Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • This has been a great week. Nothing mind blowing, just a great week.
  • Aaron ordered me an iPad. I'm tracking it across the world - and I have to admit I'm pretty excited. Ever since the iPad came out (Aaron got one the second they were released), I kept saying I didn't need one, we could use the money on other things.... but Aaron said that at some point, I deserve things I WANT and don't NEED. And now I don't WANT to wait until it's expected delivery date of June 6th.
  • Have I mentioned I love this guy?
  • I got a partial foil on Wednesday, and now my hair is bright blond and that makes me happy
  • Maggie came with me and got her first 'haircut' (it was barely a trim) and she was NOT a fan. Of course, afterwards she ran around telling everyone that she got a haircut and proudly showing it off, but whatever. Toddlers are weird.
  • We are still having a blast riding our bikes around. Any day the weather is decent, we ride and pick the kids up from daycare (which they both LOVE) and I've been taken my bike to work and going for a ride down the local bike path at lunch. So nice.
  • This year is our local ice cream stand's 75 anniversary. They are celebrating by having local bands come and play. Last night was the local 'music man' Mister Vic. So, we went after dinner, had and ice cream and enjoyed the fun. I love summer.
  • We don't have big plans for the long weekend - but I have been working on fairy houses. We have a small strip of woods between our house and the neighbors, and we are putting in a little path - as the kids are always running through the woods to say hi, and end up tripping on a rock or stick or whatever. When Aaron and I were out looking for the path placement, I realized that it would be the perfect place to do some little fairy houses.... and then I got obsessed and starting looking around the Internet and Pinterest. Now I have this whole vision of a shade garden with little fairy houses and tiny fairy swings and benches. 
  • I'm sure I'm more excited than the kids are. I've wanted a 'secret garden' for a while, so as I've been seeing the fun ideas for fairy gardens, it's making me think that this will be a perfect combo. Fun place for the kids, and a little (not so) secret garden for mommy.
  • This may be lame, but I'm super excited that So You Think You Can Dance has started up again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I love this guy.

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. I could wax poetic about my love for him, but instead, here are a few picture from my phone. They all make me smile, just like he does, every day.

 How could you not smile at a man trying to rationalize with a fairy princess?
 Happy couple after our overnight in the city...
 Aaron always gets lots of help when he goes to Lowes.
 And I'm sure it's really a HUGE help to have the kids on the tractor with him.
Eight years. It's a weird combination of feeling like we just met yesterday, and feeling like I've known him my whole life. Happy Anniversary, hot stuff!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why blog?

When I started blogging, it was over 8 years ago, and it was a different blog. It was a blog about knitting. Knitting was my 'thing'. I knit all my socks, sweaters, mittens, EVERYTHING. Any time I was sitting still, I was knitting. I always had knitting in my bag in case I got stuck somewhere, and I made a lot of my very best friends through knitting. I was reading knitting blogs and thought - what a great way to keep track of my projects. And that is why I started blogging - for a journal of my knitting projects.

Then I started to have fertility issues. I started reading IF blogs. And then I started my own, mostly to vent about my anger with the whole situation. Then it became more, much more. I made more wonderful friends here. You supported me in my ups and downs. You cheered me on in my pregnancies. You welcomed Cam with a big vitrual hug. You talked me through breast feeding issues, you freaked out with me when I found out I was pregnant again. And then when we found out about the twins.... jesus did I need you all.

And Nora. What would I have done without my blog friends then?

Now, like I've been saying, life is good. Damn good. Sure, I still have my moments (I was sobbing in church on Sunday when they played a song that was played at Nora's Memorial service). But I feel like this blog is me telling cute stories and posting pictures of my gang. And I've been feeling like the blog has maybe gotten lame. Then I circle back to why I started blogging to begin with. As a journal. About once a month, I find myself paging through old entries. Seeing Cam as a little baby. Looking at my HUGE belly when I was pregnant with the twins. Reading about my excitement when I found out Cam had a heartbeat... or when I found out the twins were girls. I need this blog. I'm sorry if it's getting boring now - but personally, I'm glad that my life is a little boring. It's perfect.

Oh, and I'm still knitting. Whenever I'm sitting still. But that isn't as much today as it was 8 years ago. And I love that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • I tried to change the look of my blog and now it sucks. I don't have the space in my brain to fix it.
  • I emailed Dresden about it, but she's got a few other things going on right now (fingers crossed!)
  • Last night we have 7 kids under the age of five over for a midweek picnic/.play date. I was tired just watching them run around. But it was a lot of fun. It's hard as a working mom to do play dates - and this has been working out great for us. About once a week I meet up with friends on the street and the kids play, the parents have cocktails. Its a great way to get friendships going with the neighborhood kids - because they all go to different preschools, but will be going to elementary school together soon enough.
  • Today is the Trike-a-thon at the kids school. They did this last year and it was the cutest thing ever. I'm looking forward to starting my weekend with cuteness.
  • Tomorrow is our local town's Children's Festival - 5 bounce houses and free hot dogs and popcorn. We are THERE.
  • Sunday is the members only night for the Museum of Science. The aquarium members only night was such a hit that we are totally going. 
  • I have a massage tonight, and Aaron scheduled me for one for our anniversary on Tuesday (8 years). Two massages in one week is hard, but someone has to do it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I never learn

I've been riding my new bike every day since I got it. I love it. I feel better, I sleep better.... I'm sure if I went through my archives I would see a bunch of posts just like this. Every time I get back into exercising, I feel better. Every. Single. Time.

But every time, I end up stopping. And I ever know exactly WHY. Besides the fact that it's a big effort to find the time to work out between wanting to spend time with the kids and working full time... I used to be hard core. I swim the mile in college, I did an Ironman triathlon in 2003. When I work out, it was always for a purpose. And I just don't have the time (or desire) to do racing anymore. I just want to be healthy and enjoy doing stuff outside with my kids. And to me, that isn't true exercise as I define it.

Well. Time for that to change. A 7 miles bike ride? It's a hell of a lot more than a ZERO mile bike ride! Last night, we rode our bikes to daycare and picked up the kids. They were SO excited! And that is my inspiration. Having fun with the gang. With the side benefit of feeling better (both mentally and physically).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day weekend

I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. It wasn't too much different than any other weekend in terms of being nice to Momma - things here are always a good balance. Aaron is a great, supportive, husband - and my kids are in general awesome. But as I mentioned - I did get to pick up my bike this weekend! And man did we have fun.
 Maggie LOVED being on the back - but we knew that after the Nantucket trip last year. It's a huge difference from my fast road bike from the olden days, but I'm getting used to it and loving pedaling around town. I was more nervous about Cam's situation - he is too big for a toddler seat - but the ride behind looked SO big on the back of Aaron's bike.
 We went for a little test ride, and Cam loved it. It was the cutest thing you've ever seen. When Aaron would pedal, Cam would pedal. When Aaron would coast, Cam would coast. And a huge smile on his face the whole time. We went for a nice long ride both days. I look forward to riding much more!

We also planted flowers near Nora's tree - and Cam asked a lot more questions about Nora. But mostly to Aaron (while I was out riding my bike). As time passes, it's easier to talk about it. I didn't even think about it when we bought these on Saturday that we would be planting them on Mother's Day weekend. In past years, that would have been too much for me. But this year, it was fine.
Two happy, healthy children planting flowers. Can't ask for more.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

Wow. This week was a quick one.

  • My bike is in! I'm super excited to pick it up tomorrow. I have visions of riding everywhere around town.
  • I've decided to name her (the bike) Mabel. I even got a matching helmet.
  • Help. I'm becoming a freak about the bike thing.
  • Cam has been having issues making it to the potty in time after nap at school. So I told him for every day he doesn't have an accident, he would get a dinosaur. I got these pretty big (like 6 inches tall) plastic dinos from Micheal's dollar aisle. I got about 8. Every day since I started this, no issues. So now I'm trying to wean him off with tiny dinosaurs (they come in a tube). He got the first one of those after school yesterday, and he wouldn't let the damn thing go. He slept with it, woke up with it this morning, and it was in his pocket when we got to school.
  • Remember how awful Maggie was a few weeks ago? That is totally over. And she is all of a sudden grown out of all her clothes. Is this the way things always go? You deal with 'crazy baby' for a while before a growth spurt? I thought that was just for little babies. 
  • Cam heard Aaron and I talking about the Avenger movie, and he wanted to see it. We explained that it was a movie for grown ups. But I found the series Iron Man: Armored Adventures. He freaking loves it. It's a pretty big change from Micky Mouse Clubhouse!
  • We have a nice low key weekend planned. With lots of bike riding. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Free Range

I grew up almost neglected when it came to supervised play. I was essentially an only child (my brother is 12 years old than me). My mom raised me alone, ran her own business and is somewhat OCD about housework. If I wanted to play outside, I would just go outside. We happened to live across the street from the town park - so I was often running across the street to play there. When I was old enough to swim (I'm guessing 8?) my mom would even let me go to the town pool by myself. I would spend the entire morning at the pool, come home for lunch, and then run back until dinner time.

I was on the town swim team, and the YMCA was about 3 miles from our house. I know for sure that by the age of 10, I was riding my bike alone to town for swim practice. And definitely was riding my bike to school in 5th grade (you are 9 in 5th grade, right?). I know that I walked a few houses away to wait for the school bus once I hit 1st grade, and my mom definitely didn't stand outside and wait for the bus with me.

If I remember right, this wasn't FORCED on me. I wanted to. I wanted the independence of riding to town. I wanted to go and explore the park alone. I don't know if it made my mom cringe to watch her daughter ride away (I always had a helmet, she insisted on that) but she let me. And when we were at the cabin? My fondest memories are of going to the local pond (through the woods! It was LAME to get there via the roads or trails) and capture frogs or spend hours redirecting the streams.

I know that is how I want my kids to be. Confidant enough to ride their bikes to a friends house. Know the area well enough to play in the woods for the whole day. When I found the Free-range parenting blog, I was like AMEN, sister. And as my kids get older, I see the challenges that face us now. Every single mom is waiting with the kids for the bus (we have two stops on my street, about 5 kids per stop, and there are at least 3 parents at each stop too). I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure the bus isn't allowed to drop you off if there isn't an adult waiting for you. We live about 3 miles from the local school, and I don't think the thought of riding their bikes to school has every entered our neighbor's minds.

We have a pretty good posse of kids Cam and Maggie's age on the street, and as parents we all are like-minded. I really hope that in a few years Cam pops off the bus and yells that he is riding over to his pal's house to play and like I used to, but who knows. So many kids are playing multiple sports that every day after school they are in some organized activity or another - or the kids are inside playing video games or watching TV and homework. I really hope that my kids at least get a taste of the independence that I had growing up.

For us, there is also the side note of knowing that your child can die. That nagging fear in the back of your mind that if I don't watch them every second I may lose them. My therapist said that all parents have that fear, but as the percentages are just so low, most deal with it by not thinking about it. Because seriously, we would be paralyzed by fear otherwise, right? So sometimes, when Maggie is careening down our driveway on her scooter, it takes everything I have not to scoop her up and hold her and say BE CAREFUL! But I cheer her on and say go Maggie go! And pray that all is well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A bunch of leftovers

First - lots of great comments on my Balance post. Brandy asked how to even get started finding balance, and I think you just get to a point where you realize you NEED to. I had a very rich personal life before kids - an advantage of infertility, of sorts. I had children later in life (33 when Cam was born) so I had been in my career for over ten years, had a circle of friends I cultivated and spent time with, had hobbies, did triathlons, and was able to do a lot of things with Aaron as a wife BEFORE being a mother.... so I know what makes me personally happy. The kids? They are huge, happy addition to my balance, but I know that I'm missing out on other things that feed my soul. So I'm getting them back in as I can. But it's a work in progress for sure.

And yes. Free range parenting. That is how I grew up and I'm all for it. But that is for another post.

The leftovers from last week:

  • Friday Aaron and I took the day off of work together to help a friend pack up her family home. We did that for the whole morning and then in the afternoon, when and saw Avengers. AWESOME MOVIE.
  • I went out and got myself a bike. It's a plain old, go out and ride, bike. I had a bracket mounted so Maggie can ride on the back in a Rhode Gear seat (which she loves). And Aaron pulled out his bike (which is in good shape) and attached a pull behind bike for Cam. We are all excited to go for family bike rides! Aaron may even ride with me to daycare with the kids some days.
  • We needed to do some garage re-arranging to store the bikes, which resulted a bit of a purging of our storage area. I found the china that I was given by my stepmother... I wish I had pulled it out sooner. I sorted through and was able to cobble together a full set of 8 non-chipped place-settings. It makes me happy to have it to use.
  • On Saturday we went to a Kentucky derby party and I may have had one (or 3) too many Mint Juleps. I never tried one before, and I liked them a bit too much, I think. 
  • Sunday, I had planned to help my friend with more packing - so I had childcare all lined up. Cam had his first 'drop off' play date and he did great. Helped that is was with his very best friend, but hey. And Suzanne came over and played one on one with Maggie. I was just about to leave to help, when she called and told me she didn't need help. All children happy and content and NOT with me? I went shopping. ALONE. On. The. Weekend.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Seems like people are always talking about how to achieve 'balance'. Balancing work and home. Balancing being a mother with being a wife. Balancing caring for your children and maintaining friendships. Balancing the demands of home with the need to look after your health. 

Does anyone REALLY have this figured out? Something is ALWAYS going to 'win', right?And you are always going to feel guilty for NOT doing the other. It's a bitch of a situation. And honestly, I think these things have gotten worse. Kids are rarely outside without parents. Many parents forgo the bus and pick kids up at school (often to drive to super expensive extra curricular activities). So sure - the kids may be getting well rounded and being tended too - but what about the PARENTS? It seems to me that gone are the days that kids would play outside while mom got things done. Children are never alone - which means that parents are doing the 'work' they need to do when the kids are sleeping - leaving the parents no time for themselves. I remember that (after I did my huge list of chores and homework) I would go do something ALONE while my mom cooked or cleaned or whatever. She would leave me home alone while she went to meetings or whatever for the committees she was on.

Now, while I don't think I want to raise my kids exactly as I was (I think my mom missed out on having FUN with me) I am trying to find my version of balance. Like I said in an earlier post - we are finally getting our shit together. Having the ability to help a friend pack up her house to move. Having a mini-dinner party in the middle of the week with friends (take out sushi, but after baby bedtime). I made a fun tee-shirt quilt for my cousin who is about to graduate from high school. We are working at keeping the house in order so it's restful to sit instead of constantly looking at things that need to be dealt with. Organizing freezer meals. Bringing meals to a friend whose son just had open heart surgery. 

Do I still feel like I should be doing more? Yes. I really want to find a reasonable way to motivate and work out more (perhaps that is this month's goal). I would love to be able to sit and really relax with Aaron and talk like we did in the 'olden days' (before we were interrupted every 3 seconds with a toddler request or are just too freaking tired to stay up late talking - and other things - in bed). But I'm starting to feel like we have much more balance in our lives. Instead of needing help from everyone, we are able to help others. Instead of depending on services like Dream Dinners, I'm doing it myself (at about maybe double the work, but a 1/4 of the price). Instead of spending 10 minutes in my closet trying to find a shirt, it's all nice and organized and I'm dressed in 5 minutes. 

What about you all? Do you have a good balance?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Random Cute Stuff

We had a great weekend in Maine. I'm SO glad I got past the whole "am a loser for going on a church retreat' and just go - because this place is so special and beautiful... and this year was the best. Cam and Maggie think that my mom is the BEST (this is a very recent development) so I was able to relax and enjoy myself too! This is our 4th year going and I've got it all figured out (what to bring, when you arrive, how to set up the room). Just a really fun time.

 I'm going to lead with the highlight of the trip (for me). They put together an impromptu bell choir and Cam totally wanted to do it. So he and my mom did it. Sweetest. Thing. Ever. This is a video of them during the morning service:

The beach there is wonderful and Maggie just had more fun than you can imagine playing in the sand. The weather was sunny but COLD. Actually it was good because no one was tempted to run into the water.
I didn't bring a kite (I have in years past) but Cam borrowed one from another family and had a BLAST flying it. I don't know if you can see the huge smile on his face in this picture, but it's there.
And the final picture is of Maggie last night. We were going to a neighbor's house for dinner, and Aaron got beer to bring. Maggie was super excited to put it in her 'trunk'.