Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tidings from Home

Turns out I did make it home... I took a ton of pictures, but wanted to show only a few. Rachel got a bad cold, which she gave to Eric and I. John is sick today. I guess it could be worse. On Christmas night, John and I couldn't drive to visit my extended family, which is a family tradition. Instead we stayed home with the sick kids and put them to bed. I decided to do a load of laundry to help out. I went downstairs to the basement and... stepped in cold water. Turns out one of the valves stopped working for no reason, and my poor folks had to come home to that.

Here's hoping next year is less... exciting.

The tree- Before... and after.

Stockings... before and after.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'll be home for Christmas?

John was supposed to stay home from work today, as the federal government is closed. Unfortunately, he had to go in. I was hoping to have the whole family together for a fun snow day.

After talking to my mom this morning (my parents live in rural Virginia), I found out that their roads are still not plowed and may not be plowed for awhile. I was supposed to leave for my parents' house tomorrow morning and be home for Christmas, with John driving down on Christmas Eve.

So not only am I home alone with the kids (and we're running out of milk), I may be here for days. And all this disappointment and depression before I've even drank my morning coffee.

Mondays suck.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blizzard Pics

To give you an idea of how high the snow drifts were, I took this in our kitchen. The sliding glass door in the background leads out to our deck.

My son loves eating snow. Maybe I shouldn't let him, but as long as it's pure white I figure, what doesn't kill ya...

Our little Baby Bunting. This was Eric's old outfit. She has the cutest little pink snowsuit, but I found out today it has no little booties for her feet! Gotta find little boots for her...

Eric is the star of this shot, but I would like to point out the smooth, shoveled driveway that took us hours to clear.

And Eric would like you to note that his shovel played a part. :-)

Hope the roads are clear in a couple of days for safe holiday travel. Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We are THOSE neighbors

You know the ones that the whole neighborhood talks about because they do crazy things? Today I decided to put a couple extra things in the recycling bins. Unfortunately, I had taken them to the curb already. So there I am, dressed in my plaid flannel pajamas with Rachel in my arms, taking extra cardboard outside. It was 55 degrees, but windy. So I hurry back in to get a couple of empty baby food jars. I turn the doorknob.

And it's locked.

I had noticed Eric playing with the handle earlier today, so he must have unwittingly locked the door. While the deadbolt was unlocked, the door lock was not. So there I am, outside with a baby, and locked out of my house with my toddler asleep inside his room.

Thankfully, our kind next door neighbor was home. He let me in while I borrowed his phone to call John and ask him to come home and let me back in our house. Eric was upstairs in his room, having just gone down for his nap. He slept through the whole thing. Rachel had just eaten and had a clean diaper. So, all in all, it could have been much worse. Though I am definitely going to check the door-knob every time I go outside from now on. Or have the foresight to actually bring my keys instead of leaving them in the lock.

Makes me wonder (worry) about what adventure I could have tomorrow...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eric's Day Out

Saturday in our house are starting to look like this:

-Get kids up, diapered, and fed. Rachel eats a ton, Eric nibbles a little breakfast, sucks down a tippy full of milk, then demands to watch Sesame Street.

-In the morning, I decide to run errands and take Eric with me. This works out well because John is still under the delusion that Rachel is the easier baby (hehe), and Eric gets to venture outside.

Today Eric and I went to Target and Whole Foods. I'm starting to teach him to hold my hand when he walks in public. He was great about this today, which was a pleasant surprise for me as Eric thinks it's hilarious to run away from us in the mall or outside of the house. Maybe it was the cars being so close that scared him into submission- I've tried to instill a healthy fear of automobiles from a young age.

Anyway, I have no life and nothing to really write about. If I were this woman, I would have the innate talent of turning the boring details of my life into witty posts. But they don't pay me and I don't have time anymore. Rachel is eating less and napping more. Unfortunately, she's choosing to nap only when Eric is awake. Working 12-14 hours every day is taking a toll on my humor. Not to mention my sanity.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baby Fat

Yesterday I changed 11 dirty diapers, and 10 of them were Rachel's. That's right: 10 poopy diapers in ONE DAY. Days like yesterday I wish I worked full-time so someone else could change diapers all day.

But this morning was the pinnacle of my havung to ask myself- am I feeding my daughter too much? When we got back from the grocery store, I did my usual trick of leaving Eric in the car while dealing with Rachel. Since she was exhausted and needed a nap, I figured I could leave Eric and the groceries in the car, change her quickly, and then put her down.

You know where this is going... When I got her on the changing table, I saw that she had pooped THROUGH her outfit. Needless to say, it got all over the changing table. Then Rachel had to pee all over everything, so I had to strip her down and rush a naked baby through the house, upstairs, and into the bath. The entire time all I could think about was my poor son waiting in the car. I did not want him running around unsupervised while I was trying to deal with Rachel, but at times like this I wonder if he wouldn't be better off in the house.

After a 2 minute bath, I changed her and put her down. Then I had a choice- deal with cleaning up poop, groceries, or Eric?

For sanitary reasons, I chose the poop. I cleaned the changing table, took everything with crap on it down to the laundry room and soaked it in detergent.

Then I had to get the groceries. Eric loves to run outside so I couldn't get him out while unloading the car, as he might run into teh street. So I unload the groceries, but decide not to put away anything until I got him out. I felt guilty for leaving him in there for so long...

BIG mistale. Eric threw a giant tantrum while I was trying to put away the perishables. I even gave him some cans to put away, but nothing helped. And THIS is why Mommy leaves her toddler strapped into his carseat while she puts away the groceries, but I digress...

We have been feeding Rachel 4 bottles a day and solids inbetween. This schedule is what I have found in every baby book, but I swear it's too much food. She ends up drinking 28 ounces and eating at least 2 jars of food. Her weight is now 19 pounds and she's only 7 months old. Her thighs are bigger than my biceps.

She also vomits every day, and I'm wondering if I need to change this schedule around a bit. Today I gave her a bottle in the morning. Then when she woke up from her first nap, she got a bottle and some solids. And she seemed happier... She played more; she's napping better. I don't know. I keep trying to change her eating schedule, and just when everything seems to be going well, she'll wake up hungry in the middle of the night, which I don't have to tell you is a HUGE pile of suck for mom and dad (well, we think she's hungry. She could be teething or something... who knows?), or she ends up puking an hour after she eats.

If anyone has any advice, I would love to hear it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Thing I Never Thought I'd Say...

To Eric before heading outside:

Me: [sniff] "Eric, I hope that bean smell is your breath and not your butt."

I never thought what I said was disgusting, which just goes to show you how much parenthood changes everything.

To think I have friends who envy the fact that Eric loves beans. Come on over and change just one diaper, and you will go home and thank your lucky stars that your child lives on ice cream and french fries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Lord have mercy... She can crawl.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm such a slug

OK, not really. I mean, I've been dealing with the kids all day and a recovering husband, but I had my parents all weekend long... and I'm just NOW updating my blog. So it's time once again for...


- Rachel is crawling. She can only take a "step" or two at a time, but once she really starts moving, my life will enter a new phase of suck.

- The kids have started to have different bed times. Eric wants to go down around 9 and wake up at 8:30 in the morning. If he were an only child, John and I would throw a party. Unfortunately, Rachel wants to go to bed at 7pm and wake up anytime between 6-7am. Lord have mercy. I can't handle a 14 hour work-day! I'm hoping they get on the same schedule again very soon.

- My husband is an awesome guy. (If you know me personally, then you'll understand and smile.)

- People who are supposed to be waiting in hospital waiting rooms should NOT under any circumstances be on a laptop AND on their cell phone as if they were in a Starbucks. And they DEFINITELY should not be on their cell phones talking about hunting. Noisy places bother me. Noisy people really bother me. I told John I was about to take the man's laptop and cell phones and give these people a real reason to be in a hospital. But we were called in before I could make good on my threat. More's the pity. ;-)

- And... I can't think of anything else to talk about. My days consist of doing errands, chores, and taking care of the kids. Such excitement.

- Oh! I finally bought a high quality artificial tree (when you're allergic to the real thing you have to spend the money on something that won't look like a hat rack in 2 years time). It looks great. So I put it up on Friday because my parents were here to watch the kids, and I didn't know when I would get the chance to do it closer to Christmas.

Cars drive by our house at night and literally BRAKE when they see the tree. I want them to be thinking, "Wow! Isn't that tree beautiful! How exciting! I'm really in the Christmas spirit!"

But I'm sure it's more along the lines of, "What the...?? It's not even THANKSGIVING yet! Is this the same family that only wears pants when taking the garbage out?** It figures. And what is that crazy blond toddler doing dancing around the tree like a Druid on crack?"

We really need to invest in window treatments.

*Not the kind that I would use on the assertive jerks with Maryland tags who drive in the DC Metro area, but the kind that cause less pain for everyone. Even bad drivers.
**I swear that's not me

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday... sort-of

The Friday before Halloween (Happy Belated Birthday KC!) is a special day for children in the Charlottesville area. The kids get dressed up in their Halloween costumes and head to UVA to go trick or treating on the Lawn. Eric refused to let us dress him up as a dragon (toddlers suck), so I had the grand idea of dressing Rachel as a giant strawberry while Eric would be a farmer who won first place for her.

OK... *I* thought it was clever, but on closer inspection, the idea sucked. But whatever. Here are pictures. :-)
Rachel was adorable as a strawberry (couldn't find a tomato costume). I love this shot of her and her daddy!

Farmer Eric with his Grandma.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

American... boy?

Had to share this.

Last week we received a copy of American Girl magazine in the mail. For those who aren't familiar, American Girl is a collection of historical dolls with story books. You can get a doll customized also. I saw the magazine and got slightly irritated 'How do they know we have a little girl?? Aren't they hooking them a little young?'

Then I saw who the magazine was addressed to- my father-in-law! That cracked me up. I called my mother-in-law and we had a good laugh. She wanted to see the magazine, so I put it on the kitchen table to save it.

The next morning, Eric was eating his oatmeal and I saw this...
He was casually browsing through the magazine while eating breakfast.

American Girl must know my family better than I do!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Pathetic 15 Minutes of Fame

My dad found a review of a Japanese movie that I was an extra in while living on Yokota Air Base. It brought back some hilarious memories, which I thought I'd share because I have no humorous stories to write about as of late. If you read the linked review, then you know why my family could never find this movie or heard anything about it. Apparently this movie makes Cloverfield look like Ben Hur.

A lot of American kids in Japan got into modeling and acting. During the 80's the Japanese were really into using foreignors to advertise. Many Japanese movies were filmed in English and then subtitled in Japanese. My sister was a successful model in Japan. But I was a glasses-wearing, prepubescent girl whose only modeling job was when I happened to tag along to my sister's shoot and fit into the clothes another American girl was too big for.

I had lived in Japan for maybe a month or so when our sponser told us about the opportunity to be an extra in this movie. I think their child was supposed to be in it, but he/she got sick and so they asked my folks if I would be interested. For like $50, American kids on base were picked up by bus and taken to a Japanese school somewhere off-base where they were shooting this movie. They needed school-age children, and I think I was about to turn 11. Most of the kids were my age, maybe a little older. The only thing I remember about the trip was spending the entire bus ride finishing an awful teen novel.

It was a dreary day. I'm not sure if it was raining or not. The only scene we shoot the entire day was of all us kids getting off of an American-style school bus, something they don't have in Japan. I wonder now where they got one... We would all pile on the bus. The bus would drive to the front of the school and stop. We would get off the bus. We did this over and over again, and I'm all of 10 and have no patience for this crap. So I stop getting off the bus because, really, what's the point?

Some Japanese man comes onto the bus (I'm sitting in the back) and heads straight for me. I think I'm in serious trouble. He wants me to put on an ugly orange sweatshirt over my shirt. I tell him no. Him, being Japanese and assuming I simply can't understand him, gets someone who speaks English to come onto the bus and tell me to wear it. I tell him no. But eventually they wear me down. I put it on. They leave. I take it off (I'm so screwed because this stubborn gene is already showing up in both of my kids).

We break for lunch, which is a Japanese bento box. I would kill for these kind of lunches today. But since I'm 10, I don't appreciate the food and barely eat anything. I look over and see this fat American who must have been about 14 or so eating a McDonald's hamburger. I covet. I also recognize him as being one of the kids with a speaking part. I covet even more.

After lunch I am taken to meet a very tall middle-aged American man with blond hair. He was wearing all black and had on sunglasses. I asked him for a speaking role. He said I should talk to the director. I thought he was the director. He turned out to be Troy Donahue. Oops. My dad's sister almost had a heart attack when she found out I had met her idol. I was simply pissed that the fat kid had a speaking role while I didn't.

Back onto the bus to shoot more thrill-a-second passenger shots. A boy sitting across the aisle from me told me his name, which I can't remember now. He was 12 and lived on Yokosuka, the naval base. I remember he had auburn hair and pretty eyes. He tells me he wants to kiss me, and since I'm a ugly girl with glasses I'm all for this turn of events. So the next shot when the kids are getting off the bus, this boy and I duck down and "kiss." Which is to say, we tried to get our lips to touch but ended up laughing most of the time. But considering all the takes of this stupid bus stopping and starting, we may have kissed about 10 times for all I know.

Then I think it either really did start to rain, or the director simply gave up. We piled back on the Japanese bus to head home. I looked in my envelope and saw (what I remember being) a 5,000 yen note.

So if you ever happen to stumble across this movie, and watch a scene of young children filing off of a school bus, just remember why you can't see a blond girl getting out of the bus in an orange sweatshirt. She was too busy making out with an older guy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life in Bullets

(Thank you to Karen as I'm stealing her idea)

I've gotten a lot of people who have asked when my next blog entry is. I was working on something last week but time slipped away from me. The kids are (finally) in bed, but it's almost 9pm. And I want to watch Lie to Me and Castle (I love my DVR). So... here's what's been happening.

* My parents got back from Japan on Saturday. They had a lovely trip, but it is probably their last. They were able to stay the night and will be back next weekend so John and I can go to the Kansas City Chiefs game. Maybe Washington won't steal defeat from the jaws of victory yet again. Maybe.

* Rachel can sit up unassisted. While she can't pull herself into that position, her back and neck are getting stronger. I've also noticed her getting into a crawling position on her tummy. Only a matter of time before she's truly mobile. [sigh]

* Eric started saying "mama." Though he doesn't really get that it's MY name, he does understand that I love when he says it. So he says it a lot.
Me: "Eric, who am I?"
Eric: [proudly] "Dada!"
Me: "No."
Eric: [looking upset and confused]
Me: "I'm mama. Can you say 'mama'?"
Eric: "Mamamamama"

* I've started going to the gym again. I hand sanitize a TON before and after I pick the kids up from the child care place. So far so good!

* I've also started a bible study on Wednesdays. So I'm getting out of the house a lot more. Yay for getting out!

* And I just heard a big THUNK. Eric fell over the toddler rail and out of his bed. Boo for toddler rails.

* Rachel has started solids. She eats like a champ. We're on stage 1 foods, but she can finish off one of those containers in one sitting. It took Eric months before he could do that. She also likes chewing. Not sure what foods to give her so she can chew though. Eric choked a LOT so I'm terrified of her choking. I put some apple in one of those teether-bags but she wasn't that interested. Or maybe she hates apples.

And, really, that's all. Oh wait. A friend who's living in the UK may come into the DC area next month. It would be awesome to see her again. OK, that's all. Really.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eric Got Out

This morning I was in the kitchen and I heard Eric call me from further and further away. I thought he was heading upstairs like he sometimes does to get attention. I walked toward the stairs...

... and saw the front door was open.

Eric had run down the driveway and onto the sidewalk. When he saw me giving chase, he did what any toddler would do: he ran away from me down the sidewalk, laughing his head off the entire way. I brought him back inside and fought back my panic attack. From the first time I took Eric outside of the house, I taught him to never, ever go into the street. That little bugger tested me for months. Eric would literally put a toe past the sidewalk and smirk at me to see if he could get away with it. And I always picked his butt up and brought him back inside as Eric kicked and screamed in my ear. I could kiss the ground that he didn't go into the street. Luck? Consistency? Now how can I be this consistent on things like snacking through lunch??

John was stuck in a traffic jam from hell, but at 9pm he began installing a new dead-bolt lock that must be unlocked from the inside to open. If Eric figures out how to open the door now, I think we'll give up and hire him out to thieving thugs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Day at the Park

Pictures are worth a thousand words. On Saturday we decided to take the kids to the park. There are about 3 parks within a mile of us. We chose the one that had broken playground equipment and a BBQ/ baby shower for a Latino mother, and therefore a LOT of people at the park.

It turned out really well, though I was terrified that Eric would kill himself on the boarded up part of the playground. About 3 girls came up to me while I was with Rachel in the stroller. One spoke English and begged me to hold Rachel. How sweet is that? Her name was Jennifer, which is a great name, if I could give an unbiased opinion. ;-) Rachel for some reason started crying whenever she was looked at by anyone but me. And a LOT of kids came up to look at her. One little 1 year old boy kept touching Rachel's hair and trying to touch her eyes, which is what Eric did when he was the boy's age. Jennifer kept slapping his hand away.

So Rachel's either very shy, or she remembers all the times I told her I would sell her to gypsies when she would wake me up at 3am. I took a picture of her tear-stained little face. Poor Rachel...

Eric, on the other hand, had no problem going up to the BBQ and even was able to mooch a dinner plate. Lord, he is his mother's child. My mom told me stories of how I would invite myself to birthday parties at McDonald's. Eric loved the meat and tortilla. He's really into carbs now. He has eaten almost all of mommy's breakfast cereal; Cheerios don't cut it anymore apparently. Loves frozen pancakes (not cooked, only frozen). Even when his tortilla fell in the DIRT, and John and I tried to grab it from him to throw it away, Eric just picked it up and kept eating. They also gave Eric a Capri Sun to drink. It was so sweet of them to give Eric food. Unfortunately, Eric has yet to master using a straw so that went all over him.

All in all, Saturday was a good day. Sunday? Well... church and mowing and laundry. At least the in-laws came over and brought dinner. That was the highlight of my day. That and church. John kept the kids with him while I went to church. I had forgotten how nice it is to just go to church and be able to give my full attention to the worship and message. No pagers going off; no sobbing toddler or crying baby... It was a slice of heaven.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1 Hour and 24 Minutes I Can Never Get Back...

Yesterday there was the minor miracle in my house of both children having overlapping naps for an hour. I vacuumed the living room, cleaned the kitchen floor, then wondered what the heck I was doing. I could be watching t.v!

So I turned on FIOS and saw that all the free on demand movies were about to get axed. About 30 movies. That sucks. One of them was only an hour and 24 minutes long. The movie was Cloverfield, the adrenaline semi-horror flick from the people who created Lost. I love Lost. I'm totally addicted to that show. I will be so sad when it ends this season. If the people who created Lost also produced Cloverfield, the movie must be good, right?

If you have the chance to see Cloverfield I have one word of advice for you: Don't. It was as if the director of The Blair Witch Project stole the artwork of H.R. Giger and enlisted writers who were utterly incompetent at creating character empathy. The entire movie was shot on a "government duplicate" copy of a home video. That in itself would annoy most people. But then when a giant monster began attacking New York, spewing face-sucking aliens who cause humans to hemorrhage until they explode, that's when they lost me. I was then simply watching out of morbid curiosity- how would these poor saps who must have spent millions to make this awful film finally END it??

You don't really care that this next paragraph is a spoiler, do you?

The main characters decide, after running away from face suckers and watching one of their friends explode, to try and rescue the girlfriend of the main character (I don't remember their names; would you?). The girlfriend happens to be trapped in a building that was giving the Leaning Tower of Pisa a run for its money. And she's on the 54th floor.

Ok, you are all idiots. You deserve to die.

I was hoping they would get eaten alive, but alas, the military blew them up along with the island of Manhattan.

I left out some interesting (moronic) details like the girlfriend they successfully rescued had a giant metal pipe coming out of her chest? Which they pull out and she was total fine enough to walk across a rooftop to climb down 54 flights of stairs and run to Central Park.

Reruns of Sesame Street are way better. I'll never get back that hour and 24 minutes. I could have had a V8. I could have had 20.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Snapshot of a Typical Day in the Life...

I have wanted to post this for a long time for inquiring minds- what exactly IS a day in the life of a stay at home mom with two kids under 2 years old like? I get this a lot:
"I don't see how you do it." (I don't either, honey)
Or this:
"How do you find time to write a blog?" (See these bags under my eyes??)

Here is a snapshot of what a typical weekday is for me. The only thing not typical about this day is the fact that I put both kids to bed by myself. Thankfully, John is usually home for that!

And just an FYI- This will be long and tedious, so you have been warned! Those of you who continue reading from start to finish either have a lot of spare time on your hands (come over and take my kids for an hour- please!), or you are a serious masochist.

Wednesday, September 23rd-

6:50am. I am now used to waking up at the butt-crack of dawn. Resistance is futile. Long gone are my days of being able to sleep in, unless my saintly parents are staying over and graciously take both baby monitors (even then, I wake up at around 7am and can only doze fitfully for an hour or two at most). And I know that I'm pretty fortunate as far as how late my kids sleep in. Some moms are lucky to sleep until 6.

It's now almost 7am, and I think I hear Rachel. She never cries the way most babies do when they want something. Instead she has this groan that sounds like a beached whale, something between loud, high-pitched grunts and screaming. After hearing that for 30 seconds, you're ready to give that child anything if it makes her shut up. And at 6:50am, I hear that horrible cry. I click on the video portion of the monitor. She's on her tummy. And she's hungry. She's always hungry. Thus, my day begins. John stays in bed until Eric gets up, usually around 7:30.

7am. Rachel has a horrible diaper rash. Between Eric's HFMD crap and Rachel's butt, I've been at the pediatrician's office three times in the last 2 weeks. I change her poopy, pee-soaked diaper and spread the medicated ointment on her so that now her bottom smells like a nursing home.

7:05am. Waiting for Rachel's bottle to warm up. I put her in a bouncy seat. She gives me a look that says, "Seriously? Where's my %$@! food, mom?" but eventually gives into the inevitable. While she's trying to attack a small mirror just out of arm's reach, I start unloading the dishwasher and begin making 6 new bottles to store in the fridge for the rest of the day. Rachel's bottle finishes warming up before I complete my tasks.

7:10am. Feeding Rachel. I can hear Eric's awake. Since putting him in a toddler bed, Eric can't help but lay down next to the door and kick it repeatedly when he's ready to be released from his prison (other than that little hiccup, I highly recommend child locks inside the bedroom on door handles). Eric's rhythmic kicking sounds like freaking Blitzkrieg up there. After about ten minutes of leg calisthenics on Eric's part, the noise stops. I figure either Eric's given up, or John has gotten him up.

7:30am. Finally finish unloading the dishwasher and making bottles while Rachel plays under Star. Eric comes into the kitchen, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with a sleepy John. I get Eric into his booster seat and begin to feed him breakfast while Rachel rolls around with a plastic teething ring. John collapses on the couch for a few minutes before he heads upstairs to shower and get ready for work.

8:15am. John leaves for work. I won't see him again until around 7pm. Eric, Rachel, and I are still in our pajamas. At this point, Eric has been fed and is standing in front of the television with the DVR remote, trying to turn on the t.v. and watch Sesame Street on demand. I notice his 2 favorite episodes are about to get erased from the PBS Sprout on demand channel. But thankfully, they are still there today. I turn on "Cooking Day" and spend a little time with Rachel. on the other side of the couch where she can't stare at the t.v. like a miniture zoombie. Every few minutes I leave her to be next to Eric. We dance and sing along with the episode.

9am. Rachel goes down for her first nap.

9:10am. Eric decides he wants to go outside. After a quick look at the monitor to make sure Rachel is asleep, I put our shoes on. We head out to the swing-set in our backyard. Eric's still in his pajamas as am I. I no longer care how I look in public, and all our neighbors are A)at work and B)empty-nesters who have had kids. And for anyone who thinks I'm a bad mom for leaving my baby alone in the house, you try Bjorning a baby while chasing after a toddler. Last time I tried that, I twisted my ankle.

9:30am. We hear the garbage truck. Watching the garbage men is the highlight of Eric's day. Sometimes it's the highlight of mine. We race to the front yard and wave to the men as they load our trash into the truck.

9:45am. Eric's getting tired of being outside. We head inside and play together. I wish Eric would play more and watch t.v. less. But after about 15 minutes or so of playing, he wants to watch t.v. again. I turn on "Singing Day."

10am. Rachel's awake. Change diaper, bring her downstairs, and give her a bottle while watching Burt, Oscar, and Cookie Monster sing about pigeons, cookies, and trash.

10:15-10:50am. I start to prepare dinner in the slow cooker. If not for the slow cooker, we'd starve in this house. Rachel's chewing on a teether and rolling around. Everytime she lands on her tummy, she spits up, so every so often I have to go over and clean her/ roll her over. Eric is watching t.v. but also wants to watch a slideshow on my macbook. He loves seeing pictures of "baby Eric" on iphoto. I set that up for him and go back to putting the roast in the cooker. Go to turn over Rachel, then put carrots in the cooker. Just as I'm about to cut up the onions and peel the potatoes, I realize I don't have any beef broth for the pot roast.

BEFORE I had kids, this would be minor inconvenience. But with two kids under two, it's a hair-pulling, ulcer-inducing nightmare. What do I do? The freaking chuck roast has been sitting inside the slow cooker for almost 40 minutes now. I threw away the packaging. I really wanted to make it tonight. That will feed us until Friday. Rachel and Eric won't need to go down for a nap again until around noon-1pm. But no one is dressed...

11am. Quick decision. I go upstairs with Eric and dress him while Rachel does her whale moaning downstairs. I quickly put on some clothes and dash back downstairs. Pick up Rachel (who's still in her pjs) and put her in the car-seat. Can't find the car keys. Finally find the keys. Pick up Eric and put him in the car first. This is one thing I've learned from traveling with 2 under 2- The toddler is ALWAYS the first one in the vehicle and the last one out. I make sure I have my cell and money. Throw everything in the diaper bag. I put Rachel and the diaper bag in the car and drive to Giant.

11:15am. Park next to the cart return. Put Eric in the cart and strap him in. Put Rachel and her car-seat in the main part of the cart. This leaves about 2 inches around her car-seat for groceries. I can only shop at Costco and Wegman's if I have to go alone with the kids to buy a week's worth of food. I am in Giant for all of 5 minutes. I need one can of beef broth so I buy four.

11:30am. Back home. Unload diaper bag and groceries. Get Rachel out and put her in the playpen. Finally go back for Eric who wants to play around in the front seat of the car. I let him do this until he lays on the horn. I get him out of the car with bribery of lunch.

11:35am. Make lunch for Eric while trying to finish dinner. Peel potatoes, and finally get the slow cooker started while I cut up pizza for Eric. I leave both tasks every now and then to play with Rachel nearby. After Eric finishes eating, I spend the next 30 minutes cleaning up and trying to give both kids equal attention.

12:15am. Put Rachel down for nap #2. Spend some quality time alone with Eric.

1pm. Time for Eric's nap. Wrestle with him to change his dirty diaper and put him back in pajamas.

1:15pm. Both kids are down. What to do... Crap. Laundry. Start one of three loads.

1:30pm. Go back upstairs and see that the toilet in the master bath has unidentified black stuff growing along the entire rim of the bowl. Make a quick decision to clean the toilet. After doing that I spray the shower with cleaner and wipe down the sinks. This will be the last time I get to clean the bathroom for about a month. By now it's 1:45. I go lay down.

2pm. I hear the beached whale moan. Double-check monitor. Yep, she's up.

2:15pm. Back downstairs and feeding Rachel. She downs the bottle and cries that she's still hungry. Warm up another 7 ounce bottle, expecting her to eat maybe 2 more ounces. She eats six, for a total of 13 ounces!

2:30-3pm. Start laundry load #2. Play with Rachel and make her laugh when I lay her on my tummy and do crunches up to her so our faces touch.

3pm. Eric is up. Leave Rachel downstairs with toys while I go upstairs to wrestle another dirty diaper off Eric. Remind myself that he will hopefully be potty-trained in a year. Leave him in his pajamas after he screams at the top of his lungs when he sees me coming at him with actual clothes.

3:15-5pm. Try my best to multi-task with the kids. Play with one while the other is engaged in playing by themselves. Eric sometimes gets jealous if I am with Rachel too much, and he'll want me to carry him while I'm carrying her. These are the hardest times of my day.

5pm-5:30pm. Rachel gets put in her crib for her last nap. I say "put in her crib" because she's teething and this last nap is the hardest for her to fall asleep on her own. Since she's rolling everywhere, I have to put her in "the wedge" in order to get her to sleep on her back. I go up to her room about 3 separate times to put her back in the sleep positioner every time she rolls out of it.

5:30pm. Rachel's finally asleep. I go downstairs to the basement with Eric to do laundry. I fold the first load, put the second in the dryer and start load #3.

6:00pm. Rachel's awake again after her shortest and last nap. Do the whole diaper changing routine, this time with Eric crying and holding onto my leg and pushing me to put Rachel back into her crib. I go downstairs with Rachel to warm another bottle while Eric sobs from upstairs. I spend 5 minutes trying to explain to my screaming toddler why the baby can't just be left in a crib all day. Wondering why I bothered.

6:15-6:30pm. Rachel's fed. Eric is calm again. Back to multitasking/ playing with the kids. I leave the Eric in front of the audio-visual babysitter and Rachel in a swing while I go downstairs to fold laundry and put the last load in the dryer. I know- Bad Mommy.

6:30pm. Kids don't set fire to the house. I go back to the living room to find the kids didn't notice I had left. Not sure what this says about my parenting skills. I call John to find out when he's leaving work.

(Note: This week we've had John's best friend stay with us. I'll call him K. The company K writes software for needed him in Northern VA for meetings and such. Tonight he, John, and another friend named T wanted to all have dinner together. I had this fantasy that they could plan dinner around the kids' bedtimes, meeting for dinner at around 8pm. But this didn't work out. So now I have a choice: do I beg John to come home and help put the kids to bed, missing out on time with his 2 best friends? Or do I suck it up and let him go out?)

6:35pm. John's on the beltway to meet friends for sushi. I'm contemplating how to get both kids to bed without anyone getting injured. Normally Rachel gets bathed first. She gets a bottle from either John or I while the other parent bathes Eric and puts him down. I will try to put Rachel down first as she's exhausted.

7:00pm. Okay, that doesn't happen. Eric keeps trying to commit suicide by hanging from the second floor stairway banisters, all the while smiling that devious grin to get my attention. I decide it might be better to bathe them together. This has worked in the past.

7:05pm. It may have worked in the past, but not tonight. Eric now has a new trick of turning the water on ice cold and squatting so his testicles are soaking in the Eskimo bath. Apparently this is a ton of fun. Rachel obviously can't bathe in cold water. I wonder if I could get her down without bathing her, but don't think Eric will give me a moment's peace if I try to do this before he's in his room. Since Eric is already naked and in the bath, I put Rachel in her crib and decide to put Eric down first.

7:10pm. Eric's done with his bath and is on his way to the changing table. Rachel is screaming her head off in her crib. I close her door.

7:15pm. Eric is in fresh pajamas and is in bed. Okay, not really. He's grabbing his Blankie and is about to assault the door yet again, crying the entire time. But he's in a darkened room and could, theoretically, sleep.

7:25pm. I give Rachel a bath and her last bottle in her now darkened and quiet room. I realize this is the most peaceful time of my day. After she's done, I put her to bed.

7:30pm. Both kids are in bed. The hardest part of my day is now done, but my work isn't over.

7:32pm. Go down to the basement. Finish folding laundry. Bring laundry upstairs and begin putting it away.

7:50pm. I decide to shower. I haven't showered since Sunday. Or was it Saturday? The entire time I'm in the shower I wonder if the kids are going to sleep or are screaming their heads off.

8pm. I'm in fresh pajamas and am finally feeling human. Go downstairs to load the day's dirty dishes. Still haven't eaten the pot roast that I made for dinner.* I thought I would finish loading dishes and cleaning up before I relax with dinner and a taped epsiode of "Chopped." I have both baby monitors with me, and I plug them into an outlet on top of the kitchen counter.

8:01pm. Eric starts crying. He gets out of his crib and heads for the door. I go upstairs to comfort him. I pick him up and he collapses against me; he's so tired. Only when Eric is exhausted will he let me cuddle him, so I treasure this moment with him. I don't know if he had a nightmare or if he's not feeling well, but I put him and Blankie back in bed.

8:15pm. Finish loading dirty dishes. Finally able to relax. Sitting in front of the t.v. with my dinner.

8:30pm. Eric starts crying again. Go up and comfort him in a repeat of 30 minutes prior.

8:30-9pm. Finish up my show. Start to channel surf and check email.

9pm. Eric starts crying yet again. Repeat cuddling and putting him back to bed for the third and final time.

9:05pm. I'm back downstairs. Check monitors. Both kids are asleep.

9:10pm. John returns home.

10pm. I finally go to bed. But being an insomniac I don't go to sleep until sometime between 11pm and midnight. I wake up 2-3 times during the night because my "mommy alarm" goes off and I think I hear a kid crying or something. Most of the time it's my imagination. Most of the time. And when it is my overactive imagination, I get up, empty my bladder, and am thankful for being so near-sighted that I can't see the clock to know what precious few hours remain of my sleep.**

*I forgot to remove part of the packaging from the chuck roast, however, so that was fun to find in the slow cooker.

**Now that you have read this (entire?) post and are either bored to tears or thoroughly depressed, IF you would like to trade lives with me, my demands are simple-
1)Be single and unemployed
2)Live in a quiet place, preferably on the beach, with parents or room-mates who will cook and clean up after you.

Any takers?? :->

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bad karma

It must be bad karma. Now Eric can't drink and is vomiting. Lovely.

I had to ask (beg) my husband to stay home from work today. He's had Rachel all day, and I've had Eric. Eric's tantrums improved somewhat until he tried to drink some milk from his tippy. He started screaming. And then I saw the blood on the tippy lid. I have no idea if it's his lip or his gums. I assume it's his gums because they are red and inflamed, probably from the HFM disease crap.

I swear, I pray every day Rachel doesn't get this. It's bad enough she now has a yeast rash from her diaper.

Eric is up in his room, crying and not napping.

Rachel is sitting on daddy's lap and cooing to the outside as if to say, "Let me out!"

I don't feel well at all. I'm sure I have the adult version of this. I just want to crawl under my covers and sleep, undisturbed, for about 3 years or until the kids are potty-trained and in preschool, whichever comes first.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Poor Eric

The little guy finally napped for an hour today. It's his longest (and sometimes only) nap since Friday.

The mouth sores are "the worst" our pediatrician had ever seen. Since Eric has only eaten about a half cup of cool oatmeal for the last 48 hours, I was not surprised. I have tried offering him anything cold. He has free range in our freezer, but now he's not drinking much either. I found out why last night and had it confirmed today at his appointment- Eric's 2 year molars are coming in.

Either Eric did something horrible in a past life, or I did.

Friday, September 11, 2009

2 Sick Babies

Nighttime is my favorite time of day. There's no whining toddler, no fussy baby, no Elmo on t.v... it's like heaven, only with more chocolate.

Last night I couldn't sleep. Freakin' insomnia. 1am, and I'm tossing and turning. When I finally feel sleep coming on, I hear Eric over John's baby monitor. John, of course, doesn't hear anything as he's fast asleep. Eric is moaning. And moaning. And moaning.

At this point, I am wide awake so I look at the monitor and see him tossing and turning. Eric is a sound sleeper, and unless he's sick, you don't hear a peep from him until morning. I decide since I'm awake anyway, I'll go and check on my semi-asleep child. I stroke his forehead. Wow. Awfully warm. I know he has a fever. Now I have a decision to make- 1)Wake him up to take his temperature, or 2)Let him rest and take it in the morning.

I'm sure you can guess which one I chose.

I head back to bed. John's still asleep. Since I'm wide awake, I figure John needs to know Eric is sick. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Eric is sick. He has a fever."

John: (Half-asleep) "Huh?"

Me: "Eric has a fever."

John: *Snore*

Eric has never been sick. Don't hate me. He inherited Mommy's immune system of doom that attacks life in all its forms- virus, bacteria, grass, food... (he had a bad reaction 2 weeks ago that we think is related to yellow dye from some waffles he consumed. Yes, waffles.) So you can imagine my surprise by him being sick.

It's my fault, really. Last week I joined a gym that has free child care for up to two and a half hours a day. And it has a pool, hot tub, steam room, and sauna. I figure if Mom is happy, then everyone is happy, right? Eric didn't take to the child care at first, though the room looked like something out of a Toys R Us catalog, but once he started bringing his blankie, he was happy as a clam there. Rachel does fine, of course, except when she is overly tired, so I go first thing in the morning when they're rested and fed. It's glorious. Unfortunately, this opens them up to tons of germs.

Rachel also had a slight fever today, but she's teething. Poor thing; every time I look at her she's chewing her fingers like they're saltwater taffy. But I digress...

So after getting almost no sleep, I get up this morning and take Eric's temperature and it's 102. A friend told me her son had a fever with no other symptoms that went away after 24 hours. I'm convinced Eric has this, but the pediatrician wanted to see Eric anyway. Turns out Eric has hand, foot, and mouth disease. Sounds disgustingly awful, doesn't it? Like Mad Cow run rampant. But apparently, it's pretty common.

For the first time in my life, I go to the store to buy children's aspirin with Eric whining his feverish head off in the child seat and Rachel with her fingers in mouth, screaming in pain between bites. I then head to my old pediatrician's office. I'm actually in the process of changing pediatricians as the old practice are being real jack asses about my delaying vaccinations for my kids. Plus every time I go there, we are the first ones in and the last to be seen by a doctor. I'm convinced it's because we're "those people" who the doctors scorn as they think I must have watched an episode of Oprah and decided to expose our kids to measles, mumps, tetanus, polio, ebola, leprosy... all out of fear. (I tried once to explain about the auto-immune diseases in my family and why I'm hesitant to inject live viruses and various crap like animal fetuses and aluminum into my kids, but no one wants to have an intelligent discussion so I stopped trying to explain.) I think it's a conspiracy by the practice to make our visits hellish so we'll go elsewhere. John thinks I'm crazy.

I was right. It is a conspiracy. Waited 45 minutes to be seen. Got copies of their charts before I left. Vow to never go back.

After getting home, I wrestle Eric to the ground to force-feed him children's Tylenol. And his temperature went down. Still won't eat much because he has blisters in his mouth. Poor little guy. Yet even though I know he's in pain, the whining must stop. 12 hours alone with a screaming, teething baby and a sick, whining toddler is hell on earth.

Now the kids are in bed, but I can't rest. Instead, I need to head to the grocery store to buy Popsicles for Eric, teething tablets for Rachel and a box of wine for me. A BIG box of wine.

As I'm about to leave I hear this from John-

John: "In case your curious..."

Me: (sarcastically) "I've been sitting here all day babysitting sick kids, but dying of curiosity about the very thing you're about to say..." (I'm bitchy when I'm stressed, ok?)

John: "'Sarlacc' is in the Wikipedia!"

Me: [pause] "You have way too much free time on your hands..."

John: "In case you're wondering, the plural for 'Sarlacc' is 'Sarlacci.'"

Mommy needs a drink.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Television Viewing- When is it too young (or too much)?

It's amazing the compromises one makes once the realities of parenthood set in.

The television is my biggest one.

Eric loves t.v. Especially Sesame Street. I don't know what kind of subliminal messages that program puts in kids' heads, but they are suddenly Elmo disciples after only one episode. If your kids haven't started watching Sesame Street yet you should seriously consider banning PBS from your home (I'm only half joking).

I told myself I would never, ever let my kids watch t.v. Ok, maybe once they got in school so they wouldn't be totally socially inept. And only on the weekends. For 15 minutes. But suddenly I found myself letting Eric watch a couple minutes of the Food Network. He loves Paula's show, I have no idea why. It's only for a few minutes, I told myself. It's okay...

Then there was this summer when things were nuts, and I let Eric watch a few minutes of Sesame Street because it's educational, right? Heck, maybe he'll even learn how to talk finally! And he is learning what sounds letters make, which is both cool in a completely parental-bragging kind of way, but a little disconcerting because what if Eric decides to just talk like a Hooked On Phonics DVD for the rest of his childhood? I mean, the kid can't say 'Mama' but he can point to an "H" on my shirt and say "ha." [sigh]

Now Eric wants to view Sesame Street 24/7. He will drag me by my pants to the television, point to the t.v. and babble "da, da DA, da-da?" He would be the happiest toddler on the planet if I simply let him sit in front of the t.v. with a FIOS on-demand episode running in a loop. It's really creepy to watch your 20 month-old sitting six inches from a screen and completely enraptured. Very creepy.

So my new rule is- only 15-30 minutes a day after his nap. And I'm having trouble sticking to it. Mostly because he throws a fit, and I can't get him distracted into doing something else. But I will admit- I'm guilty as well; it's so easy to just sit your kid there while you 1)load dishes, 2)actually get to eat lunch 3)spend a little cuddle time with the baby on the other side of the sofa, etc.

Anyone out there have any ideas for how to ween my kid off of the television?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You have a bad day...

Today is just one of those days when I would be perfectly happy jumping off the roof.

Eric is in a "I don't need a nap" phase. You're 20 months old, kid. I'm 33 and would LOVE a nap! I keep putting him down later and later because I've noticed if I put him down between 12-1pm, he barely naps. Mornings haven't worked well either. But today we had a morning trial class at a children's play center which did not go well, and he was exhausted. So I tried putting him down before lunch. I figured, if he's yawning and rubbing his eyes, he must be tired. I also thought that if I put him down before lunch, surely he wouldn't crap. Ha. I swear that child craps himself every time I put him to sleep just to spite me.

So no nap. I went in and changed his diaper and tried again. Nope. By this point it was getting to be almost 1pm, so I thought 'He must be hungry. I'll get him lunch.' Got him lunch, while trying to feed myself and simultaneously turn Rachel back over on her back every 45 seconds. I swear Eric wasn't trying rolling all over the place when he was 4 months. Which I would have loved. The irony.

At close to 2pm he seemed tired again (you think, kid?), so I put him back in his room again. And he walked around, tore down the cardboard over the windows which we put to darken the room to help him sleep [snort], and screwed with the camera monitor over his crib. So now when I click on the monitor I see the floor and the changing table. [sigh]

By this point Rachel was hungry (again) so I had to get a bottle and feed her. Then she seemed tired so I had to put her down. At this point it was 3pm and I figured the hell with it- I'll just get Eric up if he's up. But NOW he's finally asleep. And so is Rachel. Which means they probably won't sleep well tonight. And it's too late for Mommy to take a nap. Story of my life.

I've been so tired lately. Rachel gets really fussy when she nurses, so I'm not making much milk anymore. I keep getting nauseated and dry heaving every morning (and I'm also starving at the same time). If I didn't know any better (Read- if I didn't have Mirena inserted correctly and was actually having sex), I'd swear I was pregnant. And if I were, so help me, I really would go jump off the roof.

My friend Abbie suggested that I join a gym nearby because the local gyms are about the cost of enrolling your kid in one of those Gymboree type classes (where mom has to stay with the kid who's in the class, which I learned today doesn't fit Eric's personality and is DARN hard when you have a baby to boot!). And the gyms have free child care for your children. AND it would give mom a break. AND some much needed endorphins, not to mention the much needed exercise (saunas count as exercise, right?). AND I just got a free 3-day trial membership. Hehe...

We'll see.

P.S. As I finish, Eric wakes up. I go into his room and step in something wet. Uh, oh. He had pooped through his diaper, his sleeper, and onto the carpet. Another day in the life! :-(

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stay on your back (and off the stairs)

I remember when Eric was a little baby and it was just the two of us. I was utterly ecstatic whenever he mastered a new skill- sitting up, rolling over, crawling, eating solids (okay, maybe not so much on the eating solids once I realized what a bloody mess it was to clean up). With Rachel I could really keep her as a baby forever- immobile, cute, drinking liquids with no clean-up. Alright, maybe not forever, but at least until she turned 18.

Eric is SO needy and hyper-active. It's a boy thing, I think. He always wants to play, romp around, and have my full attention that at this point I simply leave Rachel under Star or in her playpen with toys for an hour or so for every awake block. I do check on her, but if I spend too much time with her then Eric starts to get violent towards her, something I am trying to avoid. 2 under 2 sucks; no matter what you do, you feel like you're neglecting one of them. She's perfectly happy by herself, though. Really. Because when she's not, I definitely hear it.

But now... Just when I think I have everything under control... Now Rachel is rolling so much she's constantly on her tummy. You turn your back and boom. She's on her stomach, back arched and mouth agape. And I am constantly wiping up spit-up and rolling her back on her back after cheering her on. She can roll back, but loves being on her tummy so much that by the time she wants to roll back over, he doesn't have the strength and screeches for me to rescue her if I am out of the room.

She is so cute, but jeez I could use her staying so low maintenance until Eric starts to speak. Eric has begun to pull back the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, walking up and down unassisted. Unfortunately, he also wants to take Blankie with him. I am terrified he will trip one of these days when I'm taking Rachel upstairs for her nap. I can't keep him off the stairs now. With every new ability they gain, my life gets harder.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Formal Letter of Protest

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter to protest my current work environment. I am a "personal assistant" to my boss, whom hereafter in this letter will be referred to as "X." I was recruited by friends and family who previously held similar positions. I was assured by them I would savor every moment in my new career and, perhaps most important to me, that my boss and I would get along wonderfully.

I have been working in this job for almost 2 years now, and everything about my work environment is completely different from what I was led to believe. I have tried to explain to colleagues and close friends what I am going through, but many of them simply can't comprehend the full extent of my plight, or they simply don't want to know. Below is a snapshot of a typical day and specific examples of the abuse I take from X on a daily basis.

X is a sadistic tyrant who works me non-stop without a break. Almost every morning he calls to wake me up. I am expected to immediately head to work. Once I'm on the job, I have to run crazy errands in record time. Yesterday he wanted me to go and get his lunch, but when I gave him his food, he threw it on the floor. X sometimes does this whenever I bring him meals, and he finds it hysterically funny.

I'm not laughing. I am constantly getting him drinks. He trashes my personal space. X gives me on-the-job material that I am forced to read over and over again. He has no patience and is incredibly stubborn. I have only one break every day, but he sometimes doesn't allow me to have even that brief reprieve. And when X isn't getting my full attention, he hits me or pulls my hair. I find it degrading to be treated in this manner.

Six months into this experience, I was given the surprise of my career in an official notice that an efficiency expert would be coming as a second manager, if you will, to critique my work. I'll call her "Y." This woman has no qualms about calling at all hours of the night to make sure I am "on task." While she has never been physically abusive, I never feel relaxed around her. If I have the miracle of a free minute to sit down to have a cup of coffee, I can feel her eyes on me. And many times if I'm trying to fulfill a task for X, Y will start yelling at me to do something for her. It's non-stop.

Since I started this job, I have had no vacation. I have been given no sick days. And I have yet to be paid. And X (and now Y as well) refuses to let me quit. I am utterly exhausted and emotionally drained.

If you're reading this letter, this is my notice that I will one day be free of this. My fear is that after doing this job for so long, I will have no recollection of what my old life was like. I am afraid I won't recognize myself. This career has been life changing, and my mind may become so warped that I actually miss this insane, tiring, endless, horrible, wonderful job.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Rachel's New Trick

With all the excitement about Eric transitioning to the floor... errr.. I mean, his toddler bed, I neglected to mention that Rachel has (finally!) stopped rejecting the bottle. Laurie, John, and I have been working with her all summer, but we kept coming up against the same routine over and over again: Rachel would be able to eat from a bottle. There would be much rejoicing, and then I would spend a day (ok, maybe 2 or 3) nursing her because I want her to be able to take a bottle and breastfeed. And then we would give her a bottle, which she would bulk at, and the cycle would continue.

The day Eric climbed out of his crib, Rachel decided to drain bottle after bottle. Turns out she hated the formula we were giving her. She now would rather drink from a bottle. This is great turn of events because it means I can get out and have a date that lasts longer than 3 hours. It also sucks in that she now barely nurses, and my boobs are killing me!

I remember when I was pregnant with Eric. I had read all the literature on breastfeeding, and there was no way I would introduce a foreign substance filled with crazy artificial crap to my baby. Then the reality of breastfeeding set in, and I realized that it wasn't easy. Having to feed Eric every 2-3 hours around the clock made me want to shoot myself. Then again, it could have been the postpartum depression. I don't do well on less than 6 hours of sleep a night, and I was a wreck for weeks. Eric would nurse for awhile, then stop latching on and scream his head off. And then I got an infection which forced me to switch to formula.

That infection turned out to be a life-saver. While it was a pain to mix and wash bottles every day, it made Eric thrive and allowed me the freedom to give bottle duty to my husband, family, and even friends who were thrilled (for some odd reason) about feeding my baby. John and I could go away for weekends without the baby! I lost weight; my breasts didn't hurt. For those shorts trips, I felt like I could be someone besides a mom...

... And I felt horribly guilty. Was I a bad mother for not nursing my son? Am I a bad mother for weaning my daughter onto formula at only 4 months? What about all the research that suggests I was/am hurting their health, their IQ, and their ability to bond with me (among other things)?

I can't speak yet for Rachel. But Eric is 19 months old, and I sometimes wish formula had dumbed him down a bit. That little rascal can figure out an electronic device in record time and has never had a cold, much less an illness (though I'm not complaining about his health!). And it apparently didn't hurt the bonding process because he's now permanently attached to my leg.

Maybe Rachel won't fare as well, but I've discovered that there really are different strokes for different folks. I love seeing women breastfeed their babies, and I feel such pride in what their doing. I also see women feeding their babies formula, and I wonder if they suffered through the guilt that I did. I hope they feel as good about the choice they've made as I have.

I will never understand why we women can be so judgmental on our own sex. It's bad enough that society tells us we should all be a size 2, June Cleaver for our kids, and sex pots for our husbands. What about us? Motherhood has made me feel lost at times. Does it make every woman feel as if she's lost her bearings? Do other moms get pissed off that they always put their families over themselves, as I do? Do other moms feel like they have to choose between their identity as the person they once knew and someone they may or may not want to become?

Or am I totally nuts?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crib versus Floor

I should preface this entry with the story of how we (by "we" I mean "John") figured out that Eric could climb out of his crib.

Yesterday while I was at the spa, my kids decided to nap simultaneously (WHY can't they do this when I'm watching them alone??!!). So our friend Laurie napped on the couch and John went upstairs to our bedroom to read. While he was reading he heard a giant THUNK. Then a minute later he heard our baby gate latch at the top of the stairs. He called to Laurie, thinking maybe she had heard Rachel or Eric and was going to check on them, closing the gate behind her. When he heard no answer, John got up and saw that not only was the baby gate latched but Eric's door was open. He walked in to find my son standing next to his crib smiling up at him as if to say, "Hi Dada! Look what I did!"

This is where I interject and say God bless my son for being a "J," hyper-organized and type A like his mom. What would have happened if he hadn't thought to himself 'The baby gate should be closed when I'm upstairs' and had tumbled down the stairs??!!

So today Eric continued to climb out of his crib- first this morning and then at nap time. John and I decided that Eric wasn't quite ready for a toddler bed. How do you tell a kid who can't speak yet and doesn't understand that he can hurt himself that a toddler bed is where he needs to sleep?

So for his nap we kept going back in and putting him back in the crib. And he kept climbing out of his crib, heading for the door (which is now closed with a toddler lock). This went on several times, and finally Rachel (who was sleeping through the whole thing, God bless her) woke up. I go into her room to nurse her and when I come out I find that Eric has climbed out again, but John hasn't put him back in the crib. I freak and ask John (okay, I order him) to go back in there and PUT HIM BACK. So John does. And wakes up Eric in the process who was asleep on the floor near the door. And Eric... climbs back out again. And falls asleep on the floor. Again. (Should I even mention that he woke up from his nap overly tired and very grumpy?)

John and I were stumped. We finally gave up and transitioned his crib into a toddler bed. But now Eric is asleep on the floor for the night, and I'm having to defend my decision to everyone I tell our tale of woe to. Nothing makes you feel more inferior as a mother than thinking you are doing something wrong with your child. I have no idea if I'm doing the right thing- I just know I don't want my son to hurt himself. What a huge pile of suck. I just want him to sleep for God's sake. I have a daughter who won't sleep through the night and now a son who sleeps on the floor.

Does anyone know of any sweepstakes giving away free trips to Hawaii?

Eric's Red Letter Day

So today I am totally psyched because I finally get to use the Red Door Spa coupon that John gave me for our second year anniversary (yes, over a year ago). I leave the house early, with plenty of time to read what I call my "smut magazines" (I have to catch up on the Jon-Kate drama, and... OMG Jessica Simpson is dating a Redskin QB??!! Crap, the season's over already!).

I get my massage, and knowing full well that I won't be able to do this again for a long, long, LONG time, I hang out for a bit. I even take a shower just so I can overload on the free Elizabeth Arden skin and hair care products.

Then I come home to what I hope will be two sleeping babies. Yes, I'm a dreamer.

I am greeted at the door with my smiling toddler and John saying, "Guess what Eric learned to do today?"

It turns out my 19 month old learned how to:
1) Open the front door with the dead bolt engaged. I didn't know he could reach the dead bolt.
2) Climb out of his crib. This kid has flexibility international gymnasts would envy. He lifts his leg almost 180 degrees, pulls himself onto the railing and then THUNK! He hits the floor and can...
3) Open te door to his room. Which means he can now open every door in the house.

And here I was thinking that I could manage without any extra help once Laurie leaves... :-(

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yes, more pictures

Just some random pics from the past few days. (I really need to find time to write more...)

We finally got a family photo taken! I had my 15 year high school reunion, which was about as well-attended as I thought it would be (only about 8 people showed up). That pretty much sums up my high school class- apathetic, at least most people. Though at this stage in our lives, it's hard to go to anything anymore.

It was nice to see some friendly faces... and even the not-so-friendly faces. We attended a BBQ on Sunday, and everyone there had kids. I had to take Rachel because the stubborn chunky money now won't eat from a bottle (again). How in the world will John and I get out to do anything? If she ever starts eating from a bottle again, I think I'll just switch to formula. I'm tired of getting up 4 times a night, never being able to go anywhere without her. I'm not producing much milk anyway...

But I digress...

Eric going through a play tunnel- it took awhile to convince him that this was fun.

Rachel in motion.

Yes, she still has that Monchichi hair. (I haven't thought of that cartoon in forever, and a friend at the reunion mentioned her "monchichi hair." And then when I thought about it... it sounded Japanese. Sure enough- the Monchichi cartoon was imported from Japan!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wordless Weekend

Because I'll be too busy at my folks' house to post...

... and because a picture really is worth a thousand words...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Season Tickets

So after 7 years, John finally got off the waiting list for Redskins season tickets. So now the question becomes, do we buy them?

The good thing about buying now- it's cheaper than it will probably be next year (or 10 years from now when we would get off the waiting list yet again). It will be easier to upgrade to more seats (4 seats, for example). ;-) And we could sell tickets we can't use, because with 2 kids under 2, how many games would we be able to see anyway?? (Can you say ebay Cowboys tickets? Heck, that could pay for about 40% of the season ticket cost right there!)

The bad thing about buying now is the cost. At $2100 we would be paying for the tickets over the next few months. This would hurt our budget. Sadly, a plasma t.v. would be cheaper (just not a 65 inch one). We also couldn't attend a ton of games with getting a baby-sitter and me breast-feeding (plus a lot of the games this year are Monday night games. Figures).

What do you guys think? We LOVE football. We love the Skins... Just don't like spending that kind of money. But who does?? ;-)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Update on Mirena

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I posted abut Mirena a few days after getting the IUD inserted. It was a quick post, eloquently titled "Mirena Sucks."

Most of you also know that I am a part of a yahoo group of DC Metro Mommies who post messages, ask questions, and hang out whenever we can lose the guilt of getting away from the kids and coughing up the $10 an hour for a sitter. About a week ago, a woman posted a message asking for advice on whether or not she should get Mirena inserted. Since I now have about 6 weeks of living with the device, I thought I should give her my comments. I have copied and pasted the comments I sent to the group below because 1)I'm a closet narcissist and 2)it's damn funny.

(Note- KC I hope this one really makes you laugh!)

I just got Mirena inserted about 4 weeks ago. So far I'm up in the air as to whether or not I made the right choice for me. Here's my (short-term) experience though, for what it's worth...


1-No more Pill (allergic to latex) and since I got pregnant with number 2 while on the Pill, I needed something that I didn't have to remember taking. I have 2 kids under 18 months. I do NOT want another one!

2-According to my OB/GYN it is as effective as getting one's tubes tied. This is good, since I get pregnant if DH looks in my direction (See #1)

1-It hurt like hell getting inserted. For some reason this surprised me, though it shouldn't have considering they hold open your cervix with what amounts to an industrial-sized pair of pliers while shoving plastic into your uterus. It reminded me of the middle part of first stage labor. I also was in some pain walking for a few hours afterward. This could be because I had to go home and chase after my toddler while DH sat on the couch and checked his email.

2-I bled a LOT for the first two weeks. The nurse gave me a thin panty-liner when I left the office. I asked her "Will I bleed a lot from this?" Her answer was "Some women have some spotting." HA! I bled through my undies and shorts while waiting for the nice men to bring my car around at the free valet service at Reston Hospital. The bleeding continued for a few days, like a normal period, then stopped. 'Thank God,' I thought. Then... surprise! It came back. I had about 3 periods every 2-3 days. It seems to have stopped now though.

3-Every month you have to be comfortable with checking the plastic wires coming out of your cervix. I've tried and for some reason I can't feel the wires. So either I'm an idiot who's forgotten how to find my cervix or the crazy thing has dislodged, in which case I'm screwed (see #1 "Pros" again).

I couldn't tell you if it's the right choice for you, but wanted you to have some good info, even if there is a lot of TMI stuff. I think in the long term, if it stays in place, I'll be happy I did it. Until I have to get removed. I'll bring tequila to that appointment

And I swear if Mirena doesn't work, DH (who's been dragging his feet about getting a vasectomy) will be presented late one night with me carrying some chloroform and "Home Vasectomies for

All That I Really Needed to Know I Learned From Motherhood

I was thinking about all the things I've learned over the last year and a half, and how much I've changed. I only listed 20. I could have listed more. For all my readers with kids, please comment on some of your own! :-)

1-I've learned how much free time I actually had (and how unwisely I spent it) before I had kids.

2-I've learned that clothes wash, skin heals, and fun happens.

3-I've learned to never, ever judge other mothers because the moment I do, God will deal me their hand.

4-I've learned that television may rot a child's brain, but it's a great distraction for when I need to use the bathroom.

5-I've learned it is possible to be in love with more than one person at a time.

6-I've learned that I can't do it all by myself.

7-I've learned that most of the time the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and all the baby books in the world don't know nearly as much about my children as I do.

8-I've learned that the only person who is bothered by the house being messy is me.

9-I've learned that my husband is an amazing partner to have in the trenches of parenthood.

10-I've learned to eat meals standing up, and to forget to eat them sitting down when I actually can!

11-I've learned that things I used to enjoy, like fireworks and thunderstorms, become my hell on earth if they occur during bedtime.

12-I've learned that what my husband calls "caving to my kids" I call "picking my battles."

13-I've learned that sleeping in and showering are luxuries that I will never again take for granted.

14-Sadly (though I would never do this), I've learned how some mothers can lose it and hurt their kids. Thankfully, I'm learning daily how to have a tremendous amount of patience.
Note: That was maybe too sobering to post, but I honestly feel that empathy for women like this is not only something I've learned, but something that had to be said.

15-I've learned that my mother is the most amazing woman alive.

16-I've learned to enjoy my children.

17-I've learned that time really does go by too fast.

18- I've learned that the hardest job in the world doesn't bring home a pay-check.

19- I've learned to put another person's needs (or two... or three) ahead of my own.

20-I've learned to give up being a perfectionist. At least for now. ;-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Naptime Prayer

Now I lay you down for nap
I pray to God you will not crap
and hope you sleep a good, long time
giving mommy a chance to unwind.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Nothing makes me crazier. You know your kids are tired. In the case of Eric, you know he's exhausted because he's hitting everything in sight and screaming in your face. In the case of Rachel... errr... well, I think this chick is an insomniac.

So you put them in their respective cribs and pray they sleep. Eric is usually pretty good about napping, but today he has decided that he would rather roll around and yell baby babble at the monitor. And Rachel... Lord. She's been up since 7:30am. Wide awake, not cranky or crying. Why did I have to birth the only baby who switched to a one nap cycle at the age of 3 months? She drives me crazy. But I'm trying to be optimistic- maybe she'll sleep through the night tonight.

Laurie (who felt like baking cookies this afternoon... I would never be so bold) will be leaving at 5pm tonight. John doesn't get home until 7. God help me. Two overtired, overstimulated kids.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

This is what happens when 2 geeks procreate

Why is it...?

That when one child won't nap, the other naps well?

That I can't find my nursing bra when I know exactly where I set it down?? (Mommy brain strikes again!)

When everyone in my family is awake (2 babies and John is quite a feat) and able to go to church, we end up not going in order to see a friend we haven't seen in ages (and then that friend can't come over at the last minute)?

That when John and I FINALLY get off the waiting list for Redskins Season Tickets (John's been on the list since 2002- two years before we started dating!), we have a toddler and a newborn (and therefore a)can't afford them, or b)can't go to any games!)???

That when you give a toddler Benedryl, the ONE TIME you want him to get sleepy, he ends up getting hyper-active?

That one of the few times I can sit down and update my blog, I have nothing cool to say??!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm burning Babywise

I'm usually not into book burning. But I've HAD it with my 3 month old.

Just ONE DAY after posting to my mom's board about how Babywise was the best sleeping method book ever published, and how it got both of my kids sleeping through the night at 3 months, Rachel decides she's HAD it with night sleeping. So she is now waking me up every 3 hours. She's tired, but wants some comfort, I guess, so she thinks of my boobs. Lovely. She's not really hungry. She'll nurse for less than 5 minutes then fall back asleep.

And since it takes me, a raging insomniac, about an hour to fall asleep after getting up for only a 5 minute cuddle session when I have to get up at 7am for Eric, I want to sell her to gypsies.

So now I have to swallow my pride and post to the list, hoping another mom has had a similar experience and can give me some advice.

And to think that an 8 hour night was once considered a BAD thing... DH and I yawned through our anniversary dinner last night, and almost fell asleep during the Harry Potter movie.

Oh, the things I never thought I'd do until I had kids... :-(

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Woodrow the White House Mouse...

is the new bane of my existence. Eric loves this book. I am reading it to him so many times during the day that I literally dream of reading the book at night. And since Rachel continues to wake up for an early morning feeding, I appreciate my dreams not sucking.

It's a cool book actually. It outlines the powers of the executive branch and gives children a colorful tour of the White House from the point of view of a newly elected President mouse and his family. It sounds boring, but it's a cute book. And as a former social studies teacher I wish I had a copy of this when I was desperately trying to get my ESL students to pass the standardized test for American Government.

Eric has actually said "Woodrow." And when I ask Eric to point to Woodrow, he can point him out on the cover and on every page.

But he won't say "mama." I'll tell him, "Eric, say 'mama!'" And he smiles and says, "Dada!"

Either my son is mentally challenged or enjoys screwing with me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pictures from our July 4th BBQ

Because everyone wants to see pictures of the kids... :-)

Eric finds the ice bucket full of beer.

Laurie holding Rachel (who still has that David Beckham hair!)

Eric has now become a picky eater. It's not what we're feeding him; it's what he actually eats. Tonight's fare? Doritoes! :-(