Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Adventures of Ninja Slashboom and Buckethead

"Jacob, come inside and eat lunch."

"But Mommy, I'm a ninja. Ninjas don't eat lunch when they are busy fighting bad guys." Jacob threw some kicks and punches in the direction of invisible teeth-gnashing, muscle-bulging giants, no doubt in a humble effort to save the universe.

"Ninja Jacob needs to eat lunch so he can get some energy to fight bad guys." Mommy sang aloud, her frustration-meter steadily increasing and in direct proportion to the shrillness of her voice.

Rude. "I'm not Ninja Jacob. I'm.....I'm.....I'm Ninja Slash. No, Ninja Slashboom." A karate kick nearly missed Mommy's face as the fearless ninja whizzed by.

A small, unsteady frame in blue plaid shorts suddenly entered stage right. He grinned comically, revealing a large gap between his two front baby teeth. As his lips parted further, mountainous teeth formations jutted haphazardly from his pink gums. He toddled towards a large bucket, lifted it up with much concentration, and plunked the bucket right onto his head.

"This is my side kick." Ninja Slashboom proudly raised his arms to the sky and announced, "Presenting Buckethead! The scariest sidekick on the planet!" As if on cue, Buckethead suddenly lost balance and, as the earth fell out from beneath him, landed loudly on his diapered butt. THUNK.

Buckethood pulled the bucket off and flashed his mountain-range smile once again as he quickly shook his head back and forth.

Ninja Slashboom was unphased by the comical show of his sidekick and continued to swat at the air before him, leveling giants with quick steady blows. "Take THAT! And THAT! Hai-ya! Can't catch me!"

Ninja Slashboom continued his valiant quest to rid the world of evil until Mommy, with no respect for the precarious fate of humankind, lost all patience and inflicted upon him the tortures of nourishment. The battle for the world would have to wait for another day.


Sunday morning arrived with the promise of scorching temperatures. Ninja Slashboom quickly arranged for transportation to the nearby wave pool, where there was rumored to be a bad guy invasion for later in the day. After suffering through some pesky errands and having to listen to Buckethead chat incessantly about "goo goo's" and "dah's" and other ridiculous baby topics, Ninja Slashboom's chauffer finally pulled up to the entrance of the wave pool.

Ninja Slashboom and Buckethead quickly assumed their aliases. No one would ever suspect these two innocent boys of being deadly ninja warriors. Or the unassuming stroller to be a bullet-proof flying air-machine.

As they entered the park, Ninja Slashboom was excited to discover that the bad guys had yet to arrive. Perfect! he would have the element of surprise! He was free to stake out the terrain, plant some traps, and traipse carelessly through the water fountains. But first: armor. Ninja Slashboom donned his super swim trunks and shed all other unnecessary clothing items- wouldn't want to be recognized, of course! He then slipped into his magical floating life vest and he was ready for battle.

"Let's go Buckethead!" Ninja Slashboom cheered as he charged forward, not realizing that if he HAD been in the presence of bad guys, his cover would have been blown faster than candles on a birthday cake. Buckethead was not quite ready.

Ninja patrolled the wave pool and the water fountains, on the lookout for any suspicious activity which might suggest that the peril of the planet was near. So far, no sign of trouble. Ninja realized this was for the best when he glanced backwards and saw that Buckethead had already abandoned his post...for a snack.

Ninja dove into the water, a welcome reprieve from the 85 degree weather. He came up for air only to discover that waves weren't the only things charging at him. Out of nowhere appeared a tsunami of heavily-armed foe. Ninja grabbed his sword from an invisible arsenal hanging before him and charged.

"Take that! And that! I got ya!" He jeered. Foe after foe fell away defeated. As Ninja continued to charge he wondered where his backup was? "Buckethead?! Where are you?" He spared only a mili-second to glance back at his vicious sidekick.

"Great. All alone" he thought as he pressed onward. But he was not discouraged. Four years of ninja training had prepared him for this very battle. Scratch that. Four and a HALF years. Just when he thought there were too many bad guys for one mighty ninja to handle, Mommy appeared yielding a surprise weapon. In her hands were two glistening popsicles. Without warning, the bad guys vanished into thin air.

Ninja cheered and pumped his fists skyward as he ceremoniously accepted one Sonic the Hedgehog popsicle. Around him the kids continued to play, completely oblivious to the legendary battle that had just taken place before their eyes. No respect.

Peace once again settled over the Pacific Northwest as Ninja and Buckethead enthusiastically enjoyed their rewards. As the popsicles slowly melted, so did all trace of the fearless ninjas.

Jacob took Ryan's hand and together they marched back to the car...where Ryan, grinning boldly, thwacked Jacob in the face with a blanket. Jacob erupted into a geyser of tears which then turned into a 30 minute long tantrum. On the way home, Mommy chauffer stopped to buy a bottle of wine.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Calling All HGTV Fans: Advice Wanted!

Ok, I have a confession. My workouts at the gym are really an excuse to watch HGTV. I LOVE that channel. LOVE. Curses to my sister-in-law for introducing me to that sink-hole of time and encourager of futile home-improvement undertakings! My sister-in-law and I spent an entire week of vacation watching that channel. To our credit, it was pouring down rain most of that vacation...

I've decided that I can never have cable. If I had access to that channel, I would do nothing with my life. The children would never get another bath. Forget ever working at home. We would eat canned peaches for every meal. Because my butt would be perpetually parked in front of the TV watching drab and horrid rooms transform into magazine worthy spaces.

Now that we have actually committed to staying in our home (Many of you have asked why we don't just move to Seattle to cut out the horrible commute. The answer is this: our home I only worth 60% of what we paid for it. We're stuck. For a long, long time.), we're slowly making improvements. It's amazing how much you begin to get attached to your house once you put some blood, sweat, and creative energy into it.

We're putting off the huge ticket item, turning our unaccessible attic into a second story, and tackling some small projects for the time being. Next up, beautifying the exterior.

When we bought the house, it was this hideous shade of Pepto-salmon. New to that color? It's a curious mix between Pepto-Bismol and salmon. Here's the unfortunate evidence:

We already painted the exterior. The bottom half of the house is a really light grey-which apparently doesn't register in blinding sunlight. We had wanted a darker color to contrast with the white trim...oh well. Right now our house looks like this:

But it's not done yet. Our weird craftsman style home is wearing a Victorian hat. The non-functional peak is adorned in decorative Victorian shingles. The single color up top does not do these weird shingles any justice. We decided to embrace the funk and add a splash of color to the peak. I spent two hours the other night coming up with some design concepts for the peak.

I was very busy. This isn't even all of them!

But we need some help. My husband and I can't decide between our four favorite options. We'd love your thoughts, before I go around showing these to complete strangers on the bus! And forgive the poor quality. These are pictures of a printout of a picture that I colored on. And I had to use whatever markers were in the house. The actual red will be more muted. And to balance out the color-heavy top, we will add a grey trellis to the front with red flowers and maybe some other décor or additional trim painting. If we can ever decide on the peak...





Monday, June 24, 2013

Never Ride With Your Boss

I worked on Saturday. But, even though I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to catch the 6:20 boat to be in the office at 7:45, it wasn't altogether unpleasant.

When I got to the office, my boss and I spent a good amount of time reviewing witness declarations and medical records for one of our cases. We then hopped in his car to meet with our expert witness. As my boss zipped out of the parking garage, he said, "I've got JUST the music for you. You're going to love it." When an up-beat tempo came through the stereo and a borderline falsetto male voice pierced the airways, I immediately recognized the CD: Justin Timberlake's new album. Apparently my boss is a pretty hip 50-year old man.

He cranked up the bass as loud as it would go and rolled down the windows. Before I knew it, he was doing DOUBLE air guitars (yes, while driving) and singing along to the risqué lyrics of "Strawberry Bubble Gum" ("But you, you're delicious on your own/After I break you down my fingers, it's so sweet") I suddenly had a flashback to the time I was 14 and commuting home with my dad after a long day at my summer job. My dad had cranked up Shania Twain as loud as the stereo would go and, stuck in traffic with windows rolled down, he belting out "Man, I feel like a woman!" while bobbing his head dramatically back and forth. My 14-year old self was extremely mortified.

This time, however, Justin Timberlake's songs were much too catchy for me to be bothered by my boss' little show. And, in a fit of road rage, when my boss yelled out the window to a poorly merging Winnebago in front of him, "Ease in, big fella!" It was only fitting that I shouted back, "That's what she said!" My boss snorted with laughter and told me, "good one!" It could have been pulled directly out of a scene from the Office.

We spent the rest of the trip talking about embarrassing gynecological procedures (slightly related to a case) and, after we stopped at a famous Five Guys Burger joint and filled up on carbonated beverages, I got to listen to my boss' ovation-worthy belches for the last five minute leg of the trip.

Working on Saturdays is sometimes amusing.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baby Brain

This time last year, I swore up and down that I could never have another baby (I don't deal with surgeries, all day nausea, or abdominal separation very well). But right now all my complaints seem light years away. 12 months sure does a lot for the mommy-amnesia effect.

Now discussions of a third baby are a daily occurrence in our house. The discussions always end the same, with my husband putting a very big and strong foot down on the idea. Part of me realizes that he will come around in time. Or that my begging will wear him down. Or that my cunning and deception will improve (I just may resort to such measures, if necessary).

I keep telling my husband that there is a 100% change he won't regret it. And I do have a good point. I doubt anyone looks at the face of their newborn child and thinks, "yep, I totally regret you." Unless that person is a cold-blooded serial killer who starves baby kittens and purposefully puts sour milk back in the fridge, just for pleasure.

Surprisingly enough, even though we are completely different people (don't even get me started with how garlic bread should properly be made) my husband and I agree on almost everything. The things we don't agree on are very piddly and unimportant. The biggest thing we don't agree on is politics. Even then, we manage to co-exist very peacefully during election season.

So, the fact that we don't agree on baby #3 is really hard for me. Especially because it is something I want so desperately and so fully and so immediately and something he is adamantly against. The most unfair part is that we don't have to sit down and discuss the issue to get through the situation. If he doesn't want baby #3, it just doesn't happen. He automatically gets his way. Two kids is our status quo and if I want it to change, the impetus is 100% on me.

Right now we are gridlocked in a friendly daily battle. Who can most fully support their position regarding baby #3 with the most evidence collected throughout the day (can you tell I'm a lawyer?). Whenever the kids are simultaneously being difficult, my husband uses that to fuel his position. And when the kids are being adorable and sweet, that's when I chime in to argue my side.

I now submit my proof from this weekend...

In Defense of Babies:

They look cute eating popsicles

And donuts
They give each other make-overs

They wear baby crocs

They draw hilarious self portraits

They do weird things. This morning I woke up to find 20 Ziplock bags full of Play-doh on my table. Jacob told me he made snake people, separated them into families, and gave them Ziplock-bag homes. And he did all this at 6 a.m. The bag on the left with only two snake-people represents our next door neighbors.

Last night, Jacob started crying in his bed at 9 p.m. interrupting the middle of our movie. When I went in to get him he told me he was crying because he "pooped a little" in his pull-up. His crying woke up Ryan who also began to cry. I handed Ryan off to my husband and took Jacob to the bathroom. When we checked out the situation, there was very tiny skid-mark in his pull-up. Seriously kid? This?! Is why you were screaming and woke up the baby?

As Jacob was crying from the poop situation and Ryan was crying from having been woken up, my husband threw me a knowing glance and said, "imagine if there were three!" All I could think to do in response was to smile pleasantly and insist, "We need one more!"

Then there are moments when we are all playing on the living room floor together. Ryan and Jacob are giggling hysterically at something their daddy is doing and I just melt. In those precious moments, I'm sure to pipe in with an, "Awwww, our babies are so cute. How can you NOT want another!"

So this is my daily baby battle. As my maternal instincts are preparing to explode from want, I'm up against a cold, harsh wall. Part of me thinks I should be happy with the precious children that I have. Part of me realizes that I am amazingly blessed to have so many people to love. But the other part of me knows that there is still room in my heart and in my life for another. This other part of me feels as if something is missing or incomplete. There's a little empty space in the corner of my heart waiting to be filled. That part of me is very, very strong.


I finally saw a nutritionist for my eating "issue." It felt so good to finally talk about it with someone. And, for the first time in ten years, I feel like I'm on the right path.

We sat down and discussed my issue from all angles and then we went over what I typically eat on a normal day. I told her that while I don't necessarily want to see the number on my scale go down, I feel like I have a pocket of fat in my lower abdomen that never goes away, no matter how much ab work I do and no matter how much I cut back on junk food. I'm not seeking perfection, it's just frustrating to me that all my exercise (5 mile runs four times a week, 4 mile commute walks three days a week, and abdominal circuits) and cutting back on snacks and junk food, has absolutely no effect on my body. I work so hard to eat modestly. Where are my results?!

A little pocket of fat. Big deal right? It's just part of being a mom, isn't it? Permanent residuals from my body doing incredible, amazing things (growing two people). I think I'm ready to chalk it up to "Things I Cannot Change About My Body," specifically in the  category of "Gifts From My Children." You know, like my stretch marks, C-section scars,"outie" belly button, and complete lack of boobs. Yay, kids are fun!

Then my nutritionist asked me one question, "when was the last time you felt hungry?" That's a weird question, I thought. But then I really thought about it. When WAS the last time I felt hungry? I couldn't even remember. That answer, my nutritionist said, was the key to unlocking my physiological mystery.

The advice from my nutritionist kind of shocked me. She said that if I wanted to lose fat, I needed to..... EAT MORE. What?! After going through my daily food routine, she said that I was simply not getting enough calories. My body isn't getting enough calories so it is in "starvation" mode and holding on to everything I ingest as a preservation method. Because of this, my metabolism is really low. If I eat more on a daily basis, my body will come out of starvation mode, my metabolism will increase, and my body will stop storing everything.

My homework is simple. Eat 200 more calories a day and see what happens. So far, I'm eating more like 300 more per day and I already feel more energized and satisfied. I'm getting hungry before meals, feeling satisfied after meals, I have fewer cravings for junk food, and...for doing the other "thing," CHSP. Although I was skeptical at first, I feel like it's actually working. It's only been a couple days and I haven't seen any change in my appearance BUT I've noticed a huge change in everything else.

After all this time of struggling, could it really be that the key to my eating disorder is so easy and so...ironic? To eat more? I guess we will see!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mind Games

After a weekend and a Monday of working from "home," I'm often totally overwhelmed with the thought of returning to the office. Some days it is so bad that I'm just a sliver of sanity away from throwing in the towel. In my moments of vulnerability, I'm consumed by the feeling that there is a demon waiting for me at work in the form of an angry partner or an endless pile of work on the one or two particularly horrible cases that never seem to go away.

On these bad days, just the thought of going to the office makes me feel anxious, overwhelmed, and suffocated. While I have a strong work ethic, I also have a strong awaeness of the transient nature of life. This otherworldly awareness keeps me strongly focused on What Matters Most. It also encourages me to focus on doing things that I enjoy. The second that the anxiety/unpleasantness from my work starts to outweigh the enjoyment, that's when I have a tendency to flee. This may explain why, in the past three years I've had three different jobs.

This morning on my ferry ride to work, I just couldn't get myself to resume working on the motion I had started the day before. Instead, in my ulcer-induced state, I anxiously checked job listings on the internet. I was looking for ANYTHING that would allow me to escape the practice of law and the one or two big cases that cause me to hyperventilate at night. If those cases would just quietly disappear, my job would be much better. Ugh.

And then...I get to work. I tackle a few small tasks. A (.1) billable hour here a (.2) billable hour then and then suddenly it's noon and I've crossed ten things off my ever-expanding to-do list. I stop for a quick lunch and tackle the rest of the afternoon. I suddenly forget my anxiety and decide that I actually do like my job and that I'm actually kind of good at it sometimes. By the time I leave work, I'm refreshed and rejuvenated in my capabilities.

No matter how positive I feel as I leave work, the next day I face that same dread and anxiety all over again. For me, it's like running. Most days I have to play mind games to force myself out of the house and into my running shoes. But as soon as my feet hit the pavement, I've got a gigantic smile on my face and a new outlook on life. It's still hard to get out the door every day. But I find that I enjoy it when it is over.

Regarding my job, I can't really identify my mental impediments. I don't know if it is just these particularly difficult cases looming over my head, certain situations with my work, or the commute. Before I walk into the office, I often feel like I'm not capable of doing my job and by the time I walk out, I feel accomplished and satisfied with my performance. I just can't explain it. It must all be in my head- like when start chipping away at a tremendous to-do list only to find that the momentum carries you ever forward. It's like that....kinda.

I think I know the problem. I should have just married a doctor.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day 2013

Father's Day 2013:

We started the day with breakfast out (sans Jacob who spent the night at his grandma's). As we waited outside for our table Ryan served as entertainment. We chased him around the parking lot as he threw rocks in every direction. He hit one good-natured patron. She just laughed and commented on his throwing arm. When he wasn't walking like a drunken man, Ryan was scooting on lift left leg which drew many chuckles and comments from other patrons. As he scooted around on one leg throwing rocks, everyone decided he would grow up to be a catcher.

Ryan with his incredible dad
(also pictured: special blanky)

Breakfast was pretty good. Ryan shattered a plate on the floor of the restaurant. (One broken plate in four years of eating out with children is a pretty good track record, yes?) He threw scrambled eggs at the people who walked by our table. As each hunk of egg found its target he screeched, UH-OH!" and smiled his wide, uninhibited, drunken-man grin. Once Ryan discovered that our table was wobbly, he spent the good portion of our breakfast jumping up and down on the table, shaking it enthusiastically.

The fifteen month old girl at the table next to us sat quietly throughout her entire meal, daintily putting one raisin in her mouth at a time. Recognizing his foil, Ryan took a fistful of gooey eggs and threw them in her direction. Ahhh, children and brunch. We refuse to NOT go out to eat just because our children are devilspawn. I'm sure that the childless people who eat all their meals at restaurants hate our guts. We like to fool ourselves into thinking that we are on a missing to teach the world (or at least restaurant-goers) lessons in tolerance.

When I asked my husband what he wanted for Father's Day, he gave me this list: leaf blower, socks, or underwear. So he got a leaf blower which will arrive in 3-5 business days. (I don't know why he wants a leaf blower when our yard has no trees and is the size of a luxury sandbox). Maybe I can use it for dusting?

In addition to the leaf-blower, I put together Father's Day "buckets" for my husband, my dad, and my father-in-law. I found buckets at the drug store and filled them with all kinds of goodies including four different types of craft beers, peanuts, cigars (my dad), candy, and other little goodies. And when the goodies are gone, they have a practical bucket. Who doesn't need an extra bucket? We also gave all the fathers some obligatory, cheesy Father's Day bling:

Stepping stones

I am now six stepping stones more skilled at concrete work than I was last week.

We spent some quality time with all the fathers. We are so lucky to live within 30 minutes from each set of grandparents. And then came home and finished up our long list of chores.

Hanging out on my parents' deck.
This is just a small portion of their 180 degree water view.

While folding the kids' laundry, I spied something unusual.

Yes. It's a snail. Not just a snail SHELL but an actual snail. I assume it went through the wash in one of Jacob's pants. At least it's clean? Horderves anyone?

(P.S. you don't want to know my first guess at spelling the word horderves, I'm such a horrible Food Network fan.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Long, Lonely Tight Rope

I'm treading water while being spun in wild, erratic circles. At least that is how life feels right now. I'm trying to give 100% of myself to my job and 100% of myself to my kids and 30% of myself to my chores and then another 5% of myself to myself. That's 235%.*

Between juggling work and two kids and a disastrous commute and dinners and never-ending laundry, I often daydream about what life is like for other people. People without all these things. People who get to focus all their attention and energy on just work or just raising children. I gawk at the thought.

Lately we have been watching a series called House of Cards which features a childless couple in high-demanding jobs. In the show the characters get up early to go for runs or just to savor the early hours of the morning. They casually get ready for work each morning, enjoying their coffee and savoring a breakfast. They don't know what it is like to frantically drag children out of bed, beg those children multiple times to put on pants and shoes, convince those children to eat something other than fruit snacks, and whisk them out the door while racing against the clock only to discover just before the door closes that the youngest child shit his diaper, then rush to the office to START the day.

I don't ENVY them per se. The profound joy that my children bring can never be substituted for a limitless amount of free time. And envy is a slippery and dangerous slope. It breeds resentment and bitterness and other poisonous feelings. But I do, on occasion, try to fathom what life would be like if I weren't trying to give 235% of myself in different directions each day.

Months ago, I posted about how I had finally achieved peace and balance since taking my new job. But I've learned since then that balance isn't a destination. It's a tight rope. And, if you are a working mom, you walk that tight rope your entire career. One day you might walk several feet on the rope without feeling pulled too far in one direction. This doesn't mean that you will not plummet to the depths below on the very next day.

My satisfaction at work has been replaced with a teeter-tottering sensation. I love parts of my work and other parts are very hard. Some days I'm convinced that I should never do anything but litigation. But then something small will set me off and I'm ready to apply to ANY job that is not in the legal field. Lately I've been tempted to drop it all and find something completely unrelated to law. But what? I'm not qualified to do anything else. I'd be starting at some entry level job that, more likely than not, will be merely mind-numbing. I can't think of any other job, outside academia, that requires the same wonderful mixture of strategy and intellect that litigation offers.

No, I love litigation. Plain and simple. I just don't like anything else about the circumstances of my work. I hate my commute. I hate billable hours. I hate being tied to a desk. I hate working with crazy and unpredictable people. I hate office politics. I hate that the demands on my time will always outweigh what I am able to give. I hate that my office needs a really ambitious associate to take initiative on building the firm and I cannot be that person. I hate that I have this strong itch to devote my entire self to both my career and to my family yet cannot do this because....duh, 235% is not possible or sustainable.

What's the solution? Should I get off this fast moving train while my kids are still young. I'm so worried that their childhood is zipping by at an alarming rate and that I'm just letting it go. Should I just bail on this whole lawyer thing? (Very tempted somedays!) How will I pay back my loans? Or do I just continue to tread water, giving less than 100% of myself to everything, and just endure the guilt and regrets? This tight rope walking is seriously going to give me an ulcer. Do I just suck it up and be thankful (for a job and healthy, amazing children.)

There are no answers. Just the astounding realization that as soon as balance is achieved, the center of gravity shifts yet again.

To end on a happy note, I sure as heck love these guys and hope that I sufficiently show my love for them each day. That's all that matters, right?

Pointing at the camera lens.

It's amazing how much older he looks when he is actually on two feet.

*Forgive my absence on the internet lately. All my free time has been going to my summer reading list. I read blogs on the bus but rarely have time to comment.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Same Chores. Different Day.

As the kids pried us out of bed at 7 a.m., a part of me was thankful for our early risers. Yes, they force us out of our cozy beds much earlier than we would like. However, as a result, we get to enjoy so much more of the day. Our weekends grow by three hours per day when we have to wake up at 7 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. That's something right?

The kids and I lounged around and enjoyed a slow morning together while my husband began working outside in our yard. Many months ago we began the arduous task of leveling our bumpy and lumpy yard, which began with the help of a large bulldozer. My husband has been putting the finishing touches here and there whenever an opportunity arises. Now all we need is to hydro-seed the lawn and throw a party when the grass grows in! I'm so excited to have a level yard that is  functional without inducing symptoms of vertigo!

Playing a little ball
(thank goodness our tiny 7x7 foot front yard is still intact!)

Eating some rocks.

Being handsome
(love that goofy gap between his two front teeth).

Laughing at daddy.

Taking a nap
Or at least pretending to.

We finally snuck out of the house to run errands and I let the kids play in the indoor play park in the mall. It's fun to see how much more Ryan can enjoy the park every time we go. This trip he enjoyed chasing his big brother who was very protective and repeatedly announced to everyone, "That's my baby brother!" We discovered that Ryan can now climb up and go down the slide all by himself. He would climb up carefully and then sit on top of the slide where he would poise proudly and look around to make sure everyone was appreciating his newfound independence. Then he would rock his body back and forth until the force of his own weight pulled him down the slide. He'd grin from ear to ear as he slid right into my outstretched arms. After a good 20 minutes of this, I decided that a Little Tikes plastic slide will be the first addition to our new yard (Craigslist, here I come!).

After a handful of chores, the last thing on my to-do list was grocery shopping. The kids shared an Orange Julius smoothie while I power-walked down aisles throwing things into the court. Everything went smoothly until the end of the trip. Eventually, I pulled the sopping cart up to the pharmacy to refill Jacob's prescription for fluoride. As I gave the pharmacist our information I heard a shrill scream. "OUCH! HELP! OWWWWW!"

I turned my head and saw Jacob sitting at the blood pressure monitoring machine. His left arm stuck was into the arm cuff, his left hand was flailing desperately from the other end. "HELP! I'M STUCK! IT'S SQUISHING ME!" People walked by alarmed. Some just snickered. More than a little embarrassed, I pushed the "Stop" button on the macine and set him free just in time to look back at the cart and see Ryan throwing boxes of condoms off the pharmacy shelf.

Jacob and I rushed to the cart. As I began picking up the boxes, more condoms fell from the sky, landing on my head. Clearly, it was time to leave.

When we got home, I put the baby down for a nap and left Jacob to play with his trains as I began dinner. I attempted to recreate my favorite meal from a restaurant near my work (The Red Papaya in lower Queen Anne). My boss treats us to lunch often for what has affectionately been coined, by him, "micro-bonuses."My favorite dish at this restaurant is Vietnamese steak served atop julienned green papayas. With my julienne chopper, the meal was a cinch to make. And nearly as good as the original! (As close as I'll ever get anyway). It was fantastic. Even Ryan loved the steak!

Not the best picture.
Have you noticed that beef always looks like poop in amateur photography.

After dinner, I let Ryan play in his highchair while I did dishes. He sat in the highchair like it was a throne and proudly threw pear cubes and steak pieces across the floor like a generous king scattering bread loves among beggars. Then he lifted his filthy hands at me as if to say, "wipe me, my minion." I took a step toward him with a baby wipe. PLUNK. A wet pear chunk landed on my chest and slowly slid down my shirt. Ew.

He raised his hands at me once again. I wiped him clean and set him free. As I bent down and picked up the squishy, cat hair-covered leftovers, I had no idea that he was in the next room scattering books and playing cards across the floor. This exciting discovery prompted me to recite my new motto, "same chores, different day." I honestly feel like I clean the same messes, wash the same clothes, and do the same dishes every freaking day. It's like my life is stuck on repeat. The only thing that changes is the date on the calendar.

But as long as I get to relive this smile everyday, I'm totally happy being stuck in a repeating time wormhole.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Curing The Everyday Routine Blues

Last night I worked until 7pm, caught the 7:55pm ferry, and arrived home a little after 9pm. The kids were already asleep, I was feeling particularly lonely, and full of mommy-guilt, and I just simply ached to spend time with them.

I nursed through my bought of sadness by slipping into my bed and tried to distract myself from what seemed like the heavy weight of my working-mommyness with a new book that had arrived in the mail. Perfect timing. I drifted off to sleep at 10:30 (early for me!) with the book in my hand.

When I woke up, the world seemed slightly brighter. I worked from my mom's house which allowed me to spend some extra time in the morning with the kids. The highlight of my morning is always walking into the boys' room to find Ryan standing in his crib, desperately clutching his blankey, just waiting for someone to come in an attend to him. His special bear is usually on the floor having been tossed, in usual Ryan-fashion, from the crib (he likes to throw...everything). Ryan will smile widely through his binky when I walk through the door Then he will look expectantly at my empty hands and bleet in a craggy, baby-lamb voice, "Baah baah?"

"Good morning Baby!" I always shriek excitedly.

Ryan just continues to stare at me. "Baah baah? Baah baah? Baah baah?!" He becomes suddenly offended that I have failed to bring him a warm bottle of milk. I pick him up and march with him into the kitchen to prepare his bottle. He loves to watch as the microwave light goes on and the bottle spins dervishly beneath it.

At this point, Jacob is usually bouncing off the sofa cusions in the living room, moving along to one of his favorite PBS Kids shows. I'll occassionally catch a glimpse of him pumping one fist into the air, his signature dance move. By this point the living room is usually littered with a granola bar wrapper, a sopping wet pullup, and three of four different layers of clothing that Jacob wanted at one point only to discard in exchange for his birthday suit.

These are my mornings on the days I work from home. I absolutely love these mornings.

After I arrived at my mom's house with the kids, I snuck out for a five mile run along the same path that I used to run every summar day in highschool in preparation for the upcoming cross country season. The path smells, looks, and feels the exact same as it did when I was younger. If it weren't for the absence of the family on the corner that I used to babysit for regularly, I could have misled myself into thinking I had momentarily slipped back in time. A time when I felt so positive and optimistic about the fact that I was going to do important things and perhaps even change the world a little. My five mile long daydream ended when I arrived back at my mom's house. I gave the kids another hug and kiss, snuck in a shower, and then began my workday.

When the clock his 5:30pm, I folded up my laptop and, with dread, prepared for the usual evening monotonous routine. I wasn't ready to go home to a housefull of chores to face the task of turning a handful of ingredients into something edible while my tired kids whinned and tugged at my feet. So, I simply didn't. Instead, I whisked the kids on a spontaneous trip to go play putt-putt golf. It was awesome. And it was probably the highlight of the kids' week.

Jacob's grip and stance has improved greatly from our trip last year. Last year, we ended up playing golf-bowling as I let Jacob roll the golf ball down the green. This year, I could barely keep up with him! He did it the big kid way!

Ryan loved walking around with the putter in one hand and the golf ball in the other. At one point he threw the golf ball at the upcoming green and hit another golfer in the ankle (sorry man wearing a kilt!)

Jacob did some super fancy putting stances. His spotlight was quickly snatched away by Ryan's comedic relief. The thief was mid-swipe!

Taking a rest.

By the end of our trip, Ryan had watched me enough times that he actually tried to his own hand at golf. I was nearly rendered speechless by his ability to hold the putter and swipe the ball across the green. Turns out his sports skills are not limited to one sport. 

We ended the trip with some popsicles. Because what's the point of putt-putt golf if you don't enjoy some nice refreshing popsicles in the parking lot?
"Nice baby!" Jacob is not really petting Ryan here. He is actually making sure that he does not fall backward. He was very concerned that Ryan wouldn't stay put.

Love these guys. Also, I love pictures of kids with popsicle. Also, I love popsicles.

Ryan's popsicle fell on the floor right after I took this picture. I picked it up and handed it right back to him. There was only dirt on one side. He's eaten worse things in his short life (*catfood*).

Because we spent all evening at the golf course instead of slaving away in the kitchen, I stopped by our favorite thai spot to pick up dinner. The 1 star chicken curry was too "spicey" for Jacob. Ryan, on the other hand absolutely loved it, potatoes, carrots, and all.