Family


23
Sep 14

Veggie girl

That moment when you know your kid is just not YOU.

This weekend we were eating dinner and Lily was enthusiastically eating noodles and salad and I kept pushing her to try the chicken satay. She continued eating her noodles and salad. She finally looked at me, irritated, and pronounced, loudly and clear as anything, “I. HATE. MEAT.” And went back to eating the rest of her dinner.

: O

Wellllll….ok, then. Carry on. (Apparently she isn’t a meat-eater).


3
Sep 14

We did it

Today was the first day since school started back up that we didn’t have Adam/Daddy around to help with the morning routine (as per the usual during the school year). It was harried and a bit stressful but hot damn if we didn’t make it to school on time after all! I could not have accomplished that without the following:

1) Set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than I thought I would need to get up. Not because I am a snoozer with my alarm, but because it always seems to take my at least 15 minutes longer than I think it will to get everyone out the door in the morning. So I got up at 6:30 so that we could leave the house around 8 am. An hour and a half seems like an obscene amount of time but, well, that’s what it took us today (and most days).

2) Showered the kids the night before.

3) Got clothes and school lunch ready the night before.

4) Got breakfast stuff prepped the night before.

5) Coffee. Yep.

So, in sum, did everything the night before and still took 90 minutes (where did the time go???) but we were on time (score!!!). It’s a win.


2
Sep 14

My Best

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and instead of spending it at the beach with friends, or having a pool party or a barbecue (with friends), we spent it moping around at home because Lily and I were sick (with Anna only sightly under the weather). And, because I spent a lot of time in bed with my iPad, I (naturally) spent a lot of time browsing Pinterest, as one does. And now I have a million ideas and also a million bad and terrible thoughts at the ways in which I am failing at life because my life is not Pinterest-perfect. It’s not perfect in any sense.

So I am going to remind myself today, as I find myself needing to do so often, that I am doing my best. And that my best is good enough. My best is good enough!

Life isn’t a race. There isn’t a prize at the end. If you have more stuff at the end, you still die…without your stuff.

So.

I won’t give up on my dreams of a perfectly organized bathroom or crafting with leftover egg carts, but I will continue to believe, in my heart, that piles of stuff in the guest room does not mean that I am a bad person. It means I am a busy person who is choosing to orient myself towards other things right now, at this time in my life. I am wiping noses and doing endless loads of laundry and picking up dog poop. I am reading bedtime stories and wiping marker marks off of tables and kissing boo-boos. These are the important things right now. Not labeled baskets.

Love to all the busy parents out there. We’re in it together. XO

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4
Aug 13

Fiesta 2013

Santa Barbara’s Annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta is winding down and we are in recovery mode after many very full and busy days. The good camera didn’t make it out to every single event but here are some pictures of a little bit of what we were up to this past week. Adam’s mom and stepdad made it down to visit this week, adding to the fun. Both girls loved having their grandma and grandpa around to play with, eat with, and parade-watch with. Good food, good friends and family, and a good time had by all. It felt especially memorable to be introducing Lily to all the pleasures of the week (last year she was only a few days old and neither she nor I made it to any of the fun). Verdict? ¡¡¡VIVA LA FIESTA!!!

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18
May 13

Today

What my life is like, today.

Up at 6 am (after being awake at around 3 am–I think? it’s all a little hazy–for a baby feeding) for the day. Tired, but isn’t that life? Wondering if I’ll ever feel the energy levels I felt as a 20-something, ever again. For sure it will help when I get to sleep through the night again. BUT, actually not feeling resentful or completely burnt out over these middle of the night feedings because it is the only time that my sweet Lily girl is completely mellow and still. This baby is either ON or OFF, it seems. She’s GO GO GO or she’s asleep. And the middle-of-the-night feedings are the only truly peaceful and still times I can spend with her. Even pre-naptime nursing sessions are filled with her sticking her fingers in my mouth, or kicking her legs repeatedly, or the “wandering arm” as I think of it…..she’s all over the place. She is a bundle of energy. She is so much fun but it is exhausting so it is actually nice to have these times–yes, even at 3 am–to sit and just BE. To trace the soft curve of her cheek, to feel the plumpness of her arms, to listen to her sweet inhale and exhale.

Anna is amazingly beautiful. Such a Big Kid, no longer any trace of Baby or Toddler or Little Kid. Bittersweet, this. I asked to braid her hair today and she obliged. How much longer until she is doing unthinkable things–driving a car, going to high school, buying her own clothes? It makes my heart hurt; it makes my heart soar.

Today she threw a fit inside of Michael’s craft store. We went in for one, and only one, thing (to buy some construction paper for a craft project that one of the school moms is organizing–an end-of-the-year teacher thank you) and we left with tears and unhappiness and screams of “It’s Not Fair!!!!” because we weren’t buying this or that crap item. It’s so hard! I would love to oblige every single craft fantasy that she has but it is not feasible or reasonable. There were tears but I’m happy to say that we were able to talk it out as a family. If I were to choose, I’d say that there are things about this age (6) that are infinitely easier than the baby stage. Yes, the big feelings are even BIGGER but the ability to talk and discuss emotional territory is immensely satisfying. It’s tough. Each stage is tough. It all has its easier parts and it’s harder parts.

These girls of ours….I keep imagining what it will be like in a few years because sometimes I need to hang on to a shred of hope. I need to look forward to a time of respite. Today, Adam and I talked about our 20 year anniversary (just 4 years and a couple of months away) and I realized that I will enjoy our time away–assuming that it will be feasible to take a short trip, just the two of us, once the kids are 5-ish and 11/12ish, but also realizing that I will probably miss them like crazy. It’s good for me have these glimpses of life to come. To have perspective. This was definitely lacking for me when Anna was an infant. It seemed like the sleepless nights and overwhelming feelings of being needed 24/7 would never end. And now, at 6 and 1/2, she has such independence that I end up missing her so much during the day when she is at school, asking for little tidbits of information at the end of the day–did she have fun? Did she learn anything?

It’s a push and pull of parenthood. It’s knowing that these times are intense but they won’t always be, at least not in this way.

It’s busy and its crazy but it’s my life and I love it. Sleepless nights and all.


14
Feb 13

Valentines….it’s all about the love

I spent my free time (very, very limited, Baby Girl has been boycotting long naps) these last three days working on making a very complicated, time intensive, amazing chocolate cake. Goal: valentine’s day dessert. Adam and I don’t go out for Valentine’s (too busy and crowded at restaurants, yuck); our tradition, instead, is for him to cook a special dinner and for me to bake a special dessert. So, I baked and baked and made special chocolate cake and chocolate cream and glaze and today, this afternoon, I was planning on putting it all together, assembling it into one piece. It was going to be amazing. It was going to knock Adam’s socks off. I put Lily down for her afternoon nap, started the glaze bubbling on the stovetop (it’s time sensitive so I wanted to have a good amount of time to do it and had fingers crossed that she would give me time) and then…..she woke up. After only 20 minutes. And I gave the glaze a quick stir and ran to her bedroom and patted her back and shushed her and ran back and she cried out again and I ran back and re-assessed and then…..I gave up. I put her in the Ergo and I kept making the cake but she was reaching and grabbing and I was holding the big heavy copper saucepan and no one got hurt but the cake? The cake is not perfect.

When Adam got home I cried, I stamped my foot. I was frustrated. I wanted to make one perfect and wonderful thing. I was angry. I was ticked that “the baby didn’t let me do it.” It’s part of that whole thing of having a baby, where some things have to go by the wayside. I miss having creative outlets, like baking and cooking and knitting and sewing and crafting. I have little bits of time, here and there, but those little bits of time are usually reserved for reading or taking a bath or sleeping or, I don’t know, sitting and staring into space because I don’t feel like I have the mental energy. Today, I wanted to create one purely wonderful, perfect thing.

My cake, it isn’t perfect.

But that’s ok.

Adam hugged me and told me that I already gave him TWO perfect things (any guesses?). I gulped. I remembered what was important. I hugged my baby and cried a little more and remembered that, someday, all too soon, my baby won’t be getting in the way of my baking. She won’t need me as much. Today, my cake is lumpy and lopsided but my baby is perfect.

I’m not a perfect baker. I’m not a perfect mother. But which one is it more important to put time into?

The cake, it isn’t perfect. But it is made with love (and chocolate) and the love is way more important than the perfection.

Counting my blessings today. I am surrounded by good and (nearly) perfect things. Happy Valentine’s Day!


2
Jan 13

Treading Water

Posting has been sparse here, I know. That’s partly because of all the holiday craziness, partly because of the illness that went around our family, and partly because I’m only just barely making it through my days. Postpartum depression? Simply exhaustion from round the clock (and I mean this literally, Baby Girl has been waking at all hours throughout the night for weeks now) parenting? Sleep deprivation is definitely making me grumpy, tired, and not feeling my best (UNDERSTATEMENT).

I try to do that thing that everyone tells you to do (sleep when baby sleeps) but during the day there are other things to do (like shower, eat food, go to the bathroom, take care of my other child) and in the evening I figure I should put in a little time with my spouse so that this marriage doesn’t fall apart. And, in the end, there is just so much fragmented sleep that in a way it doesn’t matter how many hours I’m getting when those hours are an hour here, an hour there. I crave solid stretches of sleep like I crave nothing else. It’s my holy grail.

I’m honestly just squeaking by. Some days are ok. Some days are not so great. A lot of days lately have been horrid. I’ve been irritable, I’ve been physically exhausted, I’ve been not the best spouse or parent or friend. I’ve been withdrawn, I’ve been grumpy, I’ve been weepy, I’ve been yelling at everyone.

I’m not sure that I’m doing any kind of good job at anything. I doubt myself. I doubt my methods. I fear that I am messing everything up and that my kids will hate me. I fear that someone/everyone will see through my facade. It is exceedingly important to me that I at least look good, even if I don’t feel good and yet…I shrug my shoulders and sigh at the sticky mess on the floor, for days on end.

I want someone to come along and rescue me. I want to run away. I want a spa day. I want my Mommy.

I sometimes resent everyone who needs me, my husband and kids included.

But, dammit. I also love them. I chose this life and I choose this life and I trudge forward. I try and find my joy. I don’t always find it at 2 am when I’m nodding off while holding a crying baby. I don’t always find it when my 6 year old is whining that she doesn’t want to pick up her room. But I’m on the lookout for the moments that matter: tiny hands slipped into mine, quiet snuffling sighs of contentment as I nurse my baby, a shared look of amusement or tender love over the heads of our offspring. I practice saying I’m sorry a lot. I practice forgiving others and myself. I acknowledge that this is hard. I acknowledge that there are women all over the world having a hard time, too. I imagine them, also, staring at the dirty floor and crying over the impossibility of doing it all.

I need some sleep.


13
Dec 12

It takes a village….or, at the very least, more than one damn person

Adam was away on business again this week (story of our lives) and I was doing the single parent thing again and I just….really, really needed my mom this week. I called her for help, I called her for conversation, I invited myself over just to have some company, I took her up on her offer to make us dinner. I just needed her. Thanks, Mom. I love you.


23
Oct 12

I am so totally doing this

Every day I can look back and objectively say that, yes, sure, I accomplished a lot. I’m not being cynical, I really do accomplish a lot in a day. Laundry and food preparation and cleaning and walking and the list goes on and on. Some days I feel a bit caught in the endless hamster wheel of domestic life but I really am hanging in there and (dare I even say it) mostly enjoying it, or at least not freaking out every single moment of the day.

BUT. Every single gosh darn day I seem to have at least one minute (or, let’s be honest here, several minutes) of full on freak out. I don’t always let on. But it is there. That one (or more) moment of I-absolutely-cannot-do-this. That moment of self-pitying why-do-I-have-to-be-the-one-in-charge. Or, today’s HELP!!!! Today’s was in the parking lot of La Cumbre Plaza, after a slaphappy and possibly extremely poorly mis-timed shopping trip to the toy store for the three (yes, THREE) birthday parties that Anna has been invited to this coming weekend. I had promised pizza after the shopping trip (mistake #1: never lock into a promise like this when traveling with babies who, we all know, are very unpredictable). And then the Baby FREAKED OUT. And I tried to soothe her but she wasn’t having any of that, she did NOT want to be fed or shooshed or rocked or patted or burped or anything. Just a full-on end-of-the-day freak out of tiredness. And Anna was in that giddy state of post toy-store anxiety, hopping up and down and singing loudly “Deer, A Doe” (which drives me way crazier than it should, she is only 5-almost-6 for crying out loud and it’s not her fault she can never remember that it goes “Doe, A Deer” and not the reverse) and I snapped at her to Please For Goodness Sake Get in the Car We Are Driving Home Right Now, which of course brought her to tears of disbelief. Because, you see, I had promised (mistake).

I thought, briefly and frantically, that maybe I could call someone to come and help me. To make it all better. And I wondered who that someone would be and then….no. It’s all me, I realized.

We all got in the car and I closed all the doors and, with Lily wailing in the back seat, and Anna repeatedly saying, louder and louder “But you PROMISED!” beside her, I moaned and started sobbing with my head on the steering wheel until a woman pulled her SUV into the spot directly in front of us, facing me. I couldn’t stand to let a stranger see me beat by two small children so I sat up, wiped off my face and pulled back my shoulders. I started driving and, sure enough, Lily fell asleep to the strains of “Deer, A Doe” and everything became right with the world, especially when she stayed asleep for our trip to Pizza Mizza Restaurant, which just happened to be playing “Jack Skeleton” (as Anna refers to The Nightmare Before Christmas, which, thanks to Adam, is one of her current favorite movies–I would NOT have chosen this one for her, but, by golly, she loves it). And Anna ate cheesy, buttery pasta and I ate pizza and Lily slept beautifully until just after I finished my last bite. It really was ok, in the end.

So, lesson learned here is be smart enough to stay calm and everything will be ok. Or something like that. Maybe the lesson is that you have to weather the storm. Or that dealing with the insane moments of life makes you appreciate the calm ones that much more.

Either way, I’m beyond glad that it is now 8:15 pm and both girls are asleep in bed. Even if (I admit it) I will wait a few more minutes and then I will go into their rooms and admire them as they sleep, brush the hair from their foreheads, kiss their little cheeks, and smell in their sweet breath as their chests rise and fall with sleep.


3
Oct 12

Love

I was looking back over the pictures from Lilith’s birth this morning and I noticed something that I hadn’t really clued into before. In those first few pictures, the ones where I am holding my new baby and smiling in that ecstatic, joyous way, I see that we (both Adam and I) are bringing Anna into this first moment of new life in our family–we are reaching out to her, making eye contact. We are including our firstborn in the birth of our second born. This was one of my fears before Lily was born, that after the birth Anna would feel immediately slighted, that our joy over our “new baby” would make her feel unimportant and not a part of it. But instead of the triad of baby, Mama, Daddy, with Anna on the outside, I see in these pictures, instead, an inclusion. I see a family of four and I see my beloved reaching out to make sure that we are all a part of this most wondrous moment. What a special thing, that Anna could be there for the first moments of her sister’s life! I am full to bursting with love, then and now. How did I get so lucky?

Family of Four