Monday, June 30, 2008

Random thoughts

Okay, this is going to be a really disjointed, uncreative, rambling sort of entry. I'm slightly fried from writing 22 new pages of my novel over the past week!! This has got to be an all-time record for me. Not even in grad school did I write 22 pages in a week. I don't know if I can keep up this pace for the next 300 pages, but I'm hoping.

And now we're on to the next topic...see I told you this would be disjointed. Has anyone else out there seen Wall-E? I bought tickets online when we went to see it and that turned out to be really unnecessary as there were all of five other people in the audience with us. It is definitely not your run-of-the-mill Disney Pixar movie. Wall-E the robot is no Buzz Lightyear...but, boy was this a GREAT movie! My kids really enjoyed themselves, but Brandon and I thought it was thought provoking and really smart. I'm too fried right now to go into much more detail than that, but just go see it and then you'll see what I'm talking about. It will definitely make you think long and hard about the trash you throw away and what it's doing to our planet. It definitely sealed the deal for me in terms of giving cloth diapers a shot with baby #3. I don't think I can justify the mountain of disposable diapers my sweet little babe will leave behind in some landfill long after we are all gone. The thought of Wall-E building his sad trash skyscrapers out of all those diapers is just too much to bear.

Speaking of baby #3, have I mentioned that we did end up finding out the sex of the baby and that it is a......drum roll please.....boy! Woo hoo!! I love having a boy...I love their stinky feet, their love of all things with wheels and their absolute devotion to all things Mommy. I feel like I am growing my next biggest fan in my tummy right now, which is very motivating and exciting. The only thing I do not relish about having a boy is naming them. I think boy names are very hard. And now we're sort of locked into a baby-naming trend with Emma and Charlie. Like, we can't just up and name our third baby Jacques or Rocco. That would be a little weird. I absolutely love thinking about baby names in the abstract, love looking at all those baby name websites where you can look up names and talk about names with all the other baby name nerds out there in cyberspace. But, when it comes to actually coming up with a name for YOUR baby that is not like some hypothetical baby you would have if you were a lot cooler than you really are or if you were married to a rock star or something, but your real baby that will reflect who you are as a couple and what you're all about, it's hard. Run-on sentence, anyone? I'm too tired to even care anymore.

So anyone got any good boy baby names for me that "go" with Emma and Charlie? If so, comment away please!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Diaper Genie

Here's a funny/interesting article about being a daycare worker. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine a more difficult job than taking care of other people's children. My hat's off to daycare workers everywhere.

Happy Thursday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Room of One's Own

It has been a rough 12 hours...we attempted our first camping trip with some friends from church and things did not end well (thunderstorm, insomnia, vomit in the tent). We high-tailed it out of there at around 5 this morning when Emma started puking up s'mores all over a sleeping Charlie. Amazingly, Charlie slept through everything and would probably still be snoozing away in the stinky tent if not for the fact that we peeled his clothes off of him and stuck him in the car seat in the pre-dawn darkness of the Virginia woods. Brandon and I probably slept a collective two hours last night. Actually I think I slept two hours and Brandon slept zero hours. We made it home, took showers, and were all tucked back in our glorious big-kid beds by 6:15. I have never been so happy to see my rented townhouse. It has never felt so much like home with its clean sheets, showers and laundry so readily available. Here are the other things I am thankful for at the moment:
1) Emma has not puked again and does not seem like she's going to. Also her fever seems to be gone. In addition, she is a very cute sick person.
2) Our new tent does not leak.
3) The kids went back to sleep after we got home, so we managed to carve out another three hours of sleep, bringing my nightly total to a decent five hours, about as much as I was hoping for on a campout.
4) I am currently in the process of making pancakes for breakfast.
5) I have a new "room" to write in and a new plan for getting my writing done this summer.

As part of my mother's day/birthday present I asked to do an “Extreme Makeover: Balcony Edition" on our tiny deck off the kitchen/playroom. Hence the trip to Ikea for the patio furniture. I also bought these metal tubs at Ikea so that I could fill them with plants like this article suggests doing. I hadn't gotten around to planting anything until this week because I didn't want to plant stuff right before going out of town for ten days. So, I planted everything on Friday and now I have this outdoor room to call my own. According to Virginia Woolf, there are three things a woman needs in order to write: a room of one's own, money, and I forget the other one....I think it's antidepressants maybe? Virginia Woolf was not a mom. There is probably a much, much longer list of things a mom who wants to write needs, like self-cleaning toilets, children who nap on cue, an understanding and supportive husband, and maybe an open line of credit at Anthroplogie. (Not sure how that last one relates to writing...I just really like that store, so as long as we're making imaginary lists I thought I'd include it.) Most importantly though, a writing mom needs a room of her own, or at least this writing mom does. So now I have my little balcony filled with pretty flowers and cute patio furniture. It helps me slip away from the realities of puke-covered sleeping bags and the sounds of Charlie's construction vehicles, which make one think that a parking garage is being built in our playroom.

My plan is to use my room to write at least three pages a day on my novel every day this summer. I figure if I do that for three months, then I will have roughly three hundred pages of something resembling a novel by the time the baby comes (at which point I won't even have an arm or a breast to call my own). My new "room" is hopefully going to make it appealing to get up before the kids, have my cup of half-caff and do my work outside in the morning, when my brain seems to be running on most of its cylinders. I'm sure some days I won't make it out of bed, so my back-up plan is to take the kids to the Y where I have up to two hours of free babysitting I can use to workout and then type. OR we can go to this new place that was sent straight from heaven to our suburb called At Play Cafe. Basically At Play Cafe is this genius combination of Starbucks and Gymboree. Parents can drink coffee and work on one side of a half-wall while their children play blissfully on the other side. There are child care people supervising the kids so you can do work or you could always make all the other working parents look bad and venture over the half-wall to play with your child/children. I'm not paying $14 bucks to play with my kids I can generally be found on the cafe side of the half-wall. If all of these plans don't work, then I'm going to make myself write after the kids go to bed, but this is not my best time of day. I can barely focus on a TV show at this point in the day, so I'm hoping to avoid the post-bedtime writing session.

So there are my big plans. I'm putting them out in cyberspace so that I will have to be somewhat accountable. Please help me stay on task. I promise to give updates of how the novel’s coming as I make progress. I am so grateful for the support I get from all my friends and family scattered everywhere and from the people I don’t even know who sneak a peek at my little life now and then. I don’t know what I would do without you all. I think that's one more thing a writing mom needs--a blog to know she's not alone.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goodbye, vacation. Hello, summer!

We just flew in from Texas and boy are my arms tired. We went on our first airplane ride sans stroller which definitely expedited things in security, but meant that we were carrying Charlie and our many carry-ons through the airport. It's all well and good to try to refuse Charlie's demands to be held, but he is the master at the leg grab. Once he has latched on your choice is to miss your flight and spend the next ten days at the Au Bon Pain outside of gate 23 or just pick him up.
When I say we 'just' flew in from Texas, that is a bit of an exaggeration...we got back two days ago, but I feel like I'm just now getting back into the swing of things. It's amazing how long it can take me to get my groove back after a trip. I blame it on all the blood circulating away from my head and toward my tummy. Speaking of tummies, mine has grown exponentially since being away. When we left for Texas not even two weeks ago I was still able to pass myself off as a slightly chubby person who perhaps needed to cut back on the Budweisers. Now, I am unmistakably a waddling, pregnant person who can barely make it from a sitting position to a standing position without assistance. I was trying on maternity clothes about a month ago and thinking how crazy big they all are and how they will never fit and I will just have to buy all new smaller maternity clothes. Uh, yeah, whatever. I can't believe that it is my third time gestating and I actually thought I would never fill out my maternity clothes. Well, needless to say I will not be going on any maternity shopping sprees anytime soon. My old clothes fit just fine.

We had a great time in Texas seeing all of our relatives. We got to spend time with Gigi & Granddad in Hutto, Texas and then we were off to Bastrop to hang out with the Mimi & Granddaddy side of the family. I finally managed to finish Atonement and in the end I really liked it. If not for publicly stating that I planned to read the book I might not have made it through the middle section about the war. That part was not as much fun as the beginning or the end in my opinion. What did you think, one person who read the book? I'm curious...feel free to comment below. You know who you are.

At the risk of boring you to tears, I now want to share some of my favorite vacation photos...

Charlie typing a few emails before we take off.

Here's Charlie blowing out the candles on his pool party cake.

Pool Party Cake!!! In my opinion one of the best parts about being a mom is that you get to make silly cakes (and eat them). This cake was very easy and fun to make...just slap a few bathing suits on some Teddy Grahams and you're halfway there.

Brandon and Emma sporting the visors we made at the pool party. This turned out to be a really fun craft. Turns out everyone loves wearing funny visors!

Charlie making s'mores with his cousins at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, Texas. We ate s'mores almost every night of our 4-night stay at the Hyatt...hmmm...maybe that's why the tummy is a little bigger this week?

One happy girl and her s'more.

Emma preparing for her pony ride. Is beaming too strong a word to use here? They had her at the helmet.

I think this might be our only family picture from the whole trip. I think it is hilarious.

Charlie's turn riding "Buddy Love" (insert Brokeback Mountain joke here).

That's all for now...we had a great's good to be home though. You can't eat birthday cake, s'mores and ride ponies forever. Now it's back to our lazy summer days spent at home watching our tomato plants and my tummy grow. I am looking forward to filling the time with walks to the library, time spent at home watching my kids invent wild scenarios involving super heroes, babies and parking garages and I'm sure there will be a time-out or two along the way. Happy first day of summer to you! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Sentiments Exactly

Now that we are in full summer vacation mode (i.e., no preschool) and Charlie has decided he doesn't need a nap anymore I have found that I have very little time on my hands. Lately my time is spent helping the kids with their various weird projects that they come up with. Here's a rundown of what we did yesterday:

  • Charlie makes "coffee" by scooping the dirt from our poor little tomato sproutlings into a funnel attachment on his water table.
  • Charlie has potty accident #1
  • I do my ten millionth load of laundry for the week
  • Emma makes "apple soup" by taking three plastic bowls, a colander and a pot out of my kitchen and pouring water and apples from one container to the next.
  • I clean up apple soup aftermath
  • We go down three flights of stairs to play outside and ride bikes
  • Everyone decides they're hungry, so we go back upstairs to make sandwiches and bring everything back downstairs.
  • I read about 1/4 of an article in the paper while sitting on the front steps.
  • There is screaming and much commotion coming from Charlie on his scooter (potty accident #2).
  • We all go inside for a change of clothes for Charlie.
  • We all go back outside to ride bikes again.
  • I read another 1/4 of a newspaper article
  • Emma decides she's sticky and wants to take a shower.
  • We go up four flights of stairs to the shower.

This gets us to about 12:30 or so. The rest of the day was worse...Charlie opted not to nap and just hung out in his room fooling with the radio and playing with cars instead. Ever since the big-kid bed came into our lives, Charlie has not napped. I am beginning to think the big-kid bed was a big, bad mistake. But, I would hate to be going through this transition with Charlie when I have a newborn, so I want to get the torture over with now. Charlie does perfectly fine without a nap until about six p.m. and then he is a hot mess. He flings himself all around, throws things and behaves as though he needs to be strapped down and given an epidural. Last night I was happily making brinner (Breakfast for dinner! Everyone's favorite!), thinking I would ply Charlie with french toast, eggs and bacon and then tuck him into bed nice and early (thanks to the tornado that came through earlier the sky was blessedly dark at 6:30 and I actually had a shot at getting the kids to bed much earlier than normal). Instead of eating his brinner, Charlie went into full meltdown mode and was inconsolable. Meanwhile, Emma could not be bothered to come eat because she was having a Project Runway moment. She was determined to make an "all-star shirt" so that she could play super girl. I don't know how she came up with the idea for this shirt, but she would not stop until she had completed her mission. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too busy holding a foaming-at-the-mouth Charlie to point and shoot. Anyway this shirt was incredible. First she made actual sleeves and drew stars on them. The sleeves fit her arms perfectly. Then she cut out the bodice part and taped it all together and it was an actual shirt! I was truly impressed. I have never been able to sew anything, but I have a great respect for those who can. I was telling Emma how proud I was in between Charlie's screams and saying she should celebrate her shirt with some yummy brinner, but then she got really frustrated that she couldn't get the shirt over her head (the shirt needed a zipper). So then in true diva fashion, she ripped the shirt from her body and tore it to shreds, crying in a dramatic heap on the floor.

So much for brinner. Thankfully the kids did go to bed earlier than normal, thus leading me to the conclusion that I could solve a lot of the problems in my life with blackout curtains in the kids' room. Then it will always be bedtime in there (evil laugh).

I read this blog last night that made me laugh with relief that I am not alone in my quest for a little me-time. Yesterday was not my finest moment as a mom. I felt resentful of my job as part-cleaning lady, part-Nurse Ratchet and I know the kids picked up on it. Generally, I prefer for my job to be more like that of Julie the cruise director from Love Boat. Oh well, today is a new day and I will try to be better. I will also try to find some blackout curtains.