Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Louise is THREE!!!

There's been a lot of compartmentalizing going on around here lately.  Big adult stressful money sucking compartmentalizing.  Garage falling apart, new roof and siding, check.  Computer dies, buy new computer, check.  Almost lose our minds on the last leg of our 10 day family trip thanks to our officially too small for our family car, buy new amazing way better than we thought we could afford thanks to costco pricing and clear outs minivan, check.

In between all those checks has been a whole lot of deep breaths, but mostly?  Lots of thankfulness.  Thankful that we really tightened out bootstraps these past years while Ian was in school, thankful that while we will surely feel the pinch, we CAN get all of these things that we need.  And now?  Super thankful that that's all behind us and we get to focus on our big three year old girl.

Oh Louise, it's been a bit too long since I wrote about you.  Captured, even a little, how wonderful and amazing you are right now.  Your third birthday seems the perfect opportunity.

You are at one of my favorite stages right now, a perfect cross between sweet little one and big grown up kid.  You can do so much all on your own, and insist on doing it ALL.  One of your newest favorites?  Scooting along with your new birthday scooter around the cul de sac, right alongside your big sister.  It's one of my greatest joys to watch you learn and figure things out on your own, and that smile once you get it?  Ah, the best.

This third birthday of yours was wonderful and simple.  After a struggle to find a good date and time for a friend birthday party we bagged it this year, and I must say, had so much fun just us, celebrating just how you wanted to.

On the morning of your birthday you woke up to crepe paper and flowers, cinnamon rolls and cantelope, and a few presents of course.

:: morning present opening aftermath::

I had such fun choosing presents for you this year, now that I know you better than ever.  A new game of course, a puzzle too, three books (this, this, and this), new art supplies and your very own big girl sketchbook, a new outfit and raincoat (found in MN at Once Upon a Child...I LOVE those stores).  I even went to the Disney store for you, knowing how much you'd LOVE something princessy and official.  I agonized over what to get, under strict instructions from Ainsley to get you a figurine play set of some sort.  I ended up getting Cinderella's Glass Slippers and the Monsters Inc. set.  Ainsley was SO excited to give you the Monsters Inc set and you haven't taken those slippers off since you opened them.  Success!!!

 After spending the early morning playing with new toys Grammy came!  She's up in Winnetka with her parents and made the trek down for the day to celebrate with us.  What a special birthday treat!  We packed up and headed to one of our favorite splash pad parks for a picnic playdate with your best bud Lily.  It was the perfect way to spend your hot happy birthday.

Then back home for naps.  Ainsley was too excited to nap, so after resting for a bit she got some good one on one Grammy play time.  Aside?  If you're ever in need of an activity for a preschooler, just buy a box of dixie cups and let them at it.  Seriously.  They are the new favorite thing in our house.

Once Louise woke up she was eager for more birthday fun, excited to show Grammy how proficient she's become at her scooter.  One lap around the steamy cup de sac and she was ready to phone it in, so she came in to help me make her birthday pasta while Ainsley braved the heat for a bit of running outside.  While Louise sat on the counter and I sauteed onions, she decided it'd be a good idea to dump a bag of pepper out on the counter, then proceeded to lick her hand off.  This of course was traumatic for her, me as well as her lips swelled up from the burning and I was momentarily convinced that she was having an acute allergic reaction.  Thank goodness for Grammy who knew about these things, and an ice cube that immediately calmed us all down.  Whew!  On to more birthday fun.

Ian arrived and Louise opened the rest of her presents.  Ainsley was so excited to do a little scavenger hunt for them and Louise was a great sport.  Then tomato cream sauce pasta and cake time!

Ainsley and I had so much fun decorating Louise's cake.  All she'd asked for for her birthday were jelly beans so I bought the HUGE jug of them from Costco and we did taste tests and used them to decorate her cake.  Oh how I wish I'd gotten a proper shot of it.  It was a pretty cute cake.

Ah my happy birthday girl.  You start 4 day a week preschool with your sister next week.  You are SO excited and ready.  And you know what?  Me too.  Because you are so big and able and happy and great.  I love you to pieces.  I hope all your three year old dreams come true!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What a Day

Today has been ridiculously hilariously seriously, bad.

To start with were the normal "iffy" morning signs.  Too little sleep for me, rambunctious stir crazy kids on a rainy day, a house that didn't get picked up and put away like it should have last night.

Then there was the big stuff.  The hour it took to get the kids out the door to double drs appts.  NO close spots to be found.  Lugging Felix in his carseat while the girls meandered freely in the opposite direction.  Check in for the appt, show our new insurance cards, find that the insurance company put the wrong dr as our primary for our new hmo insurance.  After 15 minutes of trying to find a loophole we couldn't so we left in favor of figuring it out at home and rescheduling.  Louise LOST it.  Seriously?  Do you know any kids who fall into the depths of despair when they CAN'T see the doctor?  Rain opens up the moment we leave, Louise will not follow.  I have to carry her and the carseat to the car (thank goodness Ainsley was on her game, I don't know what I would have done otherwise).  I break down to Ian on the phone once we get in the car.  Felix is losing it in the backseat, he HATES the car.  Louise is rubbing the mud from her shoes all over the pristine seats I just detailed myself, yesterday.  Somehow we get home, get in the house.  More mud and meandering of course.  I get grilled cheese and tomato soup made.  The girls eat.  They don't rest.  Felix nurses and falls asleep.  I put on sweats and plunk the girls in the basement and turn on Wreck it Ralph for the second time in 5 days.

I feel like a complete failure.  Every hour I try to start a new.  Put on a fresh face and try my best to be energetic and creatives and willing.  Today I just can't.  I'm having one of those thisistoomuchwhatwerewethinkingimdrowninghere days.  Big time.

So I'm on here.  Reading what we were up to last time this year and the year before that.  Trying to find a little piece of that old mom me that I used to be.  Trying to cut myself the slack I need to not hate who I feel like I've become.


I used to end posts with what I'm thankful for right?  Maybe I'll try that.

Today I'm thankful for the rain, even if we did get a bit wet, hoping for the motivation to get out in it later with boots and umbrellas and puddles and mud.  I'm thankful for Ainsley who is learning to read me well and who truly is doing her best to help me out.  I'm thankful for Louise, whose job today seems to be to test me, keep me on my toes.  I'm thankful for Felix who decided the day was right for extra smiles and big naps.  I'm thankful for my big guy, who's already offered to watch them all when he gets home so I can do whatever I need to do.  I'd LOVE to run.  But it's raining and I am so so tired. I may just take a bath and go to sleep.  I guess I'll be thankful for that too.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I'm back! In so very many ways.

First of course in the physical sense, here in this home after our last trip north for the summer.  Here on this space with my brand new adorable mac (my first!).  Ah, it's a bit like dreamland here really.

Then, well, back at it I guess.  It being life, these last two weeks of summer with all three of my little people underfoot every waking moment.  It all feels a bit too full right now to be honest.  LOTS to do in these next two weeks.  Car buying (ah!!!), Louise's 3rd Birthday (jellybeans!), Sonya's wedding (yay!), the start of preschool for both of my big girls.  It's all so much and exciting and BIG!

I must say, I am so looking forward to the groove of fall.  Orchard apples at the farmer's market, sweaters, close toed shoes, TIME in the mornings to get things done with my little guy, or just oggle his sweet adorable face.

But as usual, as always, I'm doing my best to enjoy now.  These past (almost!) 4 months as a family of 5 have flown by so quickly.  I'm almost hesitant to jump of that trajectory that the new school year will bring.  Before I know it?  Holidays, spring break, schools out again, my baby is one!!!! Ah, no. Can't think of that.  Just. Right. Now.

This week is just kind of melting away.  We walked in the door from our EIGHT AND A HALF hour carried and both Ian and I were tapping our last reserves of patience and sanity.  He trudged upstairs with the girls to bathe them and I set to work unpacking, opening mail, tidying things that probably should have been tidied while Ian had the house to himself for three days!!! (I love him anyways).

Then BOOM! Monday.  I know our routine so well that I hardly need to think.  Those days of planning meals, activities, crafts, ha! I almost laugh now.  I do miss a well choreographed day every now and again, but for now? This is it, I'm rolling with it.

My new plan? Survival, as much fun as possible, and as little fighting as we can manage.  I'm trying a new tactic with food that's working amazingly.  One gigantic Costco run each month for organic meat and pantry staples (we're talking 4 whole chickens and 10 pounds of beef and pork in the freezer, 7 pounds of pastas, 25 pounds of flower, 64 oz of yogurt etc. etc.) then I just add in fresh produce from the farmer's market (ooh berries and peaches, chard and zucchini and tomatoes!), dairy from TJs and bread from our bakery...whalla! food!

IT's been fun to get to make what sounds good every night rather than stick to a plan.  Feeling festive?  How about some African ground nut stew or coconut curry?  Lazy?  Throw in that second pot pie I had miraculously waiting in the freezer?  A bit of comfort food you day?  Ooh how about a delicious eggplant parmesan with beef marinara or cheddar and chard quiche?  So far so good!

As for activities?  Well once a week there's the library, about twice a week there are splash pads.  Every single day there is the walking and biking and scooting, park playing and backyard pool splashing.  It all just kind of works out.

As a result my two girls are getting more creative than ever.  They play Cinderella nearly every day and either one can frequently be found washing dishes "for fun".  Also nearly every day the water color paints make an appearance at the art table.  Now Louise joins in on the figure drawing fun as Ainsley's prowess has developed into full on scenes and stories.  I love it so much.

And my little guy?  Ah, he's almost 4 months old!  His squeals of delight fill up our house and I just hold him and smile at him whenever I get the chance.  I can't wait for our one on one time this fall.  He is an absolute joy.

So yes.  We're back.  And life seems to be normalizing.  While we've had an amazing summer I'm definitely not too sorry to see it end.  Fall is, after all, my absolute favorite.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I think of writing a lot.  I have moments throughout the day when I think "oh I need to remember this to jot down!" or "oh man! I wish i'd caught that on camera!".  The pressure of wanting to capture every moment, archive it forever in perfect documentation...well...it's getting to me.

Part of it?  I'm thrown.  FLOORED, by how hard, full, good, this glorious third baby of ours has made my life.

I'd gotten so used to the two. Those two precious girls of mine, their relative independence, their mostly uneediness.  Now here I am back at square one, that special, precious, amazing, time sucking place where days are swift and breaks are few.

I knew it was different this time around when I was ready to throw in the towel at the end of our trip up north, when I look in the mirror at the deep dark sink of my eyes where sparkling alive orbs used to be, when I feel my bones ache with tired every single night.

So perhaps this is what I'm supposed to remember, because gall darn, if I only remember how sweet and amazing and perfect it all feels sometimes, well, Ian and I may be in big trouble a few years down the road :o).

So snippets, yes?  It's better than nothing...

My friend Lisa just came!  All the way from Texas, to see me, my kids, play, help me out, do the most mega costco run ever.  She's my best friend.  In that the moment we met we knew we were meant to be best friends kind of way.  I often find myself wishing that she lived closer, then again, our time together is so very precious, and we're talking about a 30th birthday getaway next year, just us two.  I know we'll always have each other.  always be connected.  I'm so thankful for her in my life.

I had the best run the other night.  The best run since having Felix at least.  Just shy of 3 miles.  Ran the whole time with a strong kick at the end.  I hadn't planned on running, but the whole time I was feeding and changing and snuggling my baby boy I couldn't shake the urge. Ian was caught off guard when I asked if I could go.  Usually I'm requesting a quite bath at this time of night.  He nodded "of course" and I plunked the monitor on the counter "I think he's down!" I fibbed quickly, and ran.  I came home to a very awake Felix in Ian's arms, the girls clean as whistles and ready for bed.  I am thankful for so many things in my life.  My man, who always says yes to me, no matter what the cost to him, is perhaps the one I am most thankful for.

I really should have a smartphone.  My free At&t phone is pretty pathetic and I feel like I miss out on so much by not really texting or messaging EVER.  Plus I took NO photos from my few days with Lisa.  Not one.  Thankfully she and her iphone got quite a few good ones.  Technology saves the day!  Ah technology.  Someday you and I will see eye to eye.

While I know it's only the end of July and we have over a month before the girls start school I am starting to panic a bit about all that August holds.  Traveling, weddings, birthdays, school get togethers.  Thankfully I at least have all of the making for the events mapped out (oooh baby bow ties!!!!).  One step at a time.

MY sister and family stayed with us overnight this weekend.  We had fun, the kids LOVE each other.  I am sad that our little house and hectic life can't accommodate them, and other families, for longer.  Someday.

Ian got a grant at work.  This is very exciting.  It could mean two more years here.  I still feel so torn about that.  I not so secretly fell in love with Duluth when we visited last Christmas.  I would LOVE to settle in Duluth.  I'm not so sure how a neuroscientist/bio statistician would find work there though.  Far too many nights have found me on zillow searching just for fun. Ah! So many perfect amazing places there.  I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

Ainsley, Ainsley May.  Closer to 5 than 4.  Reading and writing little bits, so imaginative and indepedent.  Our struggles are left and our fun and understandings are more.  I love her so much.

My middle girl Louise. She's had a few rough spots here and there since Felix was born.  Never any malice towards him, but some baby talk, some whining, some frustrations with how full mommy's hands seem to be at any given moment.  Things are getting better though.  A little one on one attention goes a long way.  And those curls? those cheeks?  that soft little body?  Well, it's hard to stay annoyed for long.

And Felix boy, solidly in his thrid month of life he's waking up more every day.  The girls are absolutely smitten, wanting to play with him all the time.  Now that he's laughing they like to see who can make him laugh the most.  Ainsley in particular loves this game.  His only fault so far is that he likes to be held, by me, ALL the time.  he's still happy on his playmat for a bit but if he knows I'm near he wants me to hold him.  While it can make being efficient tricky I try to remind myself that this time of holding and snuggling is so fleeting and precious.  Once he's on the move it will be a bit before he'll want those holds again.

So we're good.  Feeling a bit more in limbo than I'd like, but I'm learning that's just this time of life with little people to raise, new school and friends every year.  Like vertigo in a moving car I try to keep my eyes on the unmoving parts, the steady bits.  Right now our family is whole and happy, our home is sound and calm, our lives and full and good.  all those little bits can jump around as they please I guess.  I'm just trying to keep my eyes forward, and all around me at the same time.  Time, it's moving these days!

P.S. My goal is to at least keep my ipod with me to catch more moments.  I'll post those soon if I can. I so want to!