Thursday, September 27, 2012

Her Sugar Balances Out the Spice

Thanks for all the supportive comments about my ordeal yesterday. It took me the rest of the day and a stiff drink or two to recover fully. We are now going to be a household without a dog door (the only escape route we hadn't locked off yet) which will take some getting used to, but not as much as it would take to get used to not having our Pacey.

On a sweet note, the kids were goofing around before we read bedtime stories last night and Brighton grabbed her brother close and said, "My best, best boy, we were so worried when you were lost." She loves him so much. I love seeing how she is naturally developing something of a protective role over him; it's not something I'd want to specifically task her with, but I'm glad to know she'll always be watching out for him too.

Please note, regarding her eye, that I have not resorted to beating my daughter (yet). She woke up on Tuesday morning with it sort of puffy and it got worse through the day. We went to the doctor and they decided she probably had an infection stemming from a scratch on the adjacent temple. I was given strict instructions to come back if the swelling hadn't decreased by the next day. So of course she woke up and it was swollen completely shut...back to the doctor we went. Two copays to determine it was probably a bug bite, but thankfully not the serious type of infection that can damage one's vision.

If you don't hear from me for awhile, it's because I'm busy researching a bubble (a LOCKING bubble) that we can all live out our days in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In a Blink

The irony is, I was interviewing potential candidates for the job of keeping my kids safe when I'm not around.

I brushed him off a few times, promising I'd get him the requested snack when I was done chatting with the young lady.

Then she was gone. And he was gone.

Not upstairs.

Not downstairs.

Not in the front yard.

Not anywhere I could see in our wooded acre-sized lot.

I yelled and yelled and yelled and heard nothing but silence and the goddamn freeway.

He's exited the building unnoticed before, but always appears after a brief, terrible moment.

This time the minutes ticked by as my insides turned to ice. Running to the back of the property and forth again, yelling, yelling. I couldn't even pretend to reassure her that her brother was ok.

Finally I had to give up on my voice and my legs.

We got in the car and I had to force myself to take the time to buckle her harness.

At the end of the driveway...right or left? Where would his five-year-old compass take him?

I chose right. Drove down and around, to the point where I know he's emerged from the woods on chaperoned adventures.

A flash of red nylon and the most precious white t-shirt I've ever seen. There, by the freeway wall, completely calm until I grabbed him and cried.

He's fine, but I wish I didn't know the terrible feeling of the possibility of losing him.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My People

This guy:

This is the most genuine smile you'll ever see
from this guy
started playing rugby again after a three-year(ish) retirement. He found a local team and started training with them and played a bit on Saturday. Rugby has been a big part of his life as long as I've known him and I think he was really missing it. I'm glad to see him enjoying it again and getting the opportunity to meet some new people around here.

This guy:

always ages about two years when he has his hair cut. He's really maturing in a lot of ways right now - appearing fully and appropriately dressed in the morning, cleaning up his own room, insisting on a lot more independence, etc. I'm finding kindergarten difficult in some ways (which deserves a post to itself) but he is rocking it. The kids in his class are very kind and helpful to him and they all missed him when he was out last week. Nice to see.

And this lady:

is pictured here asleep on her closet floor, where I found her (doors closed) ten minutes ago. I enforced a quiet time today and hoped against all hope that she would fall asleep and lo, she did. The last 72 hours or so with her have been fairly hideous, so I can only hope that a good nap will help the situation. Unfortunately the only other thing that I believe is going to help is a bit of a discipline boot camp...setting some boundaries and consistently enforcing them with her. I've gotten pretty bad about doing anything to avoid a dramatic scene but, as always, the quick fix has turned into a longer term problem. I'm really glad we don't have neighbors close by because I think things are going to be pretty loud around here for a bit. Sigh.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I really hate it when my kids are sick. I mean, obviously no one likes it, but I have a really hard time with it. It's about a thousand times better now that I stay home with the least there is not the added stress of missing work time and not knowing how long to anticipate it lasting. I don't have to worry about when I can fit in doctors appointments and whether I'll have to take even more time off for follow up appointments. That? That was worse.

Both kids are sick right now. It's no great surprise; three weeks into a whole new batch of germs at two different schools. So far it's nothing terrible either, just snot and coughs. Brighton's been waking up 2 and 3 times a night and requiring my presence to go back to sleep. My neck is developing a permanent crick from sleeping on her stupid Cinderella pillow. Not to mention it's reinforcing her inability to put herself back to sleep alone in the middle of the night (which has been going on awhile now). I felt like a zombie this morning and wondered how in the world I made it through two infancies.

It's partly the extra whininess and neediness when they don't feel well. When I don't even have the night to myself to recharge, the day feels like one endless need for my attention. Today is the first day both kids have needed to miss school and I resigned myself to the fact that we were in the house for the day. It hasn't been terrible and I've gotten a lot of laundry done in between putting on movies and fetching cups of juice. But now, at 5:00, I'm sick of the sound of kids' shows, everyone is feeling a little ratty and cooped up and the thought of having to do this again tomorrow is seriously unappealing. One day without leaving the house is my preferred limit.

It's partly the fact that routine goes out the window. To say I thrive on routine would be an understatement. When kids are sick, though, they sleep different hours, don't feel like eating, and are less capable of entertaining themselves while I do what I need to do to keep our lives running. Without the natural framework of the day it just feels endless.

Mostly though, it's because I worry. For two straight years, every cold Pacey had turned into a waiting game to see whether or not it would send him to the hospital. It felt like every illness lasted a minimum of a week; 24-hour viruses (even the stomach ones) just didn't exist. It's hard to get away from that creeping dread when I hear him start to cough. His lungs are so much healthier now and his airways bigger and more fully functional, he can handle your average virus much better. Still though, my head goes immediately to the worst case scenarios that were a reality during that time and I have a hard time trusting that we're past it.

Thank goodness for medicine - especially now that he's old enough that I can be trusted to give him over-the-counter meds to keep him comfortable. Thank goodness for health insurance and the ability to see doctors virtually whenever we need to. Thank goodness my second child was born full-term and doesn't have to face the same issues with her immune system and lung function. I'm grateful not to be worrying about all the work I'm not getting done while I'm home with the kids and how hard it will be to catch up again. I know how lucky I am, but I still hope this illness is short-lived and that we make it through this flu season relatively unscathed.

* Note to self: get the kids in for flu shots next week!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I wrote last year (here) about how turning my kids into Book Lovers has required more of a concerted effort than I expected. I kind of figured that I imparted half my genes to each of my kids, surely the reading gene would have been included there. I'm sure there are kids out there that are born readers, and maybe I was or maybe it was just the fact that my own mom put such effort into making a space for books and reading in our lives. Either way, it's been more of a process with my own kids.

Anyway, splitting them up for bedtime stories worked really well and, coupled with really regular trips to the library, they are really enjoying being read to now. I recently started reading to them together again which is working out pretty well and also teaching them to respect each other's choice of book. They've learned Library Behavior and I have learned to vet books before we bring them home and therefore subtly weed out the total dogs they select (hey, it's the Reader's Prerogative). I'm thinking that maybe as a treat during Christmas Break we'll go get their own library cards.


Last weekend was the annual Book Festival sponsored by Target and, as happened last year, Chris was playing in a charity golf tournament so the three of us headed to the festival. It was a lot of fun and the kids participated even more since they knew many more of the stories featured. We saw the same band play live (Justin and the Not-Yet-Naptime Band, or something similar) and they were really good. It was nice to feel like we are starting another tradition, and one that centers around something so important to me.

So true, at least for my kids

With Super Why!

I love this picture. "Geez Mom, enough with the photos.
You're embarrassing us."

Having been a face painter recently, I steered them
towards simple designs.


Do you have Little Libraries in your town? I'd seen a couple of these around and recently one appeared just down the street from our house. My dad took the kids to the "little book house" as they call it and they picked out a couple of books. I need to remember to return a couple in their place. Kind of a cool idea. 


The book that Pacey has selected to read for about the past 10 nights in a row is Llama Llama Mad at Mama. He thinks it's absolutely hilarious when Llama Llama revolts against a Saturday shopping extravaganza (if you've read the book, replace "Shop-o-Rama" with "Target" and you'll know why he identifies so much with the story). Anyway, his class got to go to the Media Center (the library, as it was known in my day) and each got to check out a book to bring home. Guess what he picked to bring home. You got it, the school's copy of Llama Llama Mad at Mama. I just love the fact that he saw it, remembered that he loved it and chose that one to bring home.


And finally, I haven't had the time to do a reading post on all the books I've read recently but I did return to Goodreads after a hiatus. If I'm not already friends with you, send me a request...I'd love to see what everyone is reading. I think you just search for my name?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Yesterday was a late-start day for our district; one day every month they start school two hours late for teacher planning. For half-day kindergarteners, like Pacey, the AM and PM kids alternate having a day off; yesterday was a day off for the AM kiddos (next month he will go in the afternoon on the late start day...follow that?)

Anyway, I'd been wanting to take the kids to see the scarecrow exhibit at the Landscape Arboretum and it was one of our last opportunities without having to join the weekend masses.

I don't really need to say a huge amount about it, except that it was 94 freaking degrees yesterday. Fall? What fall?? We enjoyed the scarecrows nonetheless. :)

B was not at all sure about that giant owl!!

We spent a good 30% of our time inside this ant's nest,
sitting on our eggs and discussing the babies inside

Pacey did some impromptu break dancing with these ladies

The color in this garden was unbelievable

I feel like this random candid photo just really captures their relationship

Weird "sonic flowers"
And later in the afternoon Brighton and I spent a surprisingly lovely 30 minutes while Pacey had his speech therapy, hanging out down at the "river," making birthday cakes in the mud and tickling each other with the "feather" B found. Love my girl.

This was really more like a rushing river at the end of
the winter...shows what a dry summer we've had

Tickle tickle!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Few Things I Love

With the change in seasons has come the inevitable reminder that very soon we will be spending a lot more time inside the house. For the most part I love our house, and we've worked really hard to make it a place that we enjoy being. Summer was so crazy though that a lot of the upkeep got overlooked, and when we took the house off the market I...relaxed my standards, shall we say.

Anyway, there are lots of little spaces that are just BUGGING me right now. My pantry is a disaster and needs a total clean out and re-org. Random pieces of random toys have been spread through the house and there are multiple little collections that need sorting. Niggly little things like that.

If I've learned one thing, it's that I WILL get these projects done, but it will take awhile to find the time and energy to do it. In light of that, I made an effort today to go around the house and capture a few things that I don't hate right now. Positive focus, right?

1. My big clock. Our house has really tall ceilings in the main living space, that open up to the lofted area outside the kids' bedrooms on the top floor. I love the feeling of space and light it gives, and you can sort of see (in this badly taken photo), the amount of afternoon sunlight that streams in the uppermost windows. Anyway, the high ceilings result in a lot of BIG wall space. We found this clock when we were shopping for our dining room table and bought it on a whim. It's hard to tell how big it is, but it's huge and just right for the space. I really have a thing about knowing what time it is too, and we don't have any electronics in the living room that show the time.

2. Our Harris photos. I found these on an awesome website I've never been able to find again. There are plenty of other options out there (I found these pre-etsy) but I haven't found any I like as well as these. A subtle way to celebrate our family identity. (I feel compelled to point out that I seriously DON'T love the popcorn ceilings)

Add caption
3. The Rapunzel tower. This is a view from the living room up to where the kids' rooms are. Firstly I love the landing, which houses the kids' bookcase, a race track that I didn't want permanently set up elsewhere and a cool rug showing a map of the US (fun for talking about where our various family members live). Recently Brighton has really been on a Rapunzel kick (following this insane birthday party we attended where there was a professional Rapunzel in attendance) and she loves to don her "beautiful long hair," go up to the top and yell down for Pacey to rescue her. Which he does, tirelessly. Seriously, best brother ever.

4. My pocket organizer. I put this together at the beginning of the summer when I was constantly having to hunt down all the little things we needed to get out of the house. It hangs in the mudroom/laundry on the door to the garage and contains: sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, wipes, pain relievers, bug bite itch reliever, antihistamine and did, at one time, have some snack items in it. Oh, and the kids' summer shoes in the bottom pockets they could reach. It saved SO MUCH time to be able to just fill my backpack right there on our way out, and also to be able to empty the backpack back into the pockets at the end of our adventures.

5. My photo wall, updated. I think I have posted a picture of my photo gallery wall, which covers the wall going up the stairs to the top level. I just printed out and framed some more photos and we continued it down onto the landing wall. The additions are seen here and they are making me SO happy. I love all the conversations that get prompted by the kids catching sight of our family and friends. Again, nice when so many live far away and we don't get to see them in person super often.

Now I feel like I can ignore the four grocery bags of pantry items that I literally can't find space for.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Adios, Summer

I'm really hoping that now with six hours a week of kid-free time, I'll be able to get to this space a lot more often. This last month was so full, mostly in really good ways, that I've just been capturing life in photos and hoping to get back here to share. So here goes, my last month in review!

* I turned 32. That makes me officially really, really old. I had a really wonderful day, visiting Brighton's classroom for orientation, getting a massage, having a birthday cake made by my mom and my two favorite short people, and an unexpected afternoon on Lake Minnetonka with just my lovely husband (thanks to my mom for babysitting for much of the day!). I felt really special all day and totally loved by my people. Chris arranged to have a professional re-design done of my blog so look for some exciting changes to come! I'm sure no one deserves to be as lucky as I am.

* My parents visited. My dad was here for five days and my mom for 10. It was wonderful. I took the opportunity to explore a few new places with extra hands to help corral the kids. We visited Minnehaha Falls, went to the Minnesota Zoo and saw the animatronic dinosaur exhibit, took them out fishing, went to the fair, had a Labor Day bbq and much more. Despite the fact that they were both really helpful, I'm exhausted!! I love seeing my kids with their Nana and Papa and it sucked as much as it always does to say goodbye.

My dad's patience paid off and both kids
made huge progress in riding their bikes

Cooling off at the splash park

Turkey leg!

Turkey leg!

My mom and I took Brighton with us to get pedis...she got
to sit in a fancy chair and everything. Still, not too fancy to
splash around in the creek. 

* School started officially, for both kids, today! Brighton has a beautiful preschool classroom and I think she's going to have another great year. When I picked her up today she ran out beaming, so proud that she hadn't cried and excited to tell me about all the new friends she made. As turdy as she was being yesterday (and by Not Coincidence, slept 2 hours longer than usual last night), I missed her for those three hours and it was wonderful to get a big hug when I picked her up.

How are these big kids possibly my babies??

Pacey couldn't have been more ready for school. We had a visiting day yesterday where the parents listened to the teacher talk about logistics and the curriculum, and the kids got to play outside on the playground. Between all the meetings, open houses, orientations, etc I think he already feels pretty comfortable there but boy was it hard walking away this morning. Chris and I feel like Pacey needs to be challenged and he consistently rises to the occasion, and I know that placement in the regular kindergarten classroom is the right place for him to start. Privately I just hope so badly that it goes well. I want him to learn, I want him to feel successful and I want his teachers and peers to be able to appreciate Pacey for who he is. It feels - rightly or wrongly - like there is a lot of pressure for him to prove he can hack it in that classroom. Thankfully I don't believe he feels that pressure, but I sure do.

On a lighter note, we celebrated Pacey's German heritage with a Schultute, traditionally presented on the first morning of school (we did it yesterday for the visiting day because Chris had to be in a meeting this morning). It's basically a paper cone filled with small trinkets, school supplies, etc. Everything is so well organized these days that all Pacey's school supplies had already been delivered to his classroom, but I had fun selecting some paper I thought he'd like for the cone and some fun little toys to put inside.

We couldn't possibly be prouder of this guy

And now to manage the post-first-day afternoon crankies. Hope to be back here soon and more regularly!