Monday, June 27, 2016

Project Sandbox

So if you follow me over on Instagram, you already know what our Friday night consisted of:

Operation: Sandbox.

Let's just say these kids aren't afraid of a little dirt.

Or a lot of it, either.

I thought the dirt-butt pictured above was bad, but that was just a taste of what was to come...

(Brooklyn, every time the sand started sliding down the bed of the trailer even a little bit: "It's coming!")

Because clearly, if a truck backs up to dump out a ton of sand in your backyard, it's sand-slide time.  (Great idea, Dad!  I'll be sending you the laundry bill.)

We often add a few drop of food coloring to the twins' bath water for fun, colorful baths. In case you can't tell, this was not necessary on Friday night.  As soon as Caden and Brooklyn touched the water it was ALL OF THE BROWN.  I'm not sure they got any cleaner sitting in it, actually.

And yes, I was having mild heart palpitations the entire time this was going on.  SO. MUCH. DIRT.  My neat-and-tidy brain was doing all it could to not short-circuit, as it kept going back and forth between "they're having so much fun!" to "I can't EVEN with all that GRIME". And apparently I need to get used to it, since this thing is kind of a permanent fixture in our backyard.

 Oh yeah, and that dirt butt?

(Also this one.)



Possibly my proudest parenting moment.  Play had left a dark brown stain, mommy washed it white as snow.  Slightly dirty snow.  Like, you wouldn't want to eat it.  But still.  Guess I don't need to send you my laundry bill after all, Dad...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Hate Rocking My Babies to Sleep

I really do.

Okay, maybe hate is a strong word.  Don't enjoy.  Strongly dislike.  Pretty much despise. You get the idea.

It seems like such an essential part of motherhood, right?  It's such a classic image: a mother, swaying gently with a sleepy, softly swaddled baby.

It's just not for me.

I've never really enjoyed it.  Even when the twins were born...I liked snuggling them, holding them, and being close to them in general, but once it was time for them to sleep? NO THANKS.   Probably because, especially as a stay-at-home mom, I was just with them already so dang much.  I've been with you all day/morning/afternoon/whatever.  So when it's time to go to sleep, c'mon guys, just CLOSE YOUR EYES and GO TO SLEEP.  Maybe it was because the twins weren't particularly good sleepers, anyway.  I spent countless hours and logged who-even-knows how many miles pacing around our tiny apartment each and every day (and night), fighting for just about every. single. ounce. of sleep.  The carpet was surely worn out in a couple of frequently-trodden paths.  I feel like I've done my time, y'know?

That's not to say I always hate it.  Sometimes  I enjoy it.  Like when it goes the way I think it should.  Y'know, where within the first 30 seconds or so the eyes are fluttering, the breathing is slowing, and it won't take much more than another minute or so before they're fully out and I'm free.  I'm sure when I'm a blue-haired old lady I'll miss and reminisce about rocking babies to sleep.  Or maybe I'll remember all of this with a clear head.  But by then I'll be well out of the weeds of rocking babies to sleep all day every day.  Right now it's more like I enjoy - I mean REALLY ENJOY doing it - maybe once every couple of weeks or so.  The rest of the time?  Eh.  I could pass.

I used to beat myself up about it a little bit.  What's wrong with you?  Don't you have a heart?  Who doesn't enjoy rocking babies - especially their own babies! - to sleep?!?  You monster!  This is what motherhood is all about!

Nope, Mr. Big Eyes, I don't usually want to rock even you.  You're cute, though.

I finally had to realize and admit that, rocking babies to sleep?  It's just not my jam.

I don't know.  I don't think it's so essential anymore.  To enjoy it, I mean.  I still do it. It's not like I really have a choice in the matter.  (Though admittedly it's not so super frequently anymore.  Mega high-fives to super-sleeper Nolan.)  (Dear Nolan: DO NOT MAKE ME SPEAK TOO SOON.)  I don't have to enjoy or ooze love for every. single. moment. of motherhood (we can also add diffusing a toddler tantrum, cleaning up, yet again, from another messily-eaten meal or snack, and dealing with a diaper explosion of any sort to the list of I-could-totally-do-without-it moments of motherhood).

I'm good at other things.  In fact, I'm downright phenomenal at other things.  I know people that don't like reading to their kids.  I would read aloud to my kids, and your kids, and all the kids,  all the live-long day, if they'd let me.  Art with toddlers?  Bring it.  Constructing towers and houses and castles out of all different types of blocks?  And then having you knock it down and building it up again?  Playing choo-choos and creating elaborate tracks? Getting three small kids and myself up, fed, dressed, and out the door before 9 am?  I am your GIRL.

I enjoy all of those things, and more.  I'm good at them.  I like doing them.  Even the getting out the door in the morning.  

I'd just really rather not rock them to sleep.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Mommy Selfie

Before kids, I don't think I really took that many selfies.  There's probably a few of Tyson and I floating around, but I can't recall any specific selfie-type photo of me or us off the top of my head.

Enter children.  And me, the self-appointed documenter of the family.  I love taking pictures of the kids. But that means I'm not in the pictures myself.  There are times I request it ("honey, take a picture of me and the kids!"), but it can seem so forced.  We get professional pictures taken a couple times a year, mostly for this very reason, but that's not super often with how fast the kids change.  Not to mention it completely ignores my presence in the everyday.

That brings us to:

The Mommy Selfie.

I've read the articles, seen the discussion online.  Us Millennials are just so dang self-absorbed! The  ever-present selfie is yet more evidence of that (*sarcasm alert*) absolutely undeniable fact!  What's our problem?!?  Can't we stop with the selfies already?  And what's with all those pictures of our food???

I think I used to agree to an extent.  But it's not like it bothered me that other people took selfies.  Even though I never personally took selfies before kids.  And really, it does seem sort of weird to me, still, if I ever take a picture of myself without anyone else in the photo.

But now that I'm a mom?  I get it.  I want these moments to be documented.  To show that I was around.  I was there.  I remember that day at the park, in our living room, while I was singing you to sleep, too.

And sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, it's not even a good photo.  But it is a moment I want to remember.  No one was around on this night that I was rocking Nolan to sleep:

But I was.  It's not a super great picture.  It's grainy.  The lighting is terrible.  I'm pretty sure I hadn't showered in a day or two.  Nothing I would ever keep or frame to put on the wall. There wasn't anything super out of the ordinary about this night.  But I remember how much I felt these overwhelming feelings of love for Nolan, and just enjoyed being with him, rocking him (Which, true confessions: rocking babies to sleep?  Not usually my mom jam.), and how even once he was asleep I just kept rocking and rocking him.  This picture reminds of that time, that night.  A night that I would probably have otherwise forgotten.

Maybe us kids do over-document a bit too much these days.  I don't know.  It's just so easy when there's always a camera of some sort (or two or three) within arms reach.  And I know my kids won't have only their memories to rely on, when they recall a moment, and wonder if I was there.

They'll have photographic evidence.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Post (Potty Training Bootcamp) Weekend

It was...

...all undies...

...all the time.

It was also exhausting and emotionally draining.  Being stuck with your kids 24/7, not leaving the house, to train them to do something like this is so intense because of its all-consuming nature.  I think we're all sick of each other.  It sort of reminded me of the early days of twins where my days were dictated by their feeding schedule (is someone hungry?  yes, always.  all the time.), but replace "do they need to eat?" with "let's go sit on the potty!".  (Being fake-excited about going to sit on the potty for the 347th time in a row: ALSO EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING.)  Thank the Lord that Nana and Papa stopped by last night to offer some relief in the child-wrangling department, and, more importantly: dinner.

Caden's reaction when the potty chairs arrived in the mail on Friday and we opened the box: "Oh.  my.  GOSH."  Then we immediately took them to the bathroom where the above happened.  No Caden is not wearing any pants.  He had both pants and diaper stripped off before he even got to the bathroom.

Which should have been my first clue as to how things were going to go down over the weekend. did it go?

(Quick synopsis: we didn't use any particular "method" but through my quick scan of the internets went with essentially a "3-day" or potty-training bootcamp-type style.  (Which: isn't all potty training basically a bootcamp for the first few days?)  We kept them only in underwear (which they had picked out last week) (Thomas the Train ("choo choos!") for Caden, Frozen for Brooklyn ("so-man!"),  no pants, kept water and juice boxes always within arms reach, and set a timer to run them to the potty every 15-20 minutes or so.  No leaving the house.  We did go outside the second day but brought the potties out with us.  They also got an M&M as a reward every time they went in the potty.)  (Parentheses!!!)

Whoever said that boys are harder to potty train than girls is a lying LIAR.  Caden is basically potty trained already.  He went immediately the first time he sat on the potty Saturday morning, and has gone every single time that he's sat on the potty afterwards.  He has had almost no accidents.  By late Saturday morning he was already telling us when he had to go, even while in the middle of playing.  By Saturday afternoon I was pretty sure that he was milking us for all the M&Ms we were worth, because he was going potty about every 10 minutes whether we prompted him to or not, mostly just a few drops.  Then he would triumphantly proclaim "Nem-en-em!".

Brooklyn on the other hand...

She's been stubborn.  And a little bit scared.  And even though she loves reading her potty book, and gets really excited every time she DOES go on the potty ("yay ME!!!") and shows every other sign of potty-training readiness that Caden exhibits, is just not completely there yet.  The first day was mostly a failure.  The second day went a lot better.  Now today she seems to have taken a step back again.  *facepalm*  If she was the only potty-training child, I might back off and try again in a month or two, (and maybe I still will), but Caden is so THERE, and I'm hoping that his continued success will encourage her more.  Right now she seems content in the role of cheerleader, though, and is happy to clap for Caden and even help him "pick" his M&M without minding that she doesn't get one of her own.  Might have to try a different track of motivation for her.  I even tried bribing her with books and backrubs and toenail polish to get her to sit on the potty longer, but, usually...nothing.  Girl apparently has a bladder made of steel.

Caden is SUCH a rule-following lover of routine, so in many ways it doesn't surprise me that he caught on immediately.  He was so excited for his "choo choo" underwear and potty just his size, and has wholeheartedly embraced the routine of pee-dump-flush-wash hands-M&M.  (Especially the hand washing part.  "What are you going to do with the money you save on diapers?" people have asked me (which isn't actually all that much since we mostly cloth diaper).  Oh gee, I would just love to spend it on my water bill...)

Above: Potty ROCK STAR.  Keep up the good work.

Below: the only one I want to keep diapering.

If all goes according to plan (ha!) that means I will only have ONE KID in diapers.  Do you realize what that means???  I have NEVER HAD THAT before.  In fact for the first time in (approximately) FOREVER I only washed a load of diapers ONE TIME over the past few days.  

Go, Brooklyn, go.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Read, Watched, Listened

I love reading just about everything, watching documentary-type things, and have recently embraced the podcast.  I also enjoy hearing about what other people are reading, watching and listening.  Here's my two cents worth.

(Pic with baby purely for clickbait purposes.)


I used to think I didn't like memoirs.  Now I can't get enough of them.  This is actually a re-read for me.  Its's a bunch of essays - each "chapter" reads to me like a long blog post - that cover just about everything, from being a mother to aging.  I love her writing, and even though she is a generation removed from me, just find everything she says to be so relatable.

I'm probably 60% done with this one.  It's taken me awhile to get through, (I just can't plow through these kind of books like I used to #momlife), but it's like all my former science classes (and then some) condensed down into one, enjoyable book.  And so much of it is truly mind-blowing (I'm looking at pretty much all of you, physics).


If you're interested in food, chefs, or people at all, this series is SO GOOD.  Season 2 was just released last week and Tyson and I can't get enough of it.  It's well-shot, well-told, and the stories of each of these chefs are SO interesting.

Tyson and I have also been on a John Oliver kick lately.  His segments will make you laugh, throw a TON of well-researched information at you, and then leave you in tears when you realize how many problems we have in America (*cough*Trump*cough*).  With it being election year and all, we've recently enjoyed this one.

Yes, it's by Bravo.  Yes, it's kind of like the Real Housewives.  But they're all moms of little kids.  And in a mommy/therapy/parenting group together.  It's like my guilty pleasure except I don't even feel guilty about it.


I love starting my day by listening to her conversations with real-life moms, leaders, writers, and therapists (real life: I actually have to listen to an episode over the course of several days/times of the day).  She has so many good episodes, with all sorts of encouragement and PRACTICAL tips for getting through the day.  Maybe more importantly, it reminds us moms that other people have BEEN THERE.  I just listened to Episode 64: For the Mom with Lots of Little Ones and it was SO ENCOURAGING to me after what has been a very long week.

More about food.  It talks about what we eat and how to eat it in a way that's funny and thought-provoking and even very serious sometimes.  I love listening to these shorter (20-minute-ish) episodes when I'm winding down and cleaning up at the end of the day.  There's something about listening to people have an actual, serious conversation about whether or not a bagel should ever be toasted that is very appealing to my inner-OCD self.  Warning: you may start to talk about food and how it should/shouldn't/could be eaten in the very same way (or so Tyson tells me...).