Friday, March 30, 2018

Solo Parenting-A Progression

Rick has been on a six day work trip to Hong Kong. It's been exciting to see his pictures of what essentially looks like a different world.

Busy all the time.

Who doesn't enjoy eating spicy corn out of a bag?

Or squid?
Your guess is as good as mine.

While he's off having his big adventure, things are pretty much the same around here, though it has been funny to watch the level of enthusiasm I have for solo-parenting wane as the days progress. It's gone a little something like this:

Day 1: Prep breakfast smoothies, lunches, and set coffee timer after kids go to bed. Set alarm for early morning workout. 

Day 2: Worked out and showered/ready before the kids wake up at 6:00 am. Breakfast consumed, clothes on and everyone to school by 7:15 so I can get on the road for an out of town meeting. I am killing this. Dinner at a friend's house.

Day 3: Slightly less gung-ho. But still, smoothies are made, I am up and worked out before kids are awake, but had to shower while they ate breakfast. I heard screaming while I was in there, but whatever it was had been resolved when I got out. Got to school a little later than yesterday, but no big deal. Oh, what's that? Annie's sick and I need to come get her? Ok, I got this. Given the symptoms, I suspect she has strep and make an appointment immediately at the doc. Turns out I was right, and we get meds and hang out all day. By the end of the day, she seems to already be feeling better. Aunt Chaney to the rescue to take John to swimming lessons. Dinner at McDonald's because I just realized we have no food at the house other than smoothies and coffee.

Day 4: I got up about 35 seconds before the kids got out of bed. Smoothies were still made ahead of time and coffee was ready to go. Annie is home again all day, but seems to be 100% better, which dashes any hopes I had of getting much work done. I spend all day fetching snacks. Can't remember if I showered yesterday. Make more coffee. Dinner at Steak and Shake and bribe the kids with vending machine toys to get them to stop running around the joint. Consider we might be the first sober people to be kicked out of a fast food restaurant. Not sure I care.

Day 5: The children wake me up at 6:15. Have to deliver easter eggs to the neighbor's for the hunt tomorrow morning, and I don't have it in me to come  up with an elaborate lie about what's in the bag, so I just blurt out, "parents hide the eggs for this hunt, the easter bunny has way too much to do the day before easter. Get in the car. No, you can't see the eggs. They have candy inside them. No, you can't see what kind of candy." We barely make it to school before the final bell.

Tomorrow we have the egg hunt, a birthday party, egg dying, play dates and then Rick will be home tomorrow night and all will be right with the world. I am thankful he gets to have this adventure, but oh so thankful he is coming home so he can share this excitement with us. Plus, it's his turn to make the smoothies and coffee.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Muffinator is Four!

This one stings. Today is John's fourth birthday. Or, Burr-day, as he pronounces it. Gone are the days of binkies and crawling and monitoring every step for a precarious toddle down the stairs. While my heart still lurches a bit looking at photos of my Sweet Baby John, as someone who is not a fan of the constant anxiety of the baby phase, I feel like we can finally take a breath.

When John was born and Annie was 2.5, I remember saying to Rick, "we just have to make it until he's two." For reference, when Annie was two she was a big talker, almost potty trained, and a pretty chill kid. This was perhaps my first lesson in the differences in gender and possibly birth order.

John hardly talked until he was 2.5 (I blame his love for his binkie), he didn't potty train until he was 3.5, he is fearless and has my coordination, which is a VERY dangerous combo. So needless to say, the cruise control I imagined hitting when John turned two never happened. But, I feel like we are there now.

John loves all things boy. He loves super heroes, space ships, Star Wars, Paw Patrol, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Power Rangers, you get the picture. Anything that fights, shoots, bangs or speeds is his jam. While it makes shopping for gifts for him easy, it does make keeping a tidy house an issue, but as a wise person once told me, "you can have kids or you can have a clean house-not both."

John is hilarious and smart and has a memory like a trap and he's already learning letters. He can write his name and surprised us the other day when he wrote Annie's name on a box. He seems to prefer his left hand for writing, but can switch back and forth, which is pretty cool.

He is a picky eater, but is getting better. His favorite things are fish sticks, bananas, milk, and smoothies. He's not a fan of ice cream (despite what he might tell you, because he *really* wants to like ice cream) and is just coming around to pizza. He will eat peas, but that's about it. He gags when he talks about carrots, though he's never tried one to my knowledge.

He knows how to play us like a fiddle. And when I say "us", I mean anyone that comes into contact with him. His pre-school teacher told me the other day that she's working on getting him to use his words and not cry to get his way because, "that lip comes out and he gives me the eyes and I will do whatever he wants." You and everyone else, Ms. Juanita. 

And who can blame us, could you say no to this face?

Annie can't, I can tell you that much. She's the most smitten of all of us, though I believe she's starting to grow weary. The other day, after handing over something to John after he gave her the lip and the eyes, she said, "you know John, we shouldn't give you everything you want when you act like that." True, true, baby girl. We will work on it.

Happiest of birthdays to my sweet little man. Twenty years from now I want to remember how you still hold my hand when we walk together, how you say "sanks" instead of "thanks", how when you are having a great time you say, "I love this day", how much you love your 'homie', Rick, how you want to sleep in your sister's room because you don't like being alone when you wake up, your love of all things muffin/cinnamon roll, how you love to dance but don't want to take a class because "I already know how to dance, Mom!", and how you have stolen the hearts of so many. While you are now a big boy, you will always be my Sweet Baby John. We are so lucky to have you complete our family.

We love you more than we could ever say,

Friday, November 17, 2017

Life is like a pile of Mimis

A quick history in Erwin Lexicon before I start this post:

Annie had a lovey that was a bunny. She had a friend that had the same lovey, but it was a lamb and the friend called it "lamby". So Annie called her similar lovey "whammy" (how a baby pronounces Lamby). Annie called her binkies "Mimis".

Then, comes along and he calls his binkies "see-sees" and calls his lovey his "mimi".

Is anyone still reading this?

Yes? ok, I will proceed with the point.

These are John's Mimis. We had roughly 12 of them at one point. To all new parents out there, my #1 piece of advice is if your child is even remotely attached to something, buy 175 of them and have them in a constant rotation from the get-go.

Here is a solo Mimi, just so you can see the adorable cow face.

Annie and John both loved their sweet whammy/mimis hard. Annie carried hers wherever she went for a solid 4 years until she started school. Up until that point, I had visions of her sewing her whammy into the lining of her coats as she grew up, just to have it close by. But then, she started to drift from the whammy and the next thing I knew, they were all tucked away in a bin in her closet, only to be accessed by a complete psychopath to smell them every now and then.

Side Note: Motherhood makes you totally crazy.

With John, he had so many that my strategy of having multiples sort of backfired and he was a mimi junkie. One was never enough. He had to sleep with 2-3 at a time, which is why he ended up with so many. Not to mention the geniuses over at Angel Dear (the manufacturers of these little gems) came up with this brilliant marketing tool where they sell them in packs of three (a pair and a spare). So our mimi habit was basically enabled by these people selling 3-packs of baby crack.

But somewhere along the line, since we have been in the new house, I have noticed the requests for Mimis have diminished. He wants his Red Power Ranger or his Avengers blanket at night. I hadn't really thought much about it until I walked by the pile of mimis pictured above. They had been washed and then....not asked for again.

My heart kind of sunk. I figured that was it for the mimis. It had been at least two weeks without them at bedtime and I think that's the official timespan one needs to break a serious habit. Or something official sounding like that. I kind of mulled around them yesterday, smelled them (so freaking crazy) and then got distracted before I had the chance to tuck them away with Annie's whammys.

But then...last night, right before bed, like a true "One week before Thanksgiving Miracle", John saw the pile of loveys and proclaimed, "Wook! It's all my Mimis!!!!" And I calmly responded, "I wasn't sure you still wanted them any more." He replied, "No Mom, I still wuv dem!"

Oh thank God. (I actually said that out loud)

So the pile of Mimis was carted up to John's bed, where they will snuggle until he is distracted again. Hopefully it's not any time soon.

Until then, I will be researching how to sew a lovey into the lining of my jackets, because while the kids may be able to let them go, I am not sure I can.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Where are they now....

Good gravy....where to start? It's been over a year since I have posted on here. A recent reading of a journal my Mom kept when Parker and Chloe were young reminded me how valuable these memories are, so I am going to try to do better. Even if it is just posting some pics and funny stories here and there (let's be honest, that's all I was really doing before).

Here are the highlights:

We now have a dog, Abby. She's a Great Pyrenees and is wonderful with the kids. Her favorite things include barking, shedding, eating everything off the counters and in any cabinet we happen to leave open (horrible, horrible things happen when a dog eats a tube of zinc oxide, in the event you were wondering). When she's not barking, she's sleeping. But we love her and the kids are no longer afraid of dogs, so mission accomplished. Plus, it's really nice to have a dog in the house again.

John is a almost FOUR. He's such a little buster now and thinks he is "all grown up". He loves all things boy: Power Rangers, super heroes, Paw Patrol, Ninja Turtles, etc. He plays rough and loves hard. He will still give me kisses and gentle pats on the cheek and loves his Dad (his homie) fiercely. He has the most wonderful head of dark brown hair and beautiful hazel eyes like Rick. He still has chubby baby hands (don't tell him I said that) and I hope those stay around a bit longer. He can't pronounce the "L" sound well, which melts my heart. I never tire of hearing, "I wuv you." 

Believe it or not, this is Annie who dressed as the Evil Queen for Halloween. She's in first grade now and is the standard six going on 16, but she still wants the closet light on when she sleeps and lets me lay down with her at bedtime, so we aren't too big just yet. She started Webster Waves swim team this summer and seems to love it. We have continued swimming lessons over the fall/winter and she gets better each session. She has made some great friends at school and we love watching her learn. She's still as funny as ever and clearly has a flair for the dramatic. She's actually attending a play on a school field trip tomorrow so I fully expect her to beg to be in one after seeing the performance. She has lost her two front bottom teeth and expect a few more are coming out here soon.

We also moved into a new house in December 2016. We had officially outgrown the 2 bedroom, 1 bath Dawson Court house. I knew it was time to leave when I found myself not wanting to potty train John because I didn't want another person using the bathroom. We sold the home we brought both our babies home to in about 14 minutes and found the new house just under the wire. It was a whirlwind holiday season last year and I just now feel like we are catching our breath.

So that's it in a nutshell: new home, new dog, 1st grade, preschool, two lost teeth, and everyone is doing well. More to come (hopefully).

Friday, October 14, 2016

10 Years

Today is our 10th Anniversary. We got married on a beach in Alabama and the skies parted after a stormy/dreary morning, just in time for a spectacular evening, perfect for a beach wedding. I walked down the winding beach boardwalk to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (Izrael Kamakawiwo'ole's version). I remember little of the ceremony because I think I was trying so hard not to cry. But I have a vivid memory of turning as they announced us husband and wife, and all the ooohs and ahhhss from the crowd. I thought they were oohing for us, but as it turns out, there was an actual rainbow behind us (actually a phenomenon known as a "Sundog", but who's counting?).

I really feel like that moment set the tone for our lives together. There's always a little extra hint of fun/excitement/unexpected when we are together. I knew from the second I received that random email from you almost 13 years ago that you were different and that it was the kind of different I needed. Thank you for being the most wonderful father and friend. I can't imagine my life without you. I love you more than I can say. I can't wait for more adventures with you and our beautiful, crazy, wonderful kids.

All my love,

Monday, September 12, 2016

First days

I thought it would be wise to get these pictures up before they have been in school for a month.

Annie has officially started kindergarten. She's thrilled with the prospect of learning to read and do math, but for now, her favorite classes are art and recess (and sometimes music, depending on the day). Considering the fact she now does jumping jacks and burpees before dinner, I would say gym class is influencing her as well. 

These are our "be cool-try not to freak out" faces
Apparently the "cheese face" is genetic.

Annie was the best big sister walking John into his new preschool.
Time progression of the backpack. On the left was her first day at preschool when she was 3. The right is on her way to kindergarten.
John was nervous until he realized he got a second breakfast and it was breakfast PIZZA (which I am not sure how that is different from regular pizza, but I don't ask questions).

We are settling into the new routine nicely. The kids go back and forth between waking up at 5:30 in the morning, or us having to wake them up at 7. I will try to be better about posting as we embark on this new adventure (and since I have been recently told people actually still read this thing...Hi Gaddy!).

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Muffin-2.5 years

Hooo, buddy. You are 2.5 years old now. You are in size 4-5T clothing and are full of energy. We recently weaned you off your binkie (you called it your see-see) and you have been non-stop talking ever since. Though the talking has mainly been about superheroes and play fighting. There are some days I yearn for my snuggly binkie baby who doesn't attack me with swords and sticks.

You are tons of fun to be around and, like your sister, are genuinely funny. You two love each other hard and I hope you will always look out for each other as you do now.
You have more hair than any human I have ever seen. I originally thought you just had a big head, but after reassessing, I think you have a slightly above-average sized head with an impossible amount of hair.
You love tools and to help. Every time you see me or your Dad walking somewhere, you say "Help you?" and are always willing to carry something or operate hand tools in a questionable manner.
You are over your fears of rides and loud noises. Now you seem to prefer loud noises and are often the source of them. You rode rides probably not appropriate for a 2.5 year old, but thanks to your size, you got past the carnies and seemed to enjoy yourself.

You are a picky eater. Somehow even pickier than your sister. We call you "the muffin" or "muffinator" because muffins are your food of choice, though really any carb/bread will do. There is no doubt you are my child.
To me, you are the cutest boy human alive.

Twenty years from now I want to remember how you say "of course" any time someone asks you a yes/no question ("John, can you come here?" Of course!), how you say "oh Right!" any time someone tells you something you feel might be even somewhat obvious, how you LOVE ninja turtles and superheroes even though you have only seen brief snippets on TV, how you wake up and immediately demand breakfast (preferably in muffin form), and how much you love your Dad, but how you are warming up to me every day. I love your sweet face and your "hulk hugs" and am so thankful every day I get to be your mom.

I love you, sweet boy,