Thursday, March 28, 2013

Early Leftovers

  • Pretty much 80% of my comments are spam now. Help?!
  • I'm taking the day off work tomorrow and spending it with my mom prepping for Easter weekend.
  • Although I've been sick for over 2 weeks (lost my voice a week ago, and it still sounds funny) and finally went to the doc yesterday. She gave my antibiotics, so I'll try to lay low tomorrow is hopes of a faster recovery.
  • Tonight I'm hosting a joint Lia Sophia and 31 Gifts party. If anyone is into that stuff, let me know and I can send you the link to order - I know the Lia Sophia deal is buy two things, get the next 4 50% off, and the lowest cost things count for the first 2! Which is how I got roped into buying stuff in the first place.
  • Yesterday, I was trying to do some cleaning to get ready for all the guests coming in the next few days and the septic backed up. Which meant we couldn't run water until it was resolved (which was pretty quickly and without anything leaving the drains, if you know what I mean)
  • I also managed this week to totally clean up the guest room, so my mom has a nice room to stay in.
  • But god save her if she opens the closet, lol.
  • I'm trying desperately to knit up a sweater for Maggie for Easter. She has an adorable sleeveless dress which isn't conducive to the snow in the front yard. I'm actually close to finishing it.
  • Tomorrow I'm planning on sending the kids to school with and Easter Egg lunch - plastic eggs filled with their lunch. I'm perhaps a bit too excited about it.
  • Every single person that my children love is visiting this weekend (except the beloved Suzanne). I haven't told them because it will blow their minds - but my mom, Aaron's mom, our best friend with his family, and most of their friends will be here either for a meal and/or our big Easter Egg hunt on Sunday.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 25, 2013


About a week ago, my very good friend Suzanne asked if we'd all be interested in going to a Vermont Maple Open House weekend that was happening near her Dad's house. She thought the kids would love it, and as her Dad was out of town, there would be plenty of beds for us to sleep in. I told her no pretty quickly, as I had my big, end of season swim meet then. I jokingly added at the end - if you want, though, you could always just take the kids!

She jumped at that idea (which in hindsight, I knew she would).

Now, individually, we have spent time away from the kids. I've gone on trips alone with my girlfriends, I went to India, I take the kids with me while Aaron stays home to work... we aren't so bad that we've never been separated from them. But, the two of us together have spent a total of 2 nights away from the kids. Once when Maggie and Nora were born (but then Aaron went home to be with Cam) and once Suzanne stayed with them while we went to a hotel in Boston (last year). But NEVER have we had someone drive away and take our kids somewhere else... so this was a big deal. I wasn't even sure Aaron would say yes, but he did.

The reason Suzanne and I are such great friends is because we are very similar. She knew to give me a run-down of exactly what she'd be doing with the kids, so I was able to first get them excited about the idea of a sleepover (Cam thought it was a great idea from the start... so long as he got to bring a SLEEPING BAG! Maggie took a few more days). Then I gave them a list of all the fun things they would do. I went to the grocery store and got about $20 of favorite treats, and sent them on their way.

It was a huge success, even though it's so cold that the sap hadn't started running yet - so really nothing that exciting at the Sugar Houses. They played in the snow, did crafts, played with Suzanne's nephew's toys.... and just were kids. Maggie had a bit of a cough, so had trouble sleeping. She ended up in bed with poor Suzanne all night, but from all reports they had a great time. And they were very sad to see Suzanne go on Sunday, which I take as a great sign. They are already talking about the next sleepover!

We both try very hard to be sure that Cam and Maggie are comfortable with people other than us. I want the kids to have more adults in their life than just their parents to go to when they are older to ask questions to and to depend on - and have fun with. And I know that this is something that doesn't happen overnight, so we foster it now. Our best friends are very high on the list with both kids, along with grandparents and Aaron's aunt and uncle who live in our town.

But I have to say, I think it was a great thing for Aaron and I. We haven't had a relaxed, 'only for us' time in over 4 years. I went to my swim meet in the morning, and Aaron worked on his uncle's farm - helping to put up a greenhouse. I was able to hang out and talk to my teammates and even got onto a relay because I had nothing to rush home to. Aaron and I went to the movies and then a late dinner, as we had no babysitters to rush home to. As we were driving home, we started talking. It was NICE to not be rushed and not have responsibilities to run home to - but at the same time, it was strange. The next morning, it was nice to sleep in, but I missed be woken up by someone jumping on me and yelling "MAMA! It's a stay-at-home DAY!".

Having a break from the day-to-day insanity that is our life was awesome. But makes you realize how much you DO love the insanity, and how I wouldn't change it for anything.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Times they are a changin'

On Wednesday, a day when I was already feeling overwhelmed and annoyed, a 2 sentence email came out saying that we would no longer to be able to work at home. It was actually forwarded to me by my manager from his manager with no discussion and the tag 'FYI'.

To say it was upsetting is an understatement. First - awesome communication, huh? Even Yahoo, who has been in the news about this for months now, is giving employees until June 1st to adjust to the change. I've been working from home for at least one day a week for over 8 years. It's a HUGE change for me. I've based many of my childcare decisions on the ability to work from home, and my big exciting July summer plan is dependant on it. All the talk around the office of my location being shut down? I wasn't all that concerned, because my manager had floated an option for me to work from home mostly, and drive to NJ office once a month for a few days. That is obviously no longer an option.

After the inital shock and panic (and dealing with the people that report to me freaking out) I took a deep breath. Yes. It sucks. But I still have a job. And fortunately, I don't have a bad commute. What this truly means is that we, as a family, need to be more organized. We can't let the kids destroy the living room Sunday and go to bed without picking it up. Mommy won't be home on Monday to organize everything while on conference calls. Dishes can't wait until the morning. We will have to stay on top of laundry instead of letting it pile up and having me push through 8 loads throughout the day. Dinner will need to be thought about the day before, not 3 hours before. And gone are the days when I stay in bed for an extra 30 minutes because all I have to do is pull on a pair of yoga pants.

This also puts the writing on the wall about where my job is headed. I need to really start dealing with getting my resume in order and networking. And decide which direction I want to go in - IT Manager? QA manager? Project Manager? I can go in really any direction, as I have done multiple roles here in the 13 years that I've been with the company - but which did I really like? And of course, what type of firm do I want to work for? I've worked for HUGE public companies, smaller private companies and a start up with less that 100 people. Each one has it's attractiveness - but it's all a process and a lot of work.

And I've totally been in denial that I need to do SOMETHING. This week was the wake up call. Time to dust off the resume and get it going. Blech.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Annoyed Extrovert

I'm an extrovert. 100%. I'm the one that invites ALL the kids to my children's birthday party and initiates play dates. I start book clubs and craft nights. I plan block parties. I get people together for Mom's night out. We have an Easter Bunny costume and invite the kids of the street to have an Easter egg hunt. I take the kids to music men, town parties, and when we walk around the block, it takes an hour because we stop and say hi to everyone.

I like people to like me. I enjoy being around people. I like to see people having fun and smiling. So I put a lot of pressure on myself to help as many people as I can. If someone needs help, I always say yes. Not because I have to, but because I like to. For a while after Nora's death, I couldn't help anyone. I could barely help myself and I leaned on friends a lot. It was a sign of things getting back to normal when I could get back to having my little parties, bringing people meals or babysitting in a pinch. I like to help people if I can. Aaron is exactly the same way. We have a truck, which some people think is a 'curse' because people are always asking for help moving big things - but Aaron enjoys being able to lend a hand.

Are their some people that take advantage of our good nature? Yes, for sure. In general, I don't let it worry me.

This last week, I've been out of sorts. I've been getting push back on some block party planning, a bit of stress in the fact that I have a bad feeling there will be snow on the ground for Easter (and therefore what to do about the Easter egg hunt!?), and just general bullshit (both personal and work related). And I've gotten a wicked cold, which has wiped me out and made me lose my voice. So I'm sure a lot of my annoyance is related to being tired and sick and probably some PMS mixed in.

Sitting at dinner last night, I told Aaron about the big pile of shit that is going around in my head, and I said - I just wish I didn't care. And he said 'How is that going for you!?' Because he knows that I will always care. And honestly, I don't want to not care. It's who I am. I'm trusting and gullible and fun loving. And even when people tell me to just let it go, in the back of my mind, it'll always be there. But right now, I wish I could just say fuck it and walk away.

But I won't.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wasted Energy

Have you ever thought back on a time in your life and thought 'wow, I wasted a lot of energy {insert negative emotion (worrying, stressing out, being angry) here} on that'? My life has been a mix of wonderful and tragic things, and loads of things in the middle.

Way back, when I very first graduated college, I attended a seminar about time management and how to move through your day in the most productive way. They gave all the common advice, showed you their idea of the best 'planners' to use, and all that jazz. But the one thing I pulled from that class was this statement - Don't waste energy worrying about things you can't change. I don't even remember the context of the statement - it was probably just one of the ways that you organized your to-do list (when you can't check off something because you are waiting for input from someone else), but it really struck me.

Don't worry about things you can't change.

This is not to say I'm totally Zen all the time. I still get very fired up about some things - like Mel has written about many times, we have a range of emotions for a reason. We can't/shouldn't always be happy - it doesn't make sense! But. After the initial wave of emotion hits, I think - what can I do about this? Is it something I can change? Can I impact the outcome? Or maybe it's someones perception of something, and as perception is reality.... do I want to fight to change that? Would it even work? And if it's something that is out of my hands, I try to let it go.

I think it's a mix of time and life experience, but the most clear example I have of this is from when I traveled to the West coast with Maggie when she was about 4 months old. The woman giving me a ride took a wrong turn on the way to the airport. In my early twenties? I would have freaked out and panicked about missing my plane. But when my friend realized what she did, she started apologizing and freaking out - I said - can you do anything to fix it? And she said, no (her wrong turn made us miss a ferry). I told her not to worry about it and just get me there when she could. If I make my plane, I make it. If I don't? There will be other planes.

This was after years of worrying about getting pregnant, miscarriages (that I couldn't prevent), and wanting a natural childbirth (that didn't happen), breastfeeding (when my milk never came in), the right time to change from a bottle to sippy cup, how I was going to deal with twins and a one year old, the right time to change from a crib to a big boy bed, researching the right sunscreen and the right daycare and the right car seat and..... you get the idea. Some of these things? Totally worth the effort. Others? I have absolutely ZERO control over. And now that I'm removed from the stress of the time - I wish I hadn't put so much energy into it.

I wish I could figure out a way to tell that to my teenage nieces or friends with tiny babies. Don't sweat it. Worry about what MATTERS. But, in the moment, it's so hard to get that perspective.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Super Random

I have a bunch of small stories to tell - this is more than leftovers, but a lot of random. Enjoy!

  • I'm a bit of a clothes hoarder. I'm one of the last in my group of friends to have kids, so I get a lot of handmedowns. But I also will see a bag of used clothes for sale for $10, and will grab it and store it for whenever my kids hit that size. Maggie has just had a little growth spurt, and so I decided to change over her clothes to 4T. Well. It's ridiculous. There are 60 dresses. In the past, I've just stuffed all the clothes in her dresser - but it's so much, and she honestly ends up only wearing 10-20 of each thing, that this time I'm picking out the things I really like, and getting rid of the rest. I've thankfully got lots of people to share with - a girl friend with twins just 6 month younger than Maggie, and another neighbor that has a girl Maggie's size. But I'm not doing this again! Just sorting it all out is madness. And while I was at it - I got rid of all of Cam's 4T stuff - 4 big garbage bags of clothes for one kid. Including FOUR winter jackets. Four. WTF. But it's nice to purge and clean.
  • Maggie is all of a sudden very against peeing in her diaper overnight. Which is the opposite from Cam, who still doesn't understand why Aaron and I don't wear diapers to bed (What do you do if you have to pee when you are in bed, Mama? I get up and use the potty. Oh. Maybe I should work on that. Yes, yes you should.)  She has been waking up with a dry diaper many mornings. Last week she woke up sobbing and Aaron ran in to see what was wrong - "Daddy! I peed in my diaper!". Aaron came back in the bedroom and was like - what the heck was that about!? She was still upset about it in the morning. Last night, I was just about to go to bed at 10:30, and I hear Maggie yelling for me and crying. I go in, and she tells me she has to pee. So I tell her, well, let's go potty! I took her to the bathroom, she peed, and went right back to bed. I'm wondering if I should get her up right before I turn off the light to pee and stop with the diapers? Has anyone else had a kid crying because they didn't want to pee in their diaper?
  • I'm often cracking up at the things my kids say - we are mostly past the stage where they pronounce things differently (my favorites: Cam would say 'fuckernail' for fingernail, and Maggie still often will say 'orsange' or orange) - but man do they make me smile.
    • This morning, I was explaining to Cam about the fog we were seeing on the way to school. We ended up with a HUGE amount of snow this weekend. The forecast was for 5-8 inches, and we ended up with 24. We had a BLAST playing in the snow and making snow forts and sledding this weekend, but this week, the temperatures are in the 50s, so the snow is quickly melting - and the warm air and snow cause fog in the mornings. I thought that the kids would be sad to see the snow go - but Cam informed me that he didn't like winter. When I asked why, he said "Because you have to wear too many clothes". And Maggie chimes in and says "The snow is TOO high". Which is true - we haven't had a lot snowstorms this year, but we when it has snowed, it's been huge amounts. Oftentimes the snow is higher than Maggie, and she is NOT a fan.
    • Both kids, when given a piece of clothing that they LOVE will say "I want to wear this forever and ever."
    • Last night, we were playing with a fun reusable sticker book (which I totally recommend - the kids played quietly with this for an hour last night, and the stickers really seem to be sturdy and restickable). Cam was playing with dinosaurs, and he was telling me the names - "This is a T-rex, this is a pterodactyl, this is a brontosaurus, this is a fly-a-saur, this is a water-a-saur..."
    • Then - when he was playing with the ocean one, he kept putting the little fishes in the 'reef' so they were safe from the bigger fishes. Love it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers

  • We are getting almost 18 inches of snow right now. They were predicting 5-8, so this is pretty cool.
  • Thankfully, daycare is still open (only a 3 mile drive), so I was able to bring the kids to daycare, and now I'm working from home in front of a nice fire.
  • Last week, we had a babysitter come so we could go see Identify Theft (it's official. I love Melissa McCarthy). It was the first time that we had someone put the kids to bed for us (besides Suzanne), and Aaron was pretty nervous about it. Since they go to bed pretty early, we've always just had the babysitters come at 7, and we've headed out after bedtime. It was a huge success. They loved the babysitter, and were both asleep by 8 PM. As I left, I told her I was fine with it if I came home and the kids were still awake (I feel like a babysitters job is just to make sure the kids are safe) but that she should try to get them to bed by 8. And - they LOVED having her over.
  • The sad news is that she is moving away once the summer comes.
  • Jen had a really great post this week about where we spend our parenting 'energy'. I loved the post, and there were lots of interesting comments. Made me think about where we spend our energy - our financial energy is mostly in education, and the personal energy is really on experiences.
  • It also made me think about all the things I used to think about all the time, and how interesting it is that they just aren't that important to me anymore - I think that's a post for another day.
  • I've been half-heartedly looking for a booster seat for Cam. He is close to 50 pounds and 45 inches tall, and we actually already have a booster seat in Aaron's truck - because we rarely take long trips in it. But I want to keep him in a five point harness as long as possible, and when he does get a booster - I want it to have a headrest so he can still take naps on long car rides. And I found this. It. Is. Epic. A Batman carseat, that is rated for up to 100 pounds. It arrives tomorrow and he is going to flip.
  • I've got both kids signed up for t-ball! Cam is doing a Saturday class with all his daycare buddies, and Maggie is doing one with her friends during the week. And here is where I'm thankful for my great circle of friends. It would be a really tough squeeze time wise to get Maggie to t-ball. It's from 5-6 PM, but it's about a 20 minute drive from daycare. And it's on a day that I usually work in the office. So I'd need to leave the office at 4 PM to make it in time. But my girlfriend is going to run and grab Maggie and take her there, and Aaron will meet them there. And here begins carpools.
  • I did some freezer cooking this week of a few family favorites - and I did the math wrong. My goal was to make 2, three serving meals of the same meals. I ended up making 4, three servings meals... so we'll be eating things like skillet mac and cheese until the end of days.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Daydreaming of summer

It's getting to that point in the winter where I turn to thoughts of summer and vacations. With Aaron's work, it's hard to do too much for vacations - as he only gets 3 weeks total time off a year (including sick time). And he also isn't big on vacations away from home, because while we are away from home, he keeps thinking of things he could be fixing around our house and doesn't relax. Which makes me tense and unable to relax. So - it's up to me to think about things like trips and vacations... and figure out which ones he'll come with us on and which ones he won't.

And I don't think the kids are really ready for BIG vacations yet. We aren't huge Disney fans, but I plan on taking them there twice - once when they are little enough to enjoy the 'magic' and then again when they are big enough for all the roller coasters. I feel like if we went now, it would be fun, but they are too young for it to be a real memory.

My plan is to do this year the same as what we did last year - a few short trips to visit friends and family, and then little day trips around Boston. The change I'm planning this year is to reduce the kids' daycare for the month of July down from 5 days a week to 3 days a week (big cost savings), and make solid plans that month. I started to look into all the different options, and WOW. I'm a little nervous for when I have to make real summer plan when the kids are in school! There are a million different camp options and the costs vary wildly! But - so far, here are my plans:
  • We'll go to Nantucket for the 4th of July
  • I'll take the kids to visit my friends in Maine for a long weekend
  • I'll take the kids to the cabin - they can hang out with Grandma while I work.
  • Maggie will go to Pony Camp! There is a nearby camp where kids from 3-5 years old spend 3 hours a day for a week doing all sorts of horse things.
  • Cam will go to our local town camp the same week Maggie is in Pony Camp- I'm sure he will love it!
  • Get a pass for the local beach.
  • Go to a few minor league baseball games.
I've got a few other ideas up my sleeve, but that is the high level plan for the summer. Little shots of excitement here and there - nothing major. I was thinking of possibly taking Cam on a little camping trip, but I'm not sure on that one. I'm not a great camper to begin with (I love my bed a bit too much) - and I wonder if he is old enough. Still deciding on that one.

What about you? Daydreaming of summer yet?