Monday, August 31, 2015

Post Weekend

It's been approximately forever since I've taken enough (or any) photos over a weekend that was somewhat worthwhile to write about.

Since about the time I started feeling all bleh from being pregnant in fact.  Like that's a coincidence.

So.  Last weekend before daddy leaves to work out-of-town be like:

Hanging with friends (both big and small), who just so happen to have an awesome piano. I'll leave to your imagination the sound that filled the house with these three virtuosos at the keys.  (I think "cacophony" would be a polite word for it.)

Also, you can tell that the wonderful friends whose house we took over don't have kids yet, because they had time to make adorable snacks like this:

(Fan of the grapes.)

(Fan of using her finger to lick up the peanut butter from the graham cracker.)

We also be like:

Last chance to use daddy as a trampoline.  At least until next weekend.

And, most importantly:


Family run (in least the little ones) for ice cream.

(If you're local, this is our favorite ice cream in town.  Super creamy, the Sequoya location has kid-friendly tables and a play area, and the S'mores flavor is on point, yo.)

The next day we had to say the first of many weekly good-byes to come.

Of course, the best picture I could get of this be like:

I missed a golden photo opportunity (all three looking, smiling, everyone's head in view) by about .578 seconds.  As usual.

We calmed ourselves with a walk after waving a tearful bye-bye as daddy pulled away.

Don't sit too close to each other, guys.  You might confuse someone into thinking that you like each other.

(Got any black speckled rocks?  Go fish.)

One day down, four to go.

Can't wait until next weekend, daddy!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Life, Lately (Alternate Title: Do ALL the Things!)

Some years are full of life.  An extra shot of life, if you will.  We've had some big years. 2010 was an extra dose or two of life.  I graduated college and we got married, which also meant moving to a new state.  2014, Lord knows that was a big year, what with having twins and all.

And then 2015 rolled around.

God has decided that the stretch from May-October would be a great time for us Williamses to:
  1. Graduate with a PhD (Tyson).
  2. Grow a third child (me.  Tyson sort of played a part).
  3. Upgrade to a minivan.
  4. Start a new job (Tyson).
  5. Buy a house (also mostly me).
  6. Move to a new state/city.
Major life events: might as well do 'em all at once.

(Just a sampling of our mail today.  Three letters: one with ultrasound instructions, one congratulating us on the purchase of our home, and one on the titling/licensing of our van. These letters contain instructions that range from "call to follow up on this paperwork" to the ever popular "DO NOT EMPTY YOUR BLADDER".)

That list should come with subsections, though, since starting a new job means Tyson will be working out-of-town each week in the meantime (training on-site before he can work from home remotely permanently) (thankfully he will be home on the weekends in the meantime) (what am I supposed to do with two 1 1/2 year olds all week?) (parentheses!), buying a house means omg the paperwork! And getting insurance! And all sorts of documents from the past few months/years/lifetimes! And the paperwork!  (Also, Tyson accepted his job offer last Friday afternoon, the offer on the house was put in at about 11:00 that night, and accepted by 11:00 the following morning.  Just a normal weekend around here.)  (And I LOOOOOVE the house.  Tyson has never seen it.  It's fine.)  And moving to a new state/city means spending the next month and a half purging, packing, and cleaning. While Tyson is mostly gone.  And Caden and Brooklyn are still around.  See: it's fine, we'll survive, etc.

(We still require things like food and attention!  And you should probably be teaching us things so we can grow up to be functional members of society!)

So, as you can tell, we have absolutely nothing going on around here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Minivan Mama

Recently, at the tender age of 28, I became the driver of...

a minivan.

(A 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE if you wanna get all specific-like.)

With Baby Three on the way, we desperately needed to upgrade (y'know, to something that would actually fit three not the Prius).  I fought it.  I really did.

Self: We need a bigger car.  Like an SUV.
Self 2: Or a minivan?
Self: NO.  NOT a minivan.  I'm young.  I'm not giving up on life so easily.  Like an SUV. With three rows.
Self 2: A Suburban?
Self: Jeesh.  That's like driving a semi.  Try again.
Self 2: If you get a minivan, you get those doors that open at the touch of a button.
Self: You are NOT gonna lure me in that easily.
Self 2: A minivan would actually have room for three carseats, a double stroller, AND groceries.
Self: Forget groceries.  We'll manage.
Self 2: And the cupholders!  Look at all the cupholders!
Self: Oooo here's a pretty silver one.  Where do I sign?

Okay, it wasn't quite like that.  But once I saw this one I did reaaallllllllyyy like it.  And the power doors (including the back door, squeeee!) make me feel like a parking lot wizard when I pull up and hit all three buttons at the same time.  It is truly glorious.  

The gas mileage is killer, especially coming from the Prius, but obviously we knew that.

And when we drive on longer trips?  This is my view:

(What are we going to do with all this room?)

(Happy because of the new(ish) car?  Nope, those grins are because they have snacks.)

Instead of this:

I'm still cool guys, I swear.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On Boy vs. Girl Toys (Also Known As Toys)

(This is something that has been on my mind for awhile, but much more so given the recent news frenzy...)

When Target announced that they were no longer going to be labeling toys for boys or for girls, my first thought was, "Yay!  Great!".  My second thought was, "Wait, why is this news, and why is it such big news that it is absolutely blowing up my news feed?"

Then I saw some of the reactions.  I was naive enough to think that my first reaction, a celebratory yay and "of course", would be everyone's reaction.  Obviously not.  Duh.  People from certain christian organizations decried the move since "God created two different genders" (major facepalm at these times for having to also identify myself as a christian).  A friend on Facebook posted that she overheard a conversation between a Target employee and a customer-at one of our own local Targets in my very liberal city-emphatically proclaiming that there were toys for kids with penises and toys for kids with vaginas for good reason.

I don't think these people have ever been in a room of boys and girls under the age of five or so playing together.

I have the somewhat unique perspective of having two kids-one with a penis and one with a vagina-of the exact same age (Caden's two minutes over Brooklyn not withstanding).  To them, toys are toys are toys.  We don't buy exclusively "gender neutral" toys, and I don't avoid or ban things that are more traditionally considered "boys toys" or "girls toys".  It doesn't personally bother me that Brooklyn's versions of things are pink, while Caden's are blue or green.  They each have a set of Duplos-one primarily pink, one primarily green-that all got jumbled together a long time ago.  Neither of them care about what color the blocks are (yet).  Blocks are blocks, as long they snap together to build the biggest tower we possibly can.  They play equally with their riding/push toys-"Caden's" is in bright primary colors while "Brooklyn's" is a Frozen-themed powder blue and purple confection.  All they know is they can push and ride on both of them.

(A random assortment of toys that I quite literally found on our living room floor.  Boy and girl toys all together, oh the horror!)

What does bother me is when other people push Caden and Brooklyn into gender specific play when Caden and Brooklyn themselves don't freaking care.  Nothing gets my dander up faster than when I  hear people tell Caden not to play with something because it's a "girl's toy", or because "it's pink".  Even worse, when people tell him that it's a girl's toy, so it's "yucky".  What is that teaching him?  What is that teaching Brooklyn?  They are a year and a half old, and kids are smarter than we give them credit for.  I don't want either of them from this young age to get the idea that Brooklyn is inferior because she is a girl, or that Caden and his toys are better because he happens to be male.  One of Caden's favorite toys is a pink purse.  Why does he like it?  Because it makes noise when it opens (appealing to the boy-or heck-the little kid in him). he loves to put things in and out of containers of all kinds, and he can carry it around.  That's it.  He doesn't know or care that it's pink or that it's for girls.  And I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Similarly, Caden is gifted sports toys, and is then encouraged to use them, while Brooklyn is not.  Why isn't the basketball hoop/soccer ball/bat and ball/whatever for both of them?  Last I checked, girls played sports, too.  Girls sports are already devalued enough, without discouraging them from even playing.  When Caden is given a sports toy and then encouraged to learn how to use it, while Brooklyn stands by, it is insulting to both me and my daughter.  

At home, Caden and Brooklyn rotate together throughout the day, playing with all of their toys.  Dolls, blocks, trucks, a toy kitchen, pink and blue toys of all types.  I don't really encourage or discourage's just what they do.  If either of them brings me a toy, I take the opportunity to play with them, whether Brooklyn brings me a truck or Caden brings me a doll.  I personally grew up with a sandbox and a whole boatload of trucks and tractors...and I also played with Barbies.  Why should I encourage Caden to play sports toys and not with dolls?  Odds are, he will be a father someday, while he may enjoy sports...or he may not.  Why shouldn't Brooklyn learn to play sports and build with blocks, as well as with dolls?

I'm kind of excited by the opportunity of having boy-girl twins to see how this toy scenario plays out as they get older.  I feel like Caden will have the chance to learn respect for girls and women from a young age that he may not get otherwise.  (If I ever hear him taunt Brooklyn or anyone else that they "throw like a girl", I will smack his little bottom.)  I love that they have played with all types of toys-of both the traditional boy and girl variety-right from the beginning, since both types of toys have always been around.  I think the more they are exposed to, the more they will learn.  And who can argue with that?

Monday, August 10, 2015

The First Trimester...Plus Toddlers

Early pregnancy is no joke.

Early pregnancy with two toddlers around?  Yikes.

Even though I worked almost up to the day Caden and Brooklyn were born, I more or less had control over my schedule.  In the early days, I often came home, ate dinner, and went to bed...around 6 pm.  I was exhausted even when I woke up at 7 the next morning.  I could eat what I wanted more or less when I wanted it, and banned Tyson to another room when I couldn't stand to look at or smell what he was eating.  These days not only do I have to look at and smell a lot of things that make my stomach turn, I have to prepare them, too. Scrambled eggs, usually a staple around our place, have become my nemesis. (Fried eggs, though, are okay.  Go home, food aversions, you're drunk.)  Chicken nuggets, which I bought as an easy out as meals for Caden and Brooklyn, (organic, gluten-free...oh who am I kidding? They are still chicken in nugget form.), are not friends with me these days.  Veggies?  Don't even look at me.  Carbs are great, though!  If Caden and Brooklyn turn into the kind of kids who only eat mac and cheese, it's totally this third baby's fault.

We've had to scale back our schedule, limiting our two outings a day to maybe (hopefully) one.  And not in the afternoon.  By the time 2:30 rolls around I'm ready to go to bed.  For the night.  The park is kind of exhausting, and I know it's summer, but can we just go to the library again?  Horizontal parenting of the just-bring-all-your-toys-and-books-here-while-I-lay-on-the-couch variety has been my parenting "style" as of late.

Don't even get me started on the last time I cleaned anything in our apartment.  (In the back of my mind I'm thinking, "We're going to be moving can just wait, right?")  I'm lucky if the toys even get picked up anymore, which I usually tend to religiously every night and naptime.

(So bored from being inside that they've resorted to playing with mine and Tyson's laundry hampers.  Which we may have had since college.  Don't judge.)

And still...we're surviving.  Caden and Brooklyn are learning more and more to be independent in their play and activities.  The other night I put a lasagna in the oven for dinner (don't sound too impressed, I bought it from the local Italian deli) (garlic bread, too) (MOAR CARBS PLZ) and during the hour it baked, Caden and Brooklyn played by themselves.  THE ENTIRE TIME.  While I read a book and dozed on the couch.  It was amazing.  And while I sometimes feel guilty for not interacting with them much, (mom guilt, it'll get ya every time), I know that the more they learn to do things on their own the easier it will be once baby comes.  Lord knows I'm with them all day, every day anyway. They can do with some independent play.  Tyson and the kids have been on their own more and more for dinner, while he runs to get whatever sounds good to me at THAT EXACT MOMENT for my dinner.  We've been eating more takeout, and since we're not really doing anything else, it hasn't really taken a toll on our budget like I thought it would.

Despite our lack of nutrition (it's getting better...salads sound good again!), I know from last time that this is all just a phase.  I will cook again.  The nugget-shaped foods will remain out of our cart and on their frozen grocery store shelves.  I'll be able to get up and moving and we'll get outside and to the park again.  And, probably pretty soon, I won't be quite so tired (y'know...until the baby arrives).

Until then, you can find me on the couch.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Next Step: Plot Twist

So I've had A LOT to say, but haven't been able to say it because...

Even when I did have something to say I've been too tired/nauseous/in the bathroom peeing for the 986th time to write it down anyway, and anything I did have to say would have been something like:

a.)  I'm soooooooooo exhaus-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
b.)  Everything I wanted to eat today sounded good until it was in front of me on the plate.

or even just:

c.)  ZOMG WE'RE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111!!!!!

So there's that.

We had different, somewhat nomadic plans for the upcoming year that I kepet meaning to write about but then THIS happened and those plans were NOT AT ALL compatible with adding a newborn to the mix, so we promptly quashed everything and instead are busy with:

  1. Tyson finding a job.  So...
  2. We can move back to the Twin Cities to be closer to family.  To do this we need...
  3. To buy a house.  But...
  4. Before we can do that, we need to get approved for a mortgage.  Which, we've been pre-approved (yay!), but can't be officially, really, truly, approved and set things into motion until...
  5. Tyson finds a job.
Tyson is close on the job front, I've been looking at homes like crazy, and we're looking, hoping, with fingers crossed that we'll be ready to move by the end of this month or early the next. like three weeks away.  And I haven't packed a damn thing.  Or looked into hiring movers.  Or informed our apartment office when exactly we'll be leaving.  Oh, and along with all of this Caden and Brooklyn are still around and need things like: food. And diaper changes.  And attention.  

It'll be FINE.

(My due date is February 27th (according to our first ultrasound), which is exactly a week after Caden and Brooklyn's second birthday.  Sorry, guys.  Here's hoping that you won't have to share your birthday with another sibling.)