Thursday, May 30, 2013

Night time reflection . . .

As I bask in the quiet, my blood pressure drops slowly and the weight of the day presses down upon my shoulders.

One of those days where the highs were so high and the lows were very low.  Precious children that in one moment can enchant you and in the next make you want to walk out the door. 

I know one day I will miss not being able to complete a sentence, have a phone conversation, use the bathroom by myself, leave the room without a, "MoooOOooom!" calling me to pick up a piece of dropped fuzz or other banal task.  I know one day I'll miss that Ethan wants to be THISCLOSE to me at all times.  I will miss the fact that Toby begs to eat whatever I'm eating or drinking.  But today I had a hard time appreciating all the "littleness" of things.  When your 3 year old finally digs into that secret bag of fun stuff for Grammie's camp and opens something you've told him for 4 straight days not to open but waits until you are upstairs trying to put an overtired 11 month old down for a nap . . . you lose your patience big time, I promise. 

Children are so resilient, but their little rubber bands will lose elasticity after a while.

I think, for me, it is feeling like I never get a break.  (break out the violin) After I put the kids down and I'm fighting sleep, KNOWING that I still have to clean the kitchen, fold that last load of laundry and take a shower . . . that is not a break folks.  Oh you may say, that is what you get for having kids!  Okay, you can go over THERE and not read my blog anymore *shoo shoo*  I don't regret having my boys.  I love being their mother.  It is just some days I really, really, REALLY want to be Jennifer too.  I miss her. 

So . . . now for something completely different and exponentially more awesome than me whining.

I love how Toby plays "drop the bunny" when I come to fetch him after a nap.  He waits, bunny in hand, until I open the door then he throws it dramatically to the ground.  Like, "I'm done with this!  Boom *drops bunny*."   As silly mommies do, I turn it into a game and any fussiness soon melts away.  I love the faces he makes when he is eating.  He is so animated.  I love how enthralled he is with Ethan and how much of a daddy's boy he can be.  I love how he still needs me for milk and that is something only we can share.  I love his little feet.  Soon enough they will turn into stinky toddler feet but right now they are precious beyond words.  I love his hair.  No picture will ever do his hair justice.  Today it was humid and the CURLS OH THE CURLS!  It was glorious.  My precious baby Toby . . . one month away from a year.  *sniffs*

I love how Ethan tells the most amazing stories.  He also explains normal things to me as well but in an amazing way.  I also love (secretly) how he mimics some things I say.  Like when he is trying to express a preference and he says, "See, the thing is, that I want to watch a movie down here!"  Totally came from me.  And I heard him say the other day to Toby that he didn't appreciate Toby taking his toy.  Totally came from me.  Any big noisy exasperated sigh.  Totally came from me.  I love how Ethan loves to play outside.  He grabs his fishing pole to practice his casting into the grass and hunts for snakes and bugs.  He has his bucket and magnifying glass and he just goes.  I lose sight of him every 5 - 10 minutes and have to call him back into my sight but he is just so content outside.  I love how he likes to hang out with Wilhemina (dog) and tell her stories.  I have a video of one of their "conversations" but you will have to do with a picture :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Since we've moved here, it was my goal to get out and about as much as possible.  Ethan has thoroughly enjoyed this goal of mine.

Although this last month I've tapered my outings drastically due to gas prices, we still got out and about quite a bit.

I also got more Mommy Time then ever this month with Matt watching the kids for a few hours here and there - YAY!

Some things we did the last few months:

We hit the library for a cool Lego day - which Toby also thoroughly enjoyed.

Although we missed Dairy Day at Shelburne Farms (boooo-hissss) we DID go to Kid's Day on the 11th.  It was pretty awesome.  I don't get any pictures, the wrangling needs were pretty high that day.  But Ethan scored a pretty awesome(ly cheap) bubble gun and a spider man ice cream.  We also got a lot of ECHO time (   It is a bit pricey for admission, but they have a lot of great conservation programs.  We got to see baby soft shell turtles and listen to frog songs.  Ethan only had 3 - 4 moments of um, attitude but that is pretty average.

We've done a LOT of park playing!

This happened!!
P.S.  I bought him a smaller helmet.  Guess his head wasn't as big as I thought it was!!

Also . . . we had fun at Big Truck Day . . . but that will be in another post!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Deep Breath

Had a good portion of Matt's family together today and it was pretty awesome.  Loud, but awesome.  Okay . . . most of the "loud" was coming directly from the 3 1/2 year old . . . *sigh*  He loves to be around family, he is such a social creature.  But man does his personality magnify tenfold!  It is really hard to get him to "come down" after a visit with family. 

How do you find that balance between teaching your child acceptable social parameters and stifling their character?  Ethan gets very bossy and sassy at times and I admit that some of it is pretty humorous.  Some times I can tell he is saying sassy things for effect.  If I laugh too much is he going to think he is getting the upper hand?  Is it even about that?  There are days when I feel so confident as a parent.  Days where I don't yell, I take deep breaths and I try to not over explain.  I say things like, "See?  Mommy is being polite and using nice words." and he responds with a similar attitude.  Then there are the days that I'm holding onto that pipe like Helen Hunt in Twister praying that strap will hold and I won't get sucked up into the tornado. 

I feel like Toby is changing before my eyes.  I'm at that stage where my job with him (nursing and comforting) is fading into the distance.  I'm trumped by anything and every one else.  The only time he reaches for me now is when he is super hungry.  I miss him clinging to me and holding my arms tight like a lil' monkey when I carry him around.  Now he is lunging out of my arms at the nearest person/thing.

This is the time that I should practice the whole live in the moment, hands-free parenting, no distractions (oh you get the picture) parenting.  I read all these inspirational things about other moms really having eye opening moments.  Connecting with their kids and rockin' out as a mom/wife.  Why do I still feel like I'm in survival mode?  What am I missing?  Am I just going to feel like this forever?  That I'm hanging onto the tail of a peregrine falcon diving straight for the ground?  Or is this how I feel RIGHTNOW and I'm having a hard time clearing the fog? 

Why is it so taboo with moms to tell it like it is?  Are we supposed to smile and tell everyone that our children are the light of our lives (well, that part is true) and we are all just perfect?

My personality is such that if I tell the truth about how things are going I've been told it sounds distinctly like complaining.  I find this hard to parse out since I don't see it as complaining.  If a family member calls me on the phone and asks me how I'm doing and I answer honestly then I'm complaining?  Why can't I just say that things are hard that day?  I'm trying NOT to be a negative person but if I just say, "Oh we are all peachy!" I feel I'm doing myself a disservice since my family IS my support system.  If they don't hear the truth then who will?   

These ramblings . . . aforementioned struggles . . . need to be shared.  It is cathartic for them to be typed out - black & white.  If I don't get them OUT they will fester.  I'm not a miserable person nor am I miserable.  I love my boys with every single fiber of my being, but I do worry I'm not a good enough mom to raise them properly.  It is a great change to become a mom, even if that is all you've ever dreamed of becoming.  It took me a long time to reach the point where I wanted to jump on this bandwagon.  And I'm damned happy to be here.  But the sky isn't always clear.  There are cloudy days and thunderstorms.  I just think every mom has the right to share the truth about parenting.  Our children might be amazing creations but they challenge us in ways that are indescribable. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I'm not really very feminine.  But I think I can say that I do secretly LIKE to be feminine.  I mean, who doesn't like feeling pretty?

But here, down in the trenches with two young'ns my needs are always last.  Like, pretty much below the dogs and cats most of the time.  Now, now, I KNOW this will change in a few years when the kids are a bit more independent and such but right now I look like crap.  I feel like crap and I dress like crap.

I was never a fashionista by any stretch mind you, but I didn't think I dressed too poorly prior to kids.  (Did I?)

Anyway, for the first time in a long time today I got my toenails painted.  (Don't all faint at once.)

When first broached with the invite of a pedicure I waffled.  Eh, too girly, eh, touching my feet, eh . . . *grumbles*  But then, I mentally kicked myself and said SURE.  And this happened: 
Cute huh?  I really, really like them!  Something girly that I like!!  Then, something else happened.  The trio of women I was tagging along with made me buy *drum roll* DRESSES.  TWO OF THEM!  They all assured me that they looked cute on me.  I had my doubts, but maybe with nice hair, nice shoes, etc they will elevate to cute status. 

So, despite MOAR flooding and circumnavigation, the trip out and about with my lovely in-law sisters/niece was so incredibly awesome.  I had a great time, even though we were shopping.

Ethanism:  Ethan has taken to mimicking me (boy howdy do I need to watch what I say!)  So today, we were in the basement and I was trying to entice him upstairs because it was cold and I was tired (cue violin.)  He looked at me with a straight face and said, "The thing is, mom, that I want to watch a movie down here.  That is what I want."  I; however, could NOT keep a straight face.  He is too funny sometimes . . .
Tobyism:  This evening I drew him a nice warm bath and that lil' water baby was so happy he couldn't contain it.  Kicking the whole time (as he normally does) he added arm swimming motions in with it.  I floated him on his belly and he "chased" his little ball in the tub, giggling the whole time. 
Profound Moment: Realizing that I really, really do not like seeing myself in a mirror.
Web Discoveries:  Another mommyblog that shines light on something so simple yet so incredibly important to your children.  I could take a lesson from her.  I really try . . .

Friday, May 24, 2013

Here comes the rain . . . . now stop.

I remember last week.  Rumblings of, "We need rain!"  The crops!  The crops!  Well, look folks . . . you wished too hard.  The crops are gone, the fields are flooded, the roads washed out . . . well you get the picture.

Also, I really thought my kids were heavy sleepers.  Granted they have fans and sleep machines (white noise thingies) in their rooms.  But BOY HOWDY, that power went out and within two shakes of a lamb's tail they were both awake and screaming.  It was epic.  E P I C.

Also, also, I was hot and very tired and resembled something from a nightmare (attitude on par with appearance.)

The power was out for 5 hours.  The kids awake for 3 of those.  The next day I was a zombie and ordered Matt to purchase AC units PUH-LEEEEZE.

Then we realized yesterday our phones had been out.  At least *triumphant music* we have internetz!  Ah, glorious cable!  How I love thee.

So, washed out roads, flooding, etc.  Had to circumnavigate today north to go south.  Added about 45minutes to our normal 15min jaunt then I realized I probably shouldn't go home because it was still raining and what if I got stranded at home?  How would Ethan get home?!

Thankfully I have a most awesome sister-in-law in town whose roads were not flooded or washed out and she graciously let me "crash her pad" while I killed the 4 hours until I could pick up Ethan Wee from school.

Oh, not mentioned yet (because I just started this thing,) but Ethan had a very tough week behaviorally.  His behavior was in keeping with a group of boys he "hangs" with and I'm pretty sure they feed off one another.  That said, it isn't acceptable to hit, punch or push regardless of how much fun you are having at school.  Today, he did AWESOME.  So, he got a reward in the car (A COOKIE WOOTZ) and a movie when he got home.  Finding Nemo (thank gawd it wasn't Bolt.)

Ethanism:  The fact that this kid knows how to play the Quiet Game without me ever explaining it and he is GOOD at it.  Also, he usually falls asleep while playing it in the car (DOUBLE SCORE!)
Tobyism:  He has had an admittedly tough past couple of days.  My easy baby is super fuss.  He produced some . . .  interesting diapers today that make me think I fed him something vile (which I didn't think I did) or I ate something funky (also a mystery.)  But he did let me hold and cuddle him for approximately 6 minutes today and those moments were glorious.
Profound Moment: Knowing that if that man guarding your road with the big ROAD CLOSED sign doesn't let you pass because you live 3 minutes down that road right there sir you will go all momma bear on him because you have two precious children in the car that want to be home (maybe I wanted to make myself another coffee too . . . but really it was the kids.)
Web Discoveries: (I struggled with this one because really I've only visited Facebook today!)  But here is a photo on Pinterest that I really liked :D 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

No Apologies

I make no apologies for the way I raise my children.  Please don't mistake that statement for aggression or misguided confidence.  

I am not perfect but I like to think I'm more informed than the average bear.  I'm a big fan of research.  I might research until I'm blue in the face, try something and find out years later that it wasn't the right path (I'm totally NOT referencing Ethan's eating habits . . . nooooo.)  But at least I'm not swallowing and regurgitating common rhetoric on the matter. 

While I might nod and make assenting noises to well meaning (insert person here) who is giving advice, in the end I'm still the mom.  It isn't like I don't LISTEN to advice or stories, because after all I'd be an eejit not want to hear different stories/methods but by now I'd like to think I know what sort of works with my kids.  I mean, it isn't like I spend all the time with them or anything. 

I will be the first to give a general shout out when I'm stumped.  Platitudes are as useless to me as tits on a bull.  Stop it!  Also the "humorous negative" comments can go hide in hole as well.  The "oh you think it is bad now . . ." comments?  How is that even remotely helpful?

And how on this green earth did the myth of Terrible Twos persist?!  Threes TRUMP twos any day! 

For me it is the knowledge that I'm literally help to shape my child's perception of the social dance that is vastly overwhelming.  Right, wrong, ginormous ass gray area . . . I mean, society is a frickin' mine field.  You are bound to offend someone no matter what you say (I've probably already done it in some manner in this very post!)

The easy ones:  no biting, hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, pinching, farting on your brother's head, being mean to animals.
The hard ones:  Everything else.  Making a very LOUD comment in the store that is either personal or referencing someone rightthere.  Another hard one is how to act when around other family members.  Okay, so you can do THIS with (insert family member) but NOT at home because we don't do that here.


I think, in the end, it is important to me that my children know that I'm a human being with faults and emotions.  My job is not to be their friend, I am their MOM.  If I become their friend, if I earn their trust and become someone they can lean on for support then BONUS. Who doesn't want their children to like them?  I know shaping a toddler is hard, but I'm sure to be knocked off my feet when presented with much more difficult moral situations later on.  I'm aware it gets harder, different, more challenging in different ways.  But it doesn't matter.  It is my job. 

You will learn to say please, thank you, pardon me and cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.  You will learn that mommy prefers hugs and kisses over shoves and shouts.  You will learn to respect your family/teachers/whomever is the boss (not you) and be polite.  You will learn that those things sticking out of the side of your head are for listening.   And that annoying buzz in your ear?  That is your mom, telling you things because she has been there, done that, and wants to spare you a little of the hurt.  But don't worry, I'll let you fall too - in a more controlled way if I can help it - because that is part of learning too. 

Some days I think being a parent is hard, but I remind myself that being a toddler can be EVEN HARDER than I can imagine or remember.  Having to learn the social dance from scratch, all over again, it is daunting as well.  If I get frustrated and yell at him for something, how would I feel if the roles were reversed?  How many parents think of the fact that they need to respect their children as well as the other way around?  Hang in there kids, life is a wild ride.    

Ethan, my 3 1/2 year old.  How are you so smart?  Your vocabulary and deductive reasoning are astounding.  You are amazing.  You are my cuddler, my kisser, my hugger, my snuggler and I vow to NEVER turn away a hug or a kiss.  You love books, dinosaurs, sea life, wild life, bugs, and hanging out with your "brudder."  You don't like getting your hair wet, lady bugs, cheese (are you EVEN my child?!) and your ears are sometimes non-functioning appendages.   You are a great exploring partner if we can get you to stop massacring all the bugs with big sticks. 

Toby, my (almost) 11 month old.  How did you get so big?  You are quick to laugh, a lover of all foods and are beyond smitten with your brother and the cats.  You show joy as quickly as frustration and are amazingly strong and nimble of body.  Let's hope when the day comes that we tackle potty training you just DECIDE to do it and surely it will be accomplished within the hour.  You don't like to cuddle, are a bit rowdy with most things but your inquisitiveness nature is infectious.  You don't mind water on your face, LOVE the bathtub and are a great traveler.  You are calm and easy when you are fed and rested, a tornado of fuss when otherwise.  I think as long as you have your trusted bunny at one side and your brother on the other you could conquer the world.

Being a parent isn't all rainbows and happiness, but the tough times fade and soon melt out of view.  Those few weeks of "Terrible Twos?" I vaguely remember them.  The Tyrant Threes might stick a bit longer but are sure to fade as well.

I'll say this to all new moms (because I like to keep it real.)  Forgive yourself for those times when you lose your temper.  Your mom, grandmother, aunt, best friend, co-worker with grown children don't REMEMBER where you are now, with your newborn, infant, toddler.  The hard times fade (mostly) and are replaced with joy.  For those of us in the trenches we can ease the hardships of this battle by banding together - using HUMOR and maybe a bit of sarcasm to knock off the sharp edges of those first handful of years.  The days of smiling and pretending I am Suzie Homemaker will never happen in my house.  If you are that perfect mom, I applaud you, I wish I knew your secret.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oh hey, look.  A blog.

I did start one 3 years ago but my life at that time was so vastly different that a new blog was obviously warranted.

This past year has been . . . eventful.  New baby, new job, new house, new town, new . . . hair? 

Ethan is a precocious 3 1/2 year old.  Doing those things that equally amaze and give you gray hairs.  His story telling is legendary or should be.  He is nimble, adventurous and social almost to a fault.  He will walk up to just about anyone and either ask you to play with him or tell you a story.  He is the foremost authority on everything nearly every conversation feels like a negotiation. 

Toby is an amazingly mobile and vocal (almost) 11 month old.  He grew up too fast.  Wasn't he just born like, WHAT LAST MONTH?!  Ugh.  He is not a cuddler, very independent and headstrong.  Even more so than Ethan was at that age.  I am fully aware that I'm going to have my hands full. 

I like to say that Ethan is my insanity, Toby is my sanity, I've lost my head but my body is right here, with little boys wrapped around it.  In time, I will find Jennifer again.  Right now I'm a MOM.  An important job, yes, but I'm so much more and hoping to find those parts of me as we get settled. 

We moved in the winter from Maine to Vermont with a 5 month old and a 3 year old.  Towing too much accumulated crap, 2 dogs and 3 cats.  Adventure is not an adequate term for the event.

Nonetheless, 5 months later, we are here, *mostly* settled and moving forth with our infiltration of Burlington and all that Chittenden County has to offer.

Ethanism:  He bit off a piece of his apple slice to give to Toby, just like I bit off a piece of my apple to give to him. 
Tobyism:  Pressing his face against the glass pane in my SILs office door and making faces at me then laughing hysterically.
Profound Moment:  That moment after the thunderstorm where the sun comes out, everything has this ethereal quality, wet and sparkling.  You hear thunder rumbling in the distance but everything else is still, like the world is holding its breath.
Web Discoveries:  In an attempt to distract myself from the devastation in Oklahoma from the tornado, I stumbled upon the website for Zach Sobiech.  His story rocked me in a way that few do.  This kid, diagnosed with osteosarcoma and terminal, began making music and trying to live life to the fullest knowing his time was very short.  It is refreshing to see that when faced with such a devastating situation that he had the support and wherewithal to push forward with a smile on his face.  As I read about him and cheered him on, I found out he died yesterday.  The same day I was reading about him.  My heart broke and I cried for this stranger.  I think in situations such as this we unavoidable look toward ourselves and think, "What would we do?"  How many times in my life have I faced just a fraction of his trials and failed to handle them with the same aplomb?  How do you keep fighting when in the end you will lose anyway?