Saturday, May 30, 2015

31

I always thought I was the kind of person who doesn't want anything for my birthday and who would actually prefer there not be a big deal about it. And then this year it happened. And I realized that this is exactly NOT true.

Today is my birthday. And after waking up with Jon three times in the middle of the night, I arose (way too early) to a hungry baby in my bed and two hungry, fighting children in the living room. And no husband. I buzzed about the house like a tornado, feeding children, dressing children, sending children to timeout (multiple times), yelling at children, getting children ready for T-ball, and somehow finding time to dress myself, however poorly (yoga pants, Seahawks hat, yuk).

My husband eventually came home. Apparently he had gone to the gym (gee, how NICE for him to have that luxury). And we ran out the door for Jacob's last Tball game. My husband and I took turns chasing Ryan and entertaining Jon during the game then we all rushed back home, dirty, starving, and tired.

My husband made himself lunch and leisurely ate it at the table. Apparently, he had forgotten that FOUR other people in the house also eat. I tried to keep my deathly dagger stares to myself while I did a load of dirty T-ball clothes, unpacked the diaper bag, put Jon down for a nap, and prepared lunch for two hungry boys. The boys tried to refuse what I had made them. What the hell? It was 2 pm and I hadn't even had a moment to feed MYSELF all day. I hadn't had a single bite to eat. AND IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!

After lunch, my husband went outside to do chores. Great. It was just me versus the three boys. I took them for a long walk to a fountain park,where I managed their tantrums and their fights. Ryan had a complete meltdown when he saw the fountains. Um DUH. What did he expect to find at a FOUNTAIN PARK. Apparently, sometime between last fall and today he developed a deathly fear of fountains. OK....

Then we stopped for ice cream. Except I had the AUDACITY to take a bite of Ryan's cone. He literally melted to the floor and cried the entire time in the ice cream parlor and the remainder of our bike ride back home.

After a long, drawn out bedtime process, I put the kids to bed. Now I'm sitting on the couch while my husband sits and stares at his computer screen. No card. No cake. No birthday dinner. No little note.

HAPPY. EFFING. BIRTHDAY.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I'm Best Supporting Actress

Sometimes I feel like a supporting character in my own life which, for the last several years, has been in the complete control of mini tyrants. But it's ok I guess, because I kinda love them. If I had to guess as to who the star is right now, it would be Jon. It's probably bad to say that, but he has us all in a trance. It's really hard to ignore this little guy:


Especially when he's full of smiles, which is basically all the time. In the middle of the night he'll stir and wake up, which causes me to wake up (he sleeps between my husband and me). My first instinct is to be PISSED that 17.5 pounds of baby is all that is coming between me and a much needed full night of sleep. But then I look over at Jon and he catches my gaze and (just when I'm about to be full of exhausted rage), he gives me this giant, mischievous beam of a smile. Basically he's communicating the fact that he knows he's a pill but that he knows he can get away with it because he's so darn, freaking cute. At my own frustration, my anger dissipates into thin air and I immediately start grinning back at him.



I just can't say no to this ball of adorable human flesh! And he's growing up way too fast for my heart to accept. He has two bottom teeth (has had them for quite a while actually), and he's rolling all over the house. And he's SO close to crawling. For fun, he gets up onto his knees or all fours or his hands and toes and rocks violently back and forth. He can also scoot himself backward at warp speed. He just hasn't figured out how to propel himself forward yet. And for that I am very thankful (I say this as I eye the large tub of small Lego pieces at the other end of the room).

My Jon Bear doing his pushups


He's a mover and a shaker, literally.


More pushups. Hey Jon, you're making it harder than it has to be!



Because so much of my focus is on Jon (being an infant he still needs me for pretty much all things), less focus is being sent Ryan's way. And I feel absolutely terrible about that. Despite the fact that he is three and very stubborn and particular and capable on many levels, he is still really little. When you stop and think about it, being three years old is pretty much like being a newborn relative to the average adult male life span of 70+ years, right? Unfortunately, I'm only reminded of his babyness when he gets hurt or upset and crumbles into a mess of tears. As his face erupts into a storm of emotion, I can see the little baby in him once again. I feel bad for always trying to hurry him or rush him or getting angry when he's unwilling to do something on his own (it's hit or miss as to whether he will use the potty without one of us assisting him even though we KNOW he can do it by himself).


He's still recovering from his recent ousting from former position as baby of the family. I get it. I totally do. But still....I only have so many hands. Usually, with Ryan, it comes down me having a choice as to whether I will act in a manner that is efficient/convenient or ultra-nurturing. And this choice usually occurs at the end of the day when I'm already exhausted. Efficiency wins almost every time. I just hope he and I are both not being robbed of HIS remaining babyhood as I also try to revel in Jon's.

Ryan often crawls into our room early in the morning. My wake up call very commonly looks something like this:


So, wise internet, I have a question. How am I supposed to absorb and appreciate every second of the precious, passing years for each of my children? How?! I can't even remember what I wore yesterday! How can I thoroughly enjoy them when most days they are physical and emotional energy leeches that I can't wait to send off to bed? Also, why isn't sleep at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? If someone could please invent a brain computer where I can download and relive all these precious memories at my leisure, I would totally appreciate that.

I was mulling over these concerns yesterday after dinner when Jacob ran up to me and asked, out of the blue, if we could go to the pool. Tonight? Psssh, it was already 7:30pm. My practical mommy control board was already preparing its practical mommy response of, "OF COURSE NOT!" when I stopped to think about it a little bit more. Seriously? Why not? It wouldn't be the end of the world for the kids to go to bed half an hour late. Someday I may look back and give anything to have enjoyed more impromptu adventures with my children. Moms don't ALWAYS have to be practical. Moms don't always have to say "no."

And that's how I ended up waist deep in pool water at 8:30pm with a splash-happy infant, a screaming three year old who refused to use the scary locker room potty, and a six year old who refused to get out of the pool. But you know what? Despite the insanity....I really didn't regret it one bit. The look of pure, uncontained joy on their faces when I whisked the kids off to the car for a very special and unexpected pool trip was priceless and worth all the sanity and the years of my life that I may have lost.

While there were no special pool trips this evening, we did celebrate Jacob's last T-ball practice today. To cap off the practices we played T-ball, parents (and Ryans) versus children. It was so fun to watch the dads get into the game and to hear the kids whoop and holler whenever they struck an adult out (yes, it happened!). I even hit the ball a couple times. And after my own experience, I'm less inclined to judge when one of the kids misses an easy pitch during game time (yipes! It's harder than it looks!).

Kids v. Parents (and Ryans)!


We got home, rounded up the dirty and cranky kids for dinner, yelled at them for not sitting and eating, put them straight in the tub for a wash, washed the clothes that Ryan peed in when he refused to go to the bathroom for no reason whatsoever, went through the numerous rigorous steps necessary to put three children to bed. Only then did we stop and breath and take a moment to realize that OMG, it's our anniversary! "Happy Anniversary! Now excuse me while I pack the diaper bag for tomorrow, make several sets of lunches, and finish drafting a motion that's due tomorrow!"

And this is just further proof that I am simply a supporting character in my own life.

Our nightly routine frequently involves trying to feed a bouncing baby who is constantly trying to undress himsel


And a chapter or two of Harry Potter before bedtime.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Alls Well That Ends With A Backyard Pizza Picnic

I'm staying off Facebook because tonight is the series finale of Mad Men. And I can't watch it until tomorrow night. And I fully expect Facebook to be full of maddening spoilers or vague references (like "OMG! I can't believe what happened to Don!") that will make me want to punch a hole in a wall. Mad Men has been my favorite TV splurge for the past 7 years. I love to analyze the sh*t out of that show. After each episode I have intense dialogues with myself about the meaning of every single scene and the progressive or regressive development of each character. I need to know the ultimate fate of Don because I have been trying to predict and anticipate it for the last seven years. But I also don't want to know. Because then I will not be able to anticipate it anymore. Sadness. (Also, I will always be team Don/Betty- forever!)

So, this is also why I have no real friends. I'm too busy being involved in the lives of people who do not actually exist. Damn. Now you all know. Hmph.

Also, speaking of entertainment, I purchased Hozier's album (you probably heard his single "Take Me To Church"). It is fantastic. I know music is very relative to time, place, circumstance, and person. But man, this album is rocking my world right now. And this is coming from someone who has never really been into music. I mean, I listen to it of course and I have preferences. But unless I'm commuting, I actually prefer no music to music most of the time. I tend to like it for working out, but it's not a deal breaker.

In junior high and high school, the first thing someone would ask a person they were meeting for the first time was always "what type of music do you listen to?" I hated this question with a passion and would just shrug. I just don't really listen to music unless someone else has it on. I appreciate good music and there are some songs that really move me and can bring my freak out on a dance floor (including an abundance of shallow pop songs). But it's not really my THING and I don't like people trying to define me by music. Anyway....all that to say that Hozier has really found a place in the soul of a generally music-less soul. The music is soulful and catchy and the lyrics are artful and unpredictable.

I just wrapped up a crazy week at work. My case that went to trial had two post-trial motions pending, one filed by us and the other filed by our opposition. Last week was the deadline for the responsive and reply briefings. Altogether, I drafted and filed over 50 pages. My brain hurt. A lot. (Sidenote: an opposing lawyer has been very rude and unprofessional to us throughout this case, especially in post-trial motions, and he just asked met to connect with him on LinkedIn...the nerve!!!).

To rest my brain, I went shopping. And I discovered these amazing dresses. Dresses are hit or miss with me. Most dresses cling or drape in the wrong places. And I prefer structured material to flowy/loose material (see cling problem above). But this dress was so awesome that I bought it in TWO colors! I still can't figure out the best color to wear with the orange dress. Probably a navy blue cardigan (...because I live in the PNW. You just can't ever leave the house without a cardigan on hand. They should really make hooded cardigans, that would cover all my PNW weather issues).

A little short for my personal taste in the office...but I'm totally bending my own rules for casual Friday. 



Saturday was pretty much all tee-ball all day. We had a 9 am game 45 minutes away. Then the kids had a car wash event later int he evening. I will be a little bit happy when tee-ball is over. Jacob asked if he could sign up for Pee Wee Football...but one of the moms warned me it can be up to five days a week (hell to the never).

During Jacob's game, Ryan entertained me by bringing me flowers and caterpillars. He made a "home" for the caterpillar on his special blanket and picked some grass for caterpillar food. I saw him wrap his arms lovingly around the caterpillar home and whisper softly, "I love you caterpillar." I asked him what the caterpillar's name was and he told me it was "Jacob."

Hey there thumb!


Loving on Caterpillar Jacob


Later in the day, I actually meal planned and then grocery shopped accordingly! I usually do all this in a last ditch organizational effort Sunday night. My meal plan rules are pretty easy: I only meal plan dinner, I have to cook enough each dinner for at least one left over dinner, and I get extra points if veggie side dishes last almost all week (my kids are not big on side dishes). For all you ladies who prepare new dishes each weeknight, I bow down to you. I guess I'm lucky that my family has no problem with leftovers. So.... tomorrow/Tuesday will be pierogies (which I spent an hour hand making today!) and flank steak with brussel sprout salad. On Wednesday/Thursday, we will have cedar plank salmon with dinner rolls and brussel sprout salad. Friday will be grilled chicken and gnocchi in Pioneer Woman's tomato cream sauce. And now, I'm hungry.

This morning, I overheard this amusing conversation between Ryan and Jacob:

Ryan: "No one talk. Only I can talk. Because I'm a person."
Jacob: "I'm a person too."
Ryan: "No you're not. You're Jacob."
Jacob: "I'm Jacob AND a person."
Ryan: "No, only I'M a person."

Ok then...no point arguing with a three year old.

I found this piece of Jacob art. Super boy v. Bad Guy Woman. Bad Guy Woman is riding a broomstick. I wonder if that is supposed to represent me?


Today was pretty rough. Let's just say Hallmark would not want to make a movie out of our day today. My older kids would not stop fighting. Grabbing toys away, hitting on each other, name calling, refusing to share, only wanting what the other one had. Ugh. It was constant! I screamed... a lot. When they fight, I can't even send them to different rooms or banish them to a play room. Because of our lovely tiny house, we are up in each other's business every second of the day. On top of this, Jon was fussy all day- I think he's getting another cold.

I was Jon's chew toy today.


But you know what? Maybe Hallmark WOULD want to make a movie out of this day because...we ended it with a family pizza picnic in our backyard and a spontaneous session of baseball practice. Everyone was at least half way clothed. And Ryan only got pounded in the stomach by the ball one time. Jacob only farted halfway through our picnic and Jon only spit up on my shorts once, resulting in a pooling of curdled/regurgitated milk up my legs and into my panties. Yes. It was very pleasant. Don't wear shorts near a spit-happy baby.


Ryan: "I don't always picnic, but when I do, I'm a roman emperor.


When the kids miss a catch, my husband makes them do push ups. Tee ball is serious business.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Revelations At Thirty

I spent nine hours working this weekend, and you know what? I don't even mind. Because life is so freaking good right now. So freaking good. No, I didn't win the lottery. My student loans or massive medical bills haven't magically been forgiven. I didn't buy a new car or a new house. I didn't lose the extra pounds that are driving me crazy. Nope.

But my life right now is split between two wonderful worlds: a job that I absolutely love and people that mean everything to me. When things are uncomfortable or difficult, I hate to even complain. Because I have everything.

Thing 1


Thing 2


Thing 3



I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I let things that don't matter get me down. I get frustrated and sad by the size and deficiencies of my house. I'm jealous of the people who own big, new vehicles (one or the other would be great!). One glance at Facebook and I see all the things I wish I had in the lives of other people. I tell myself that THINGS don't matter, people do. But sometimes I say this with a mental asterisk (*But it would really be great if ___). 

More and more, though, I'm accepting this mantra. THINGS don't matter. People do. No asterisk. I feel more grounded. I feel more secure (in all senses of the word). I make less apologies for myself. When the world is my backyard- waiting to be discovered, conquered, explored, or enjoyed- I don't have to worry about what I posses. In the end, we all freaking die. Even that mom with the perfect beach wave hair and fancy BMW. 

Hiking/Biking with my crew in the bigness of nature


Time passes for everyone. It does not discriminate. I'm going to love my life and myself while it is here. Because the alternative- not being here or not loving being here, is simply not that pleasant. And you guys, I don't even have to sweet talk myself into believing this anymore. I've accepted it. I think this is the great revelation of being 30. I finally accept all those things I've been telling myself that I've accepted. 

There was T-ball this weekend. They actually look like a real team.


Ryan can't wait to play. For now, dad will do.


Nautical Jon!


So, this weekend, this wonderful, sunny, busy, noisy, tranquil, child-filled weekend. It was excellent. I'm so charged up on love right now that I could probably go five days without chocolate (but why would anyone do that?). And how I feel can't even be traced back to any possessions. Unless of course you count the plastic plate with my phone number on it that Jacob gave me for Mother's Day.

What Mother doesn't dream of getting a plate with her phone number on it? Number blurred out to protect the innocent (or just me).


It came with this Mother's Day card that also included my full name and phone number (blurred out).

It looks just like me!


Speaking of Mother's Day, today I met up with my sister and my mom for manicures. Out of a spirit of adventure, I chose this bright color. It's kind of growing on me. I'm going to enjoy it before it chips away in the soapy waters of my dish-filled sink.


I never wear nail polish. When the boys saw my nails they looked completely shocked. Like I had an extra head. Jacob looked puzzled and kept asking, "why would you do that?!" Then Ryan kept looking at them and exclaiming, "what IS this?!"

They were so enthralled and then they asked if they could have some. Why not? We had a manicure party on our front steps. They were so thrilled and insisted on a different color for each nail. I love this time right now. Before they are unduly pressured by the expectations of society. If they want to paint their nails, who am I to tell them no? I told Jacob that if the kids at his school don't like his nails, he should ignore them. I told him it took me thirty years to realize that other people's opinions are kind of lame.


As the sun was setting softly and the kids were running around our yard playing with bubbles, I sat Jon in my lap, leaned back into the wood chairs my husband built, and just soaked it all in. The fresh air, the smell of freshly cut grass, the feel of my comfy yoga pants, the laughter of half naked children, the happy bubbling of my baby. It was the perfect moment. I was so happy that tears were welling up. 


And then this picture perfect moment was broken by the sound of Jon chocking violently on a blade of grass he had picked and shoved into his mouth, and the warm gush of an entire container of "Garden Vegetables" that oozed sloppily out of his mouth and all over my hands. That's so life. Perfect one moment, messy the next. I couldn't help but laugh. And snap a picture, of course.


And now I have to leave you with this awesome drawing I found in Jacob's homework folder:


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Post De San Diego!

So...San Diego happened! Last week my husband went to San Diego for a work conference. I got to leave all three kids with Grandma (Saint Grandma) and fly down to join him for two nights after his conference ended.

There is only one way to describe a trip (however short it may be) involving hot weather, sandy beaches, uninterrupted nights of sleep, a margarita, and no children. That way would be this: pure and utter heaven. This was only the second trip I have ever taken with just my husband in the seven years we have been married (never had a honey moon). What the heck have we been holding out for? The two nights and three days we spent in San Diego were almost magical. Not only because of the warm weather and the sandy beaches....but because sometimes I forget just how amazing my husband is.

He's smart, and funny, and handsome, and insanely responsible. People don't often think of responsible as one of the "sexy" qualities that they look for in their Prince Charming. Let me tell you...it's probable THE sexiest quality. My husband has his retirement all planned out. He knows how to build a wall. He regularly caulks the bathroom tiles. He can pick the ripest cantelope in the produce aisle. He double checks that every door and window is locked up before we leave the house. Plus, I really like being able to just show up on vacation and rely on him to have planned out all the logistical stuff like: how to take public transportation, where the nearest grocery store is, and creating a painstakingly researched mental list of all the must see tourist destinations. I seriously love this guy.


Oh, and he's also kind of fun to hang out with.

On day two, we rented a car and drove up to La Jolla beach. Make sure you learn how to pronounce it the right way so you don't end up sounding like an idiot like me. I was amazed at how little traffic there was. I guess I was expecting it to be like Los Angeles (California + sun + destination).

We stopped at Mission beach and Pacific Beach on the ride back to the hotel. Gorgeous! All of our beach walking and downtown walking that second day added up to 9 miles! We had to scarf down a lot of tacos to keep up our energy.



On our last day, our flight didn't leave until 8 p.m. so we took advantage of our few remaining hours to do more exploring. We rented some of the public street bikes and rode to Balboa park, which was about a mile from our hotel. Balboa park is amazing. It's full of fun street vendors, museums, and stuff for tourists to do. 


Dr. Seuss tree


Museum of Man


Biking San Diego was seriously one of my favorite parts of the trip. I need to bike more. Biking is awesome. Even when you are doing it in boat shoes.


Downtown San Diego was kind of unimpressive during the day time (night life is fun). It pretty much just reeks of homeless people urine. But the San Diego waterfront was magnificent.


I make my husband take weird pictures of me. I don't know why he puts up with me.


Is it bad that I didn't miss my kids once? I mean, I kept thinking of them and how much they would enjoy our trip but...I wasn't exactly in a rush to return home. 

When we did arrive home, we were greeted by three handsome, wild boys who seemed to grow a crazy amount in the short time that we were gone.

This little boy is six months old and is almost ready to crawl! He also has two brand new teeth.


Must. Reach. Ball.


He is also the next pushup champion of the Pacific Northwest


My handsome little big guy!


All my babies! Stop growing! STOP.


Ryan loves Jon Jon. The love is not always reciprocated. "Look mom, he's standing!"


Apparently, Jon didn't get the memo that he is Jake and Ryan's pet.