Friday, September 30, 2011

Bag Lady

It's been a really long time since I've been inspired. Being pregnant and having babies will do that to you, I suppose. But some time last year I started following this blog and, sure enough, the more I read, the more inspired I became. It wasn't long before I pulled out the sewing machine and yard stick and got to work. A seamstress, I am not, but I found inspiration in these hobo bags and I think I made one for just about everyone I know (and for every random item in the house- we now have a hot wheel cozy, paci cozy, and camera cozy, just to name a few). And since knit makes the best handles, I had to sacrifice quite a few of Gabe's striped t-shirts- what a good husbnad to support the cause! And, of course, since I started sewing more often I just had to buy a new sewing machine. (Can't have a new hobby with old equipment now, can you?!)

 A Hot Wheel cozy for Anderson, a birthday gift lunch bag for Jen

 The camera cozy lined with minky

 Beck doesn't really use a paci, but if he ever needs one, I'm prepared!

Hopefully it will spend more time out than cooped up in the closet- only time will tell.

Happy {belated} Birthday, Dad!

I can only hope I have half as much energy as you at seventy. You are only getting better the older you get. I love you.

And how about that cake? I think that one will have to be a keeper. Your home grown boysenberries were no doubt the best part.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Boys Are Good

Lately I've gotten a lot of this when people (well, just women, actually) find out I have two little boys: "Oh, were you trying (and/or hoping) for a girl?" or "Oh, so I assume you will go for number three to try and get your girl?".

Now, I must admit that I really don't care for people who assume to know something about me so that even if I was truly heart-broken by having two boys and even if having a second baby was purely an attempt to conceive a girl, I would never give them the satisfaction of knowing. But the truth is that we kind of hoped all along that Baby number two would be a boy. Of course we would have been absolutely thrilled had Beck turned out to be a Becky, but the thought of brothers growing up close in age makes my heart happy.
I love my boys. I love everything about them. Sure, dressing up a little girl would be so much fun and the thought of my kids not having what my mom and me or my sister and me share makes me a little sad, but who's to say it would have been that way anyway? And who's to say that what I have with my sons and what they have with each other won't be even better?

Perhaps there will be a third. Maybe not. And if there is, just maybe it will be a girl. Though, let's be honest here, boy chromosomes run deep in this family and the probability of me having a girl is about as high as my chance of ever being a size 4 again. And yes, if this hypothetical child were to be a girl I would dress her up in all sorts of pink and take her shopping and buy her lots of shoes. But that's really not enough of a reason to wish you had a child of the opposite gender now, is it? And it is certainly not a valid reason to add one more to the mix.

So maybe the people that ask such questions of me are unhappy with their own family make-up. Or maybe they're jealous. Or maybe they are just trying to strike up a conversation and can't think of anything better. But my boys are the best and I would not change them for all of the bows and mary-janes in the world. And, besides, when my boys are teenagers and they adore their mom I will have to bite my tongue as these same women complain about the daily sass-fest that goes on between them and their daughters as they fight for title of Queen Bee of the household. I was once a teenage girl, afterall. I'm just saying.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Fell In Love With the Drummer

"No, Anderson, daddy's not home. Yes, his car is in the driveway, but he's not here. He's on a trip. He went in an airplane." "Daddy go to work, mommy?" "Something like that, baby. He went on tour to play music."

I knew what I was getting myself in to when I signed up to go along on this ride, it's just that now it's so different. Before kids it wasn't so much hard as it was just lonely. When Anderson was born and I was left to figure out how to be a parent by myself for 6 months was hard. Now, with 2 kids, it seems nearly impossible. You mean I have to get up, go to work, come home, relieve the nanny, do dinner, baths and bed all by myself? Without any help? This may just drive me to a bright corner of a nicely padded room where I get to where a slightly fashionable white coat with lots of zippers and buckles.

Gabe, I love you and all, but I do not like when you are away playing music. Why can't you be gone on a boring business trip like most husbands? You know, the kind where you work all day, eat dinner all by yourself in a restaurant and never even get to see the city in which you are staying for longer than the time it takes you to get from the hotel to the office and back? Instead you are always going on these fun trips with your friends, seeing new cities all over the world, meeting interesting people, spending your days sight-seeing and your nights playing music for people who have actually paid money to come hear the band.

OK, maybe I am glorifying it a bit. There have been more than a few not-so-glamorous trips and shows, but as I sit here by myself on the first day of your current week-long adventure, I type with a bit of resentment and I choose to not think about anything other than the fun you are having. I imagine you are enjoying your vegetarian enchiladas, hand crafted especially for you by Rick Bayless, while throngs of fans anxiously await your (well, maybe not your, so much as The Watson Twins) arrival at wherever it is that you will play.

I used to be the good wife. Though now that I think about it, it was really more when I was just your girlfriend trying to secure my position as wife. When you went on tour I made goody bags and left you sweet little notes throughout your luggage and drum cases. I called you constantly and I was genuinely interested in all of the details. Nowadays I can barely get a shower in, much less spend my nights baking cookies. I forget to write you notes until it is too late and I call you only to let you know who pooped on me today (Beck, of course). Oh, I still count the days until you come home, but now it is because I can't wait to hand over a baby or two and just get in my car and have a moment to myself. Even if it is only at the grocery.

I always get a kick out of it when people ask me what you do. "He's a musician" I tell them. "Wow, that's really cool", they ineveitably reply. No. Not really. At least not this week, anyway.

I miss you already. Be safe. Come home soon. Drop me a beat.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Naughty Is As Naughty Does

Sometimes I think it's odd how well-behaved Anderson can be. He can go days without the slightest touch of the "terrible twos". I mean seriously, he is sweet ("thanks, mommy" and "ok, sure, good idea, mommy!" come to mind), he picks up his toys most of the time, he will go get you just about anything you want, he doesn't mess with the breakable totally non-kid proof things we have everywhere, he goes down for both naps and bed with hardly any issue, and he loves to eat vegetables. I mean, how many two and a half year olds love arugula? But then, suddenly, as if being channeled from somewhere deep within, that sweet little cutie-patootie can become, dare I say it, down right naughty.

Sometimes it is the way he speaks to us-  hands on his hips, index finger pointed, nose scrunched to the side and those luscious lips in full pout mode exclaiming, "No! No! You don't!", followed by "I said NO!".

Sometimes it is the way he refuses to speak to us- ignoring us completely.

Other times it is just plain-old naughty behavior. Launching a Hot Wheel across the room. Spitting into his water cup either before or after dropping his half-chewed food into it. Head-butting anything in his path, including his baby brother. Refusing to get out of the gutter. Crying for absolutely no reason (the big, fake crocodile tears really get me). Sitting on my head. That really hurts.

And sometimes it's not even something that bothers us as parents, but I know it bothers others. Is that something about which to be concerned? Are we supposed to take action against behaviors that really don't bother us but that we can assume might annoy someone else?

What do we do? I guess we're finally at that discipline stage. The real-life, you-have-to-have-some consequences stage. I've researched, I've read, I've inquired. I've even You Tubed. But nothing seems totally right for us. Most of the time what he does just doesn't seem that bad. And our situation never matches the one in the book. (Can't they just say something like "When your child is being a whiny little pain in the a**, do this?")

Time out sounds like a good idea, but I just don't have much hope that we'll be consistent. And it seems everyone we know that use it seem to use it all.the.time. I swear their kids go into time out for picking their nose. And they come out and do the exact same thing. That doesn't seem very effective. And I just can't fathom spanking him. Not that I'm against it if it works for people (I was spanked and boy, was it effective!), it's just that I can't wrap my head around hitting my child to teach him to not do something (though I've been tempted a time or two). A flick perhaps? A stern voice and a piercing glare? A night without arugula? What do we do?!

Are we spoiling him? Are we setting a bad example? If your child is only naughty once in a while do you still follow the tactics for those whose children are like little demons every minute of every day? But then, again, don't we all have our moments? Don't we all just want the prerogative to be grumpy once in a while?

Or maybe we're delusional. Maybe he is that bad. Maybe others look at him and secretly thank the stars that they are not his parents. Perhaps we are total push over parents who are setting our kids up for massive amounts of therapy in the future.  It's so easy to look at other people's kids and identify behaviors that are totally unacceptable, but looking at your own is a completely different story.

Do we accept that it is just a symptom of the age and ride it out? And what about Baby Beck? Will he be the same or will his demeanor be completely different? Will we have to discipline them differently? Is that even fair? Will we ever figure it out?

These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. These are the things about which I worry when I need to be working. How can we be the best parents for our children if we are just flying by the seat of our pants? I don't know. I wish we had the answers. I wish there really were a magic technique that kept sweet little kids sweet all of the time. I would pay money for it. Lots of money. Until then, I suppose we'll just have to keep chugging along. Trying things out here and there until we find what works for our kids and for our family. Man, if I'm already this stressed about these things now, I can't even imagine what the pre-teen years will bring. Maybe by then there will be a "Happiest Tweener at the Mall" book.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I love that Anderson loves his baby brother. That he loves to play with him, show him how his toys work, smother him in hugs and kisses and hold him. "Anderson hold Baby Beck?" is one of my favorite questions. And then, after all of about 20 seconds, he promptly pushes him away. I have to take what I can get. (And grab the camera as quickly as possible.)

I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever capture the two of them looking at the camera at the same time. Probably not.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Shoes

...make me oh so happy. Thanks, mom!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to Work

In less than 12 hours my life as a mom will change. Not in a huge, earth-shattering, mind-altering sort of way, but in more of a moving on, get-back-in-the-swing-of things kind of way. I will go from being a stay-at-home-mom to a working mom and I will have to quickly to adjust to all of the changes that entails. In these last six months of being home I have been everything to these boys. I have been the one to wipe tears, noses, and bottoms. I have spent nap times wondering what to do with our days and awake times wishing at least one of us was napping. I've crammed in a few projects here and there and even got this old blog back up and running. And, just when I feel I've got it down- the schedules, the feedings, the sleeping, how to get both of them in and out of the car in a crowded parking lot- it's time to go back. Back to school. Back to the hormone-filled teenagers with whom I will spend more time than their parents over the next nine months. Back to being accountable to someone other than myself. Back to waking up early for a reason other than a hungry baby. Back to pumping. Oh my, the pumping.

Going  back to work at the end of each summer is always bitter-sweet, but especially so when I am now leaving behind TWO kids. With it comes excitement, structure, and responsibility, but also a loss of freedom. Gone will be the days when we all stay in our jammies until noon playing trucks and when I go to bed somwhere near midnight after watching a bunch of meaningless television.  In their place will be early mornings (very early mornings), bottle washing, and lots of phone calls and video messages.

The other day as I was nursing Beck I welled up thinking about it all. I will be leaving him every day. I will be leaving my little baby and I'm not so sure I'm ready. I'm not ready to give them over to daddy (though I will admit I think he's better at it than I am). To let him be their go-to guy. To not be the one in control of everything. I'm not ready to be "filled-in" about who did what and how sweet/cute/naughty it was. But I suppose I never will be. But then again, I'm not ready to leave work either. As much as I love, love, love my boys, I like my job, too. I don't love it, but I certainly like it well enough. It pays the bills, keeps me entertained, and allows me to communicate with beings at least a little older than my kids. And it's a good thing. Because I will be back there in now less than 11 hours, pump and phone in hand, counting the minutes until I get to walk in the front door and be with my babies. Ready or not.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Re-cap

Summer has gone as quickly as it came. I swear it feels like only a couple of weeks ago that I was trying to put together mental lists of all the things I wanted to do, of all of the people I wanted to see. Yet here we are at the start of Labor Day weekend. In just a few days I will be back at work, the kids will be home with daddy most days, the weather will begin to cool down and I will start stressing about Halloween costumes (which, by the way, they were already setting up at Target yesterday!).

This summer brought a lot of fun, a lot of change, a lot of sun, and a lot of photos. Here it is, from beginning to (un-official) end, in no particular order:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hands and Feet

Somebody has recently discovered their fingers and toes...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Baby Beck is 5 months old!

Now you just stop it right now. You are growing like a little weed. Two weeks ago I was shoving blankets under your tippy toes when I put you in your jumpy against your will. Now your feet are planted pretty darn flat on the ground and you are a much more willing jumper. You have just recently discovered that you can grab your feet and even more recently discovered that you can grasp your toys as well. You shriek, you squirm and you have learned to use your feet to push you around, almost like an upside down caterpillar. You are sweet and cozy and I can't get enough of you. You are pretty much perfect. You don't cry (tired or hungry aside). You don't resist anything. You are calm and happy. You love your brother.  You love attention. You sleep. A lot. It seems you can only stay awake about an hour and a half before needing to nap again and at night you are down from 6 to 6 (though I am working hard on eliminating that unexplained midnight paci plug-in and the 2 am feeding). Seriously, you are sleeping about 16 hours a day. Oh to be you for just one day. Baby Beck, our lives are better because you are here. We love you so. (And I still think your hair is going to be some sort of variation of red, just for the record.)