catholic and my faith plays a large role in my life even if I don't wrap up all my writings with a nice a little Catholic angle.  There's inspiring women who can do that.  But that's not me.

Sometimes I feel like less of a Catholic when I write about petty things like watching The Bachelor or buying a new pair of skinny jeans or wondering what kind of eye cream to use.  I feel like I might be shunned for not constantly wearing my faith on my sleeve.

But I am a mom.  A wife.  A 30-something American.  I was not called to be a cloistered nun. (Even though some days that life sounds like the most wonderful, peaceful, QUIET place to be!)  I am a person of and in this modern world however unholy it might sometimes be.

We go to mass every Sunday without fail.  For some I know that makes it sound like we're devout Catholics.  But if you could only see us in that pew.  With our potty breaks and breastfeeding and shushing and arm-squeezing and Richard Scarry book-reading, and you-better-watch-it looks, and the cold sweats, and the kneeler-crashing.  It's not pretty.  But we're there.  We're there because we care.  We're there because our parents loved the faith so much that they put up with those same cold sweats to bring us to mass every Sunday when we were babies, toddlers, preschoolers and beyond.  We're there because we hope that this small act of effort and sacrifice just might be enough.  When all other parenting skills have failed it feels good to know I least I've brought my children before God each and every week.

My prayer life isn't a silent meditative hour.  Instead it's quick requests of please, God, please.  For a good hair day.  For less screaming.  A close parking spot.  That we make it through the grocery store without making a scene.  That the small wail in the middle of the night will sooth itself out.  That my feverish child will feel better soon.  For patience.  And gratitude.  And understanding.  And generosity.  And energy.

And then I pray for forgiveness.  That in this season of giving everything I have to give to everyone else, He accepts the small amount I have left over for Him.

I pray He doesn't think my prayers are petty.  Or short.  Or meaningless.

Right now I'm called to serve Him in poopy diapers and dirty laundry and breastfeeding and potty-training and making a grocery list and giving baths and making beds and combing tangled hair and putting on boots and reading Pinkalicious for the thousandth time.

I hope He see these as little I love yous to Him.  Small prayers, small acts that add up to something bigger.

I thank Him for these three beautiful and healthy children.  However sassy and whiny they might be.  I thank him for my generous and patient husband who has an unbelievable unconditional love for me.  I thank Him for this house, our school, our neighborhood, our life!

This is the faith I live.  I know it will never be enough.  But, with grace, I pray it is anyway.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Like Twins

William, two months old.
Katherine, two months old, and William, five years old.  (He insisted she hold the microphone.)
I asked William the other day how he can tell the difference between girl babies and boy babies.  It wasn't a trap.  I really wanted to see if he knew the answer.  "You can tell by their hair," he told me.  I'm starting to think he's right.
Brian with William who is a few days old.

Brian with Katherine who is one day old.

I also noticed that as Brian's hair has gotten thinner, his muscles have gotten bigger.  Coincidence?

Friday, January 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes [1.6.12]

1. My brother just called to ask if he and a girlfriend can babysit our kids on Tuesday.  I can barely contain my excitement.  Yay for people who love our kids!  And also yay for breastpumps and bottles!  What should we do?!  Where should we go?!  What movie should we see?!

2. My new favorite song is The Walk by Mayer Hawthorne.  The lyrics have absolutely nothing to do with my life and there's even a few naughty words in there.  But I can't help it.  I just love the sound of it.  I blare it in the car all the time.  It's now on the radio here and there but thanks to my music-loving husband I can say that I was listening to it way before it was popular.  He does that a lot.  Makes me listen to new artists, new songs and then a few months later, boom, I hear it on the radio.  He's cool like that.

My husband is also making me watch The Bachelor this season.  I know that sounds like a sarcastic statement, and I even kind of wish it were, but I'm really saying that with a straight face.  We didn't watch last season of The Bachelorette because neither of us were big fans of Ashley during Brad's season.  But my DVR went ahead and recorded the first episode of The Bachelor on Monday without my knowledge to which Brian replied, "YES!"  At first I thought he was kidding but he explained he loves watching the girls cry, fight and make fools of themselves.  He loves counting the number of times they say the word "amazing" or "for the right reasons."  Pure comedy.  If you remember, he was my guest blogger way back when Jake was the bachelor.  I remember it fondly because my readership went through the roof.  He's always stealing my thunder like that.  I have to agree though.  I think watching The Bachelor makes me feel like a better person.  Kind of like how watching Supernanny makes me feel like a better parent.

  I think I mentioned in a previous post that Brian gave me a Kindle Fire for Christmas.  At first I was unsure.  But now I think I kind of love it.  I had been going through a serious drought when it came to reading other blogs but I'm easing back into it thanks to the Fire. Now I can easily do all my reading on the couch while nursing, at the kitchen table while drinking my coffee, or comfortably in bed before I go to sleep.  I am also loving all the children's picture books.  The illustrations look so vibrant on the screen and I like that some of the stories are interactive.

5.  One of the things I read on my Fire last night before I fell asleep was this blog post on Why Skim Milk Will Make You Fat and Give You Heart Disease.  I was very intrigued by what the author had to say.  When I cook I always use real butter and cream but I only drink skim milk.  My kids, however, only drink whole milk.  I shared the article with Brian and we agreed we would give this theory a shot.  The only problem is that I find that I like the taste of skim milk better.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Tonight at dinner I mixed my glass half with skim milk and half with whole milk.  It was OK.  It'll definitely take some getting used to.

6.  I went to my first yoga class post pregnancy on Wednesday night and it was AH-MAZ-ING! (I say that and I'm not even a contestant on The Bachelor.)  Prior to getting pregnant with Katherine I was serious about my yoga practice.  I went at least once a week; usually two or three.  But then morning sickness hit and I just never got back into it.  Now that Katherine is here and my life is nothing short of a three-ring circus, it was the perfect time to dust off my mat.  I went to a new studio a mom friend of mine opened.  It was an hour and a half of yoga and meditation by candlelight.  I can hear you all sighing right now, right?  It was exactly what I needed to bring peace to my mind and body.  If you're in the area and available on Wednesday nights, give me a call and we'll go together.  You won't regret it!

7. OK, seriously, Tuesday night.  I have two babysitters!  What should we do?!  Brian says dinner followed by Mission: Impossible.  What do you think?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Beauty of Routine and Structure

Well hello, Mr. Blog.  Long time, no write.  I'm not even going to apologize for my absence.

You see this?  This is pretty much how our entire Christmas break looked.  This was taken on New Year's Eve.  We were watching the new Winnie the Pooh movie.  If anyone saw my 20s out at some bar having a rockin' New Year's Eve, tell them I say hey.  And tell them I bet I felt better than they did the next morning.  (P.S. The Winnie the Pooh movie was actually quite good.  Clever and funny and just sweet.  I recommend!)

I'm not going to beat around the bush or sugar coat anything here.  Our break wasn't all that great.  A few of us did come down with the throw-ups but even that wasn't what really brought it down.  I think I came into the break thinking how amazing it was going to be to have Brian around so much.  I could feed the baby while he made lunch.  He could change her diaper while I gave the kids a bath.  An extra pair of hands.  Someone to chat with.  We would drink coffee all day long and sip wine at night by the fire while watching the latest flick from Redbox.

And we did do some of that but by and large there was just a lot of sitting/laying around.  In all of our excitement about the idea of having us all be at home together for so long Brian and I both failed to actually plan any activities.  So the kids got bored and then got on our nerves.  The house got messy and stressed me out.  No one really ever got dressed.  We ate a lot of crap.  But we did drink a lot of coffee.  So I guess I got one thing out of my list.

The truth of the matter is that we're a better, happier family when we run on schedule.  When the kids see that dad is home they're not really sure what to expect.  They think it's Saturday but when there's six Saturdays in a row things get a little jumbled.

And while there isn't a single other person in this whole entire world who I would rather spend my free time with, the truth is that I don't function as my best wife and mother when he's home every day.  Everything feels too loosey goosey.  The laundry stays dirty.  The dishes don't get cleared.  The counters are smeared with...something.  The bed doesn't always get made.  It's the kind of stuff I never let go by the wayside when I'm home alone, doing my job.  I'm sure Brian wouldn't be productive at the office either if I were hanging out by his desk all day long.  It's just the way it is.

I realize that some families do free time a lot better than us.  Some marriages work great when the spouses are together all day, every day.  A lot of people are good at spontaneity.  A lot of families are good at getting ready in the morning and kicking everyone out the door for some good fun.

We aren't that family.  We need a plan and we need one every single day.

Yesterday Brian went back to work and William went back to school and I swear I could almost hear those gears start clicking and turning once again.  They were a bit rusty but once they got going it was all too familiar.

Do you how many times Lucy asked where William was or how many times any of the kids asked where Dad was?  None.  I think they were just as relieved as I was to be back on schedule.  And besides, I really did miss the sound of the door opening at the end of the day and the excited shrieks and stomping feet running to the back door to greet their dad.  Best part of every day.  Hands down.
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