Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deep Breath

A few people asked how Aaron is teaching Cam to deal with his anger. Most people have their own ways of calming themselves down, but Aaron has really worked on it. His father had an insane temper, and Aaron also had it. I say had it because he worked VERY hard on getting it under control. It is very rare for him to blow up now - and if he does - he walks away.

I don't have a temper at all, really. I will get fired up, but turn it into a joke. Or tell myself it's the other's person loss or issue. Or I'll work to fix it. I would say that I get truly angry about once a year. To hear Aaron talk about it, when he was younger it was more like daily or weekly. And for him, its a physical feeling that he had a lot of trouble controlling.

So when Cam starts crying because things aren't going his way (crying is his 'anger' response) Aaron gets down on his level and starts with 'We don't cry unless we are hurt, right?*' and then 'Take a deep breath'. And he talks him through it. We never listen to anything that is said through tears. We rarely yell at a tantruming child (No one is perfect. Sometimes it's the 3rd cry-fest in the past hour and I'm having a bad day and I lose it. But hey. It happens. Mama is human.). We repeat, 'I can't understand you when you are crying' and if they keep it up, they are asked to leave the room.

But usually, Aaron gets them to stop before it turns into a full tantrum. He first tries distraction (this works AWESOME with Maggie). If they keep spiraling, he'll say 'WAIT. Take a breath! Tell me what is wrong!' And I swear, that works 90% of the time. I would always let Aaron do his thing and I figured that it worked because Daddy was just there with him.... but last weekend, I was with both kids and Maggie stole Cam's toy. I happened to be sitting right there, and I heard Cam take a deep breath and say - "Maggie I was playing with that!" and Maggie (who happened to be in a giving mood) said "Otay Cam, here you go". And she gave it back.

So, Aaron's obviously doing something right. I'll keep him.

*Sometimes I want to add that it's ok to cry other times too - like if our feelings are hurt, or if we are sad - but then I remember that Cam is 4. And Aaron is talking about this ANGRY cry. We'll get there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We are having a lot of trouble with Cam and bedtime. It's not HORRIBLE by any stretch of the imagination - but we put him to bed, and then he gets up about 4-5 times over the next hour asking for a hug, or a different toy or that he is hungry or thirsty or needs a snack. I don't do bedtime (I do mornings, and at bedtime, I do the dishes and put away clothes, etc) I'm actually often at swim practice while this is an issue, so Aaron has been dealing with it.

He has been increasingly frustrated with Cam, and he is getting angry almost every night. My personal parenting style (and what I do with the two of them in the morning) is if they are throwing a fit, I ask what the problem is - and if they can't verbalize it, I say I'll be in my room getting ready for the day -come talk to me when you are ready.

If it were me dealing with bedtime, I wouldn't get into a huge discussion about what toys he needs, how hungry he is, or anything else. I would lead him back to bed, and explain that it was time for bed, I love him very much and I will see him in the morning. Works awesome with Maggie. But, when I have tried that with Cam, he cries. And cries and cries and cries and screams that he wants daddy and he NEEDS (insert whatever random thing he is losing his shit about today). And he will keep this up for way longer than a temper tantrum... so it's much more than something you can walk away from until he gets over it.

Aaron can't take this. He distinctly remembers crying himself to sleep at night as a kid because he had this exact same issue growing up. He just wanted something, his parents said no, and he wasn't able to calm himself down. His parents wouldn't help him learn to calm himself down, they would just yell and yell and then get fed up and leave. And Aaron would cry himself to sleep. So Aaron is trying to teach Cam how to deal with the feelings and calm himself down.

But it's SO frustrating.

And. It makes me think back to my childhood. I just don't remember things like Aaron does. My childhood is a weird blur with a few things that stick out in my head, but I don't vividly remember bedtime or anything like that at all. Is that normal? Like I remember going to camp in the summer, but I can't tell stories about it. I swam on a swim team on the YMCA from the age of 8 -18, and I certainly don't remember details except that I went there and swum. A lot.

Anyway, I think Cam is lucky to have a dad like Aaron. Who recognizes exactly what Cam is feeling and is trying to help him work through it. Even though it pisses him off.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday night leftovers

  • This has been a short, yet annoying (again) week. With Cam being sick, the 'co-location' at work (the nice way of saying layoffs) and it being bitterly cold - happy that it's Friday.
  • I started with my Insivalign yesterday, and I can tell you, it's interesting. They feel weird, but you can't see them. And you need to take them out to eat and drink (not water - but anything that would stain like coffee or wine). So - not only will I have straighter teeth, I but I see weight loss in my future. No drive by snacks anymore
  • Aaron turns 40 on Saturday, April 13th. I want to do something awesome, but always tells me his isn't a fan of making a big deal out of his birthday. But, when I have a party for him, he has a blast.
  • This weekend we are taking Cam tubing. I'm super excited. I love tubing, and we have a babysitter for Maggie. The last time I went tubing was maybe ten years ago and I had a BLAST.
I've had this screen up for hours now. Obviously I have nothing exciting to write, so happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Both kids have been sick the past two weeks. Last night, after dinner, Cam had a fever. This morning, nothing. It's crazy, but I'm between assignments at work now, so it's really no big deal to be home with him.

I needed to go pick up my trays this morning for my invisalign ( 'braces') so I took him with me. The orthodontist's office is within sight of my office, and he asked to go see my friends at work before we headed home.

On Tuesday, they made an announcement that about 50% of the people I work with either need to relocate by July 31st, or they will be laid off. It's 6 months notice, which all things considered, is pretty decent. But it's also sad. I'm not included in the group, but pretty much all of my friends are. Some of the people are in that difficult age group (55-60) where not many people would hire them. Others have been with the firm since high school and don't have college degrees. And others are the sole breadwinners. Due to sick kids and my work schedule, I haven't been in the office since this all happened.

And wow. It feels like the whole office is sick. It's depressing. Most people weren't even in. The ones that were seemed beaten down. It sucks. I think that Cam and his cuteness helped bring some smiles, but man. And it isn't like those of us that didn't get the notice this week are spared. I think it's just a matter of time. So I need to start figuring out what I'm going to do.

It's all scary and different and new.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hurrah for long weekends!

We had a wonderful long weekend. My crabby mood was lifted by spending fun time with the gang. Saturday morning, we woke up and went to Cam's swim lesson. He is really loving them, and Aaron was inspired to start swimming laps again. We got the kids home, and I went swimming with my swim team - always a mood lifter. Maggie took a nap, and we finally got an answer to Maggie's crabbiness - she woke up from nap sobbing that her ear hurt.

I love it that my kids are now old enough to tell us what hurts - Maggie told Aaron that her ear hurt, we got her to the doc, ear infection confirmed, Advil given and antibiotics started within hours. And she is done being crabby, which helped me end MY crabbiness.

Sunday, we were able to drop the kids off with our Aunt and Uncle and go see a movie at the Strand Theater. It's a great place, where you can get a burger and beer while you watch a movie. Great date!

Then the Patriots lost the AFC Championship. so that was annoying.

But Monday, Aaron had the great idea to meet up with friends at One Stop Fun - where he had taken the kids to a birthday party. It was a BLAST. And then, after lunch, we took the kids to family swim - Maggie was SO happy to get to take a 'swimming lesson' with mama.

We just had such a great combination of family time and couple time and alone time this weekend - great recovery time.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers

  • Its been an annoying week. My boss was in town for the first time in 18 months, we managed to have a snowstorm that made driving in that day (when I normally don't) a pain and then Maggie got sent home from daycare with a fever. I'm glad it's Friday
  • Part of my annoying week was my yearly 'Healthcare Assesment' at work. They take your blood pressure, height, weight, and cholesterol. My weight is higher than last year, after working out very regularly since May. Which is super annoying. I was feeling VERY good about myself, I've even been feeling like I've lost weight. I've been buying pants a size smaller. And then I weigh more. It's annoying
  • What is even MORE annoying to me is that I get annoyed by my weight.
  • And then MORE annoying is that I got down on myself and wasn't going to go swimming. But I did and I felt much better after. I need to remember that I swim for how it makes me feel NOT for weight loss exclusively.
  • I got home and realized that it was probably PMS that added to both the weight gain and the bad mood. Stupid hormones.
  • Focusing on the good, I committed to swim 200 miles this year with the group #IWouldRun500Miles, and I've already swum 13 miles - which is nice and ahead of schedule.
  • Maggie hasn't really been eating, and has been waking up super early and climbing into bed with me. The first morning she was still sick, but this morning she wasn't. I know I need to nip this in the bud, but I'm tired and crabby so it was easier to just let her in.
Here's hoping the long weekend help alleviate my crabby mood.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday night leftovers

  • Now that my car is paid off and I was looking forward to some extra cash, I end up needing a big repair. I just picked up my car and it drives so much better it's like having a new car. So I'm happy.
  • I decided to join #Iwouldrun500miles. I won't be running, I'll be swimming. And since swimming miles are slower than running miles, I committed to 200 miles by the end of the year. If I swim 2 times a week that gives me 3.5 miles a week, which equals 182 miles by the end of the year. But I've been swimming 3 times a week when I can swing a Saturday workout - last week I swam 5.4 miles. So, assuming I swim three times a week when I'm able to - it should all work out. I'm glad to have a goal that isn't insane, but give me something to work towards.
  • Have I shown you guys the wine sippy cup that I found? It's called Vino2go, and couldn't be a more perfect gift for my girlfriends. We go away for that quilting weekend, and we tend to drink while we sew. There have been more than a few close calls with glasses of wine tipping over on quilts/fabric. I was excited to find this!
  • Aaron has been super awesome the last few weeks. Extra helpful and charming. Enough so that I wonder if his New Years resolution was to be an amazing husband. He was great before, but he is just doing a little awesome things that are making my life better.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I'm always telling our kids these 2 things:
  • We help people if we can
  • We treat people how we want to be treated
And that is how we roll. Aaron is the go-to guy with our friends to help with home repair, we'll drive people to the airport if we can, I'm often dropping off meals for people who are sick or have a newborn. And people have done these things for us - some of the kindness that was done to us after Nora died I can never repay. But I do know how little things people do can sometimes be game changers. And sometimes may be the only nice thing that has happened to people that day (week, month!).

The last couple times I've driven my car long distances, it's had a funny shake/noise. I thought it was maybe the tires, Aaron thought it was the transmission. I finally brought it in to get checked - and damn it if is isn't $2300 worth of repairs that are needed (including new tires) that will take two days. I was stressing out about how I would deal without a car for that time. I called a friend just to whine about the money, and she was like - just take my car! I'm out of town. Perfect.

A few hours later, I was making dinner and realized that I didn't have a main ingredient. I called a couple neighbors and within 5 minutes had what I needed. They were happy to help.

All these people are nice to begin with, so I'm sure that they would have helped otherwise. But it makes me feel that my efforts to help them haven't gone unnoticed. It's a nice warm-fuzzy feeling, and also makes me feel connected to a community. I love living a life where my first thought isn't to pop into my car and go buy a bottle of Worcester sauce when I only need one tablespoon. I think to call a neighbor to see if they can help me out, because I know I would do the same thing if our places were reversed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Deep Breath

Select-a-size paper towels almost made me lose my shit this morning. I usually buy the 'normal' paper towels - but grabbed these select-a-size ones. Aaron was whining about it on Sunday, and I was like dude. Get over it. It's freaking paper towels.

This morning, many things went wrong. There was multiple bodily fluids on different surfaces, none of them my own, and none of them unavoidable. But while cleaning up these messes, I kept pulling off these TINY FUCKING PIECES OF PAPER TOWEL. It's a miracle that I kept my cool, and just dealt with it... but seriously!?

Needless to say, I'm not buying those again.

I don't like talking too much about potty training much on the blog. We take a very laissez-faire attitude to potty training that has worked great so far. When the kids were ready, they told me and stopped using diapers. And it worked. We kept nighttime diapers, because neither kid ever has woken up with a dry diaper, but I just don't stress about it. But this morning has made me question my take on night time potty training. When I asked Cam why he pooped in his diaper (when he hasn't done so in YEARS) he told me, "because I was too tired to get out of bed" (and I want a gold star for not losing my shit when he said that). But, I'd love to hear what worked for you all?

Maggie has this big 'show' she puts on before she goes potty - which involves turning on the bathroom light (which she can't reach, and even in the daytime). When I'm home alone with them, I just keep the damn light on. Aaron can't stand leaving lights on, so when he is home, he'll flip off the bathroom lights off - which then results in a puddle of pee because she left it to the last minute but she was more concerned with turning on the light and moving the stool and getting the potty seat (which is all unnecessary and why I call it the 'show'). This resulted in me somewhat losing it on Aaron (JUST LEAVE THE GOD DAMN LIGHT ON).

So he decided to put in a motion light in the bathroom to appease me - and it's awesome. Maggie walks in the bathroom and says 'Momma! The light turned on!' and happily goes about her business (WIN). But we also have a big closet in that bathroom, where I store our larger pots and less used kitchen appliances. I was walking in yesterday to put away the crock pot, and the light just turns on. Love. It.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday night leftovers

  • I need new TV shows to follow. Let's hear your favorites
  • Coming off a week of vacation on a Wednesday is weird. I can't seem to grasp that today is Friday
  • Tomorrow Cam starts swimming lessons tomorrow. He is super excited, but I don't think he understands that it's a REAL swim class without me in the water with him. I hope he enjoys it as much as he seems to think he is going to enjoy it!
  • I'm joining #IWouldRun500Miles - but I'm doing 330,000 yards of swimming (or 200 miles). I've done 3000/330,000 so far.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I was on pinterest today, and one of the people I followed had pinned a bunch of things that your kids should do by 'x' age. One was skills they should learn, another was at what levels their manners should be, another was age appropriate chores. And I was also reading a blog posting on Free range Kids about a child how had a list on her door of all the things she can do alone (like making her lunch, getting the mail, etc).

I got to thinking about the things that I expect from our kids. They have just turned 3 and 4, and I have the following expectations:
  • Decent table manners (use a napkin, use silverware, clear your dishes when you are done, ask to be excused)
  • Be kind (this is a work in progress with Maggie. If she doesn't get what she wants, she tells the other person that 'you aren't my friend' and screams. I used to just tell her that wasn't nice, but now I feel like she is old enough to learn my life mantra - treat others like you would like to be treated. We are getting there.*)
  • Say please and thank you.
  • Help care for the family pet (Cam give Henry his dinner at night and lets him out in the morning)
  • Dress yourself in the morning
  • Undress yourself at bedtime
  • Say excuse me when others are talking
  • Try new things (foods, activities)
And then there are the skills that I think they should have:
  • Swimming (Cam is starting REAL swim lessons on Saturday. Mommy will not be in the pool!)
  • Riding a bike (both kids mastered it with training wheels, I think this is the year we work with Cam on taking those off).
  • Cooking - Maggie makes a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich
My goal is to have kids that are self-sufficient in things that make sense and are age approriate. I see the pride in Maggie's face when she gets herself dressed 100% on her own. And Cam loves helping with Henry. Many nights, Maggie insists on helping with dinner. I love it all. Is it slower? Yes. But I know that they have a great sense of accomplishment when they can do things themselves. And when they help each other, that's taking it to a whole other level for me. An issue in our house is the fact that Maggie can't reach the light switches. Aaron is constantly turning lights off - so if Maggie has to go to the bathroom, the light is usually off. Maggie will yell for help, and I used to be the one running to help, but now I usually hear Cam say 'I'll help you Maggie!'. Too cute and a perfect example of what I'm striving for. Kids that help themselves, but also help others.

* Does anyone else with 2 (or more) kids find themselves babying the youngest? I used to have big discussions with Cam about why we do (or don't do things) and with Maggie I tend to just say 'DON'T DO THAT'. I'm trying to be better, but I'll often realize that I think she is too young to understand. But she isn't. At 3 she knows that she doesn't like to be yelled at - so she shouldn't yell others, right!?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year

About 2 weeks ago, I said on facebook - "It's a sad commentary on my life that my goal is to make it through December without a death or hospitalization in my immediate family". The month of December has been crap for me the past 5 years - I had a miscarriage (and a D&C), found out my father-in-law is basically a vegetable, had my daughter die, had my father die, and last year, Maggie and I almost rang in the New Year with her in the hospital with her breathing issues.

And I did meet that goal. We've had a pretty wonderful year. A nice, calm year with no huge issues and lots of fun times. I ended the year by taking the week off and relaxing. Christmas was great, the kids had a blast, we hung out with friends and family and I got a couple days to myself to knit and watch TV. Pretty much a perfect week.

Looking forward to next year, I do have a few goals. I want to get back into blog reading and commenting. I stopped doing a lot of blog commenting because blogs are blocked at my work - and I would do a lot of blog reading at lunch. Which is silly. I still read, but just haven't been commenting. So I joined Dresden in her 'connected' list and and going to work to read AND COMMENT much more than I have been.

My other goals are all in keeping with what I've already been up to:
  • Just this morning, I signed up for the next session of masters swimming. This has been a great addition to my life since the summer. I love the way I feel after I swim, the people are great and it's a perfect time for me to stick with it (it's 8-9:30 at night two times a week and Saturday afternoons right after lunch, no excuses!)
  • I want to read all the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books.
  • I want to knit/sew/craft more
  • Going out on a limb with a new role at work
That's it. Nothing life changing (maybe a little with the new job), as I think my life is going great. What about you? Big plans for the new year? Join me and Dresden in the blog list!