Monday, August 27, 2012

we've had the sickies and other randomness.

Last weekend, Dexter had a fever that crept up to a scary 103.8.  Luckily we were able to manage it with medicine and tepid baths, but I won't lie.  It really was scary.  It only lasted about 48 hours.  This weekend, it's been Theo's turn.  He has had the exact same symptoms and hopefully is on the mend now.  Thank goodness for a best friend who is an ER nurse with peds experience.  She has saved me a trip to the ER more than once.

We finally got a tile saw so Ryan's dad has been working on the boys' bathtub. I need to get over to the house and take some pictures.  I also painted a wall red in our bedroom.  I'm not loving it yet, but I think it will look a lot better once we get some furniture and curtains in there.  It took so many coats that I dread the day I have to cover it up.  The biggest hold up right now is... us.  We've yet to figure out our flooring.

We were thinking about having carpet in the bedrooms.  Initially, because we thought it would be cheaper and because it would go down fast.  Upon doing some research, we learned that it's not cheaper.  Faster yes. Cheaper no.  So no we're going back and forth between whether we wanted carpet because it would be nice for variety or if we only wanted it because we thought it would be cheaper and faster.  Sure, it feels nice under your feet.  But after having a house with all hardwood floors (with a puking baby and puking cats present), we know how nice it is to clean up a mess with a clorox wipe and be done with it.  I have no interest in finding dried chunks of cat puke on the carpet when I get home from work.  Kids puke.  Potty training kids pee and poop.  I think we are leaning towards having hard floors throughout the house.

Decisions, decisions.

Everyone wants to know when we think we are going to move in.  We. Don't. Know.  I wish we did.  All I can say is ... as soon as possible. As soon as reasonable.  We have to get the boys' bathtub finished and we have to get some flooring down throughout the home.  We can do the kitchen after we get moved in.

Week two of work is under way.  Still loving it and appreciating that I made the change, even if the timing was not optimal.

I think it is safe to mention it here - I am going to be an AUNTIE again!  My sister is over halfway through her pregnancy and we should know if I'll be having a niece or nephew within the next few days.  This is exciting news!

I will get some new pictures of the house up very soon.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

back to the real world!

I had a little over two weeks off between jobs but this past Monday, it was back to work.  Truthfully, I didn't mind.  I was kinda tired of wearing the same three pairs of gym shorts and tank tops, spending my days painting and picking out ceiling fans.  It was a nice change to blow dry my hair, put on make-up, and wear real people clothes when Monday rolled around.

So far?  I LOVE this new place.  Granted, I haven't even remotely started doing my actual job yet. There will be lots of training and learning before I will feel just a little bit comfortable holding the reins.  But this is a great company, with great benefits. The people are friendly and welcoming and I already feel right at home.  I can't tell you what a relief all of this is during such a crazy time in my life.  I've met some new faces and had the pleasure of seeing some familiar ones from previous work with the agency.  I can't tell you how happy I am.

It's weird - when I was working third shift, people were always telling me "I don't know how you do it."  I thought, do what? I have to work for a living, this (my former) job allows me to be home with my kids on Fridays and not have to send them to the babysitter five days a week.  Sure, that saved us a little money.  But I didn't get to see my kids in the morning.  Ryan was getting them ready all by himself.  I wasn't there at night when they were sick, which made my stomach hurt and my heart ache.  Now, even though they are going to our sitter five days a week, I feel like I see them more, not less.  I definitely get to see Ryan more because I don't have to leave as soon as the kids go to bed.

I don't know how I did it either.  I don't know how my husband did it.  He was home alone with two babies through their first year (and beyond) of not-so-wonderful sleep habits.  You guys? I got a keeper.  We still have a long way to go on the house and some big decisions to make, but things are only gonna get better.

Good stuff.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Dear Dexter (15 month letter)

Dear Dexter,

You are 15 months old today!  You are one of the happiest people I know.  Your smile is contagious and people always ask me, "he's always happy, isn't he?"  My answer is, "yep, pretty much!"  It's true.  That's what I think of when I think of you - happiness.

You still have seven teeth.  Four on top and three on bottom.  You haven't gotten any new teeth in about 6 months so I imagine we are all in for a treat pretty soon.  I'm sure it won't change your happy disposition though.  Right?

You are starting to talk more and will repeat anything anyone tells you to.  Sometimes you surprise me by saying something I didn't even know you knew how to say.  You love putting on everyone's shoes and walking around with them clopping on the floor.  You love to follow your big brother around and play whatever he's playing.

You like food - most kinds of food and large quantities of food.  You're still just a little guy though, right around 20th percentile in weight and 50th in height.  You still wake up around 5 or 6am most days, wanting a bottle of warm milk.  Mom's a sucker for those big blue eyes and hasn't made you give it up yet.  Soon though.

Lots of stuff has been going on lately with our new house.  I know mommy and daddy haven't been around as much lately but it's all for you and Theo.  We are making our new house nice.  You are going to have a wonderful place to grow up and do you know why?  Because you deserve it.  You deserve the world, my cute little blondie, and we will do our best to give it to you.

You turned our world upside down, Dex, but guess what?  We wouldn't have it any other way.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

am i totally crazy for this?

One of our non-negotiables when looking for a house was that it would have four bedrooms.  All my close family and best friends live out of state so it's always been important to me that my guests have a nice place to lay their heads at night when they are visiting.

We bought a house with three bedrooms.  

It seemed natural at first that the older child would have the bigger of the bedrooms - we're talking about 30 square feet bigger - but that didn't feel right.  They're only 14 months apart anyway.  After thinking about it, we've decided to see how it goes, letting the boys share a room.  The room is about 13.5' x 13.5' and has plenty of room for two cute toddlers.  I guess my instinct is telling me that they play wherever the other one is, they go to bed at the same time, they get up at the same why not?  Does this seem like a disaster in the making? 

Since we bought a house with just three bedrooms, this seems like a simple solution until the boys are older and express a desire for their own space.  There are some possibilities for a fourth bedroom either in the basement or unfinished attic space later on down the road.  

The only thing I worry about is bedtime.  When we move, we are giving Theo's crib to Dexter and getting rid of Dexter's.  Cold turkey.  Theo will have a new house, a new room, and a new bed.  Oh, and he'll be sharing his new room with his little brother.  Too much at once?  Anyway, I anticipate putting them in bed and then Theo getting out of bed 500 times while he is getting used to his new freedom.  Maybe I'll be wrong, I hope I am, but that's what I worry about the most.  

With them both being boys, playing with the same toys, and being so close in age, it just seemed like a good idea.  We shall see...I'll have to keep you posted on that one.  

Here are a few pictures of recent progress, starting with Dexter's crib bedding (from Amazon, last year's Kimberly Grant Zoom Zoom collection) and the new twin bedding I picked out for Theo (currently at Target).

The base colors - light gray and blue (with one row of tape, getting ready for stripes.

A couple of visitors came by to supervise our work. 

They approved.
They had fun playing with the used painter's tape.
Momma working on those stripes.
Finally - finished paint job and the old carpet is gone.

Momma working on the master bedroom.
Going to paint those window walls some other color - just haven't figure out which one yet. The color of the walls is a light aqua shade.  So pretty!  I'm thinking maaaybe red.  Too much?

If you google "red and aqua bedroom," there are so many inspirational images...oh my.  Here's one that I love.

Just realized I was ALL over the place with this. So here's the recap... am I crazy for making/letting the boys share a room?  And is red/aqua awesome or what? 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

this is the hard part.

Since I've got two weeks off between jobs + a house that needs LOTS of work and updates, I've been spending as much time as possible at the house doing whatever I can to get it (more) ready for us to move in to.  That means getting up in the morning and getting the boys ready for the day, whether that means going to the babysitter's house or staying home with Nana, and then only seeing them for another hour or so each day.  This is the hard part.

I keep thinking it will all be worth it.  I have only been going at these long days for a week or so but I feel like it's been 10 years since I've spent any time with my kids and I really miss them.  I wonder if they think about me when I'm not around because they cross my mind 10 times a minute.  I know they're fine without me around.  But what do they think?  Do they miss me?  I'm looking forward to moving into our house and living there as a family.  Dinners there, baths there, bedtime there.  Living with my husband there.  Seeing the improvements we make over time.  This is the hard part.

My mom is in town. She has been hard at work painting for me the last 4 days.  I can't wait to show you what she's done!  I'd be lost without her, my father-in-law, and my mother-in-law.  I asked my mom what she thought dad would be working on if he was still here with us.  She laughed and said, "probably whatever you told him to." I sure miss him at times like this. I know he would love our house, flaws and all, and would do anything he could to help us make it better.  This is the hard part.

The house looks worse than it did when we bought it because it truly is a construction zone right now.  We keep asking ourselves how we ended up in a total fixer upper when we have no time and very little money to make it the way we want it.  We can't keep beating ourselves up for our questionable decision making skills. We have to look to the future and realize how great this house WILL be one day.  This is the hard part.

I really do believe one day we will look back at these days fondly and admire the work that we did.  The love that our family shared with us throughout this process..  Their talent, their generosity, their time, their aching backs and knees, and the list goes on and on.  I just have to keep telling myself that it will be worth it. It won't always be like this.  This right here, this is the hard part.


Friday, August 10, 2012


Do you ever feel like you're wishing away the age that your child is at because it's harder than what you anticipate the next stage will be?  I guess I wouldn't say I'm wishing it away, but I find myself thinking "it sure will be better when..." Fill in the blank with anything the boys will be able to do 6 months or 6 years from now.  There is always something easier and harder than the way it used to be...there is always something easier and harder about the way it will one day be.

When the baby is a newborn, you're thinking it will be nice when they can sleep through the night, tell you what you want, and doesn't need to be held all the time. Later you remember how snuggly they used to be, how they used to nap 6 times a day, and how they didn't ever say "mommy, I don't like you anymore."

When they are 6 months old you wish they could walk or crawl so you don't have to carry them every second of every day anymore.  Once they start that, you'll remember what it was like to sit them in one spot on the floor and leave the room, knowing they would still be there when you got back.  You know, as opposed to licking electrical outlets or something (mine have safety plugs, I'm just saying!).

Then they turn 2 and they start throwing tantrums like you've never seen. The kind non-parents didn't know existed.  Then you think, man, it will be nice when he's 5 and can be reasoned with at times like this.  You think it was a lot easier when we didn't have to try to talk him into peeing in the potty every day.  Or bribe him to eat.  Or bribe him to do just about anything because he's so dang independent that he wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, or else (see first sentence of this paragraph).

Needless to say, I am only 2 years and 5 months into this parenting thing.  I can only imagine how I'll be sitting around one of these days, feeling pretty sad about my boys driving away from home on Friday night to go to a high school basketball game or pick up their dates.  I'll remember how they wanted me when they were sick and how they reached for me to pick them up out of their cribs.  I'll think about the joy on their little faces when they were only 1 & 2 years old and they had just discovered something so simple and new.  Every time I find myself idealizing how wonderful the future will be, I bring myself back to the right now because these little kids of mine?  They are pretty much perfect and the most fun that they've ever been.  Will there come a day that I don't feel that way anymore?  Hope not.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dinnertime: what's right or wrong?

This has been on my mind for some time.  We go through periods of time where the boys eat great and I don't have to worry about it at all.  Other times, I struggle with what to do.

Eating habits.  What do you do?  Do you try to coax your kids (toddlers) to eat what's on their plate?  I have mixed feelings about this. I have a habit of cleaning my plate just because the food is there and it shouldn't go to waste. Not necessarily because I am so hungry that I need to eat everything in sight. I don't know what my child's stomach feels like so is it fair for me to push him to clean his plate if he's not that hungry?  Doesn't that just set him up for the same bad habits I've fallen into, which have caused me to gain and struggle to maintain a healthy weight?

Sometimes we have a dessert that I am excited for him to taste.  If he doesn't eat his vegetables, should I withhold that treat? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  I don't want to set him up for resenting vegetables.  If he is forced to eat them, won't he soon start (if he already hasn't) to rebel against them? I don't want to set my kid up for failure. There are so many things to worry about as a parent that I never even dreamed of before.

Here's a scenario that happens all too often at our house.  I'll fix dinner and Theo will refuse to eat or barely pick at his food. No dessert.  We don't force or high-pressure him to eat.  Bedtime rolls around and conveniently, he's suddenly hungry.  Ryan says he shouldn't get another chance to eat dinner because then he's running us around like short order cooks.  Valid point, but I can't let him go to bed with his stomach growling.  What if he really is hungry? At that point it's been 7-8 hrs since his last meal and he really might need something.  Normally, if I have saved his plate, he will eat it.  Sometimes he asks for yogurt. I don't ever allow crackers or cookies in that situation.  The doctor actually suggested yogurt or cheese as a bedtime snack when he skips meals.  I'm just torn.

Both Theo and Dexter are thin, hovering around the 20th percentile.  It isn't like a bedtime snack is going to push them over the line to obesity. But should I be teaching them a lesson by sticking to a hard and fast rule about when they are allowed to eat?  I've read a million different things and theories.

What's yours?


Monday, August 6, 2012

ready for change?

Well, well, well.  A few things have changed since I last wrote.  Like, oh, you know, we got a new house and I got a new job.

What the what!

Yep, we closed on our house (seen here and here) a couple of weeks ago.  Some issues came up (I'll talk more about later, maybe) so we weren't able to start in on our remodeling right away.  Sunday we said to heck with it and decided to move forward.

And I wasn't looking for a job.  I worked in child welfare for 6 years and had no immediate plans of going anywhere else.  But another social work job in the mental health field found it's way to me and I couldn't pass it up.  No more night shift!  I'm going back to living like normal people instead of vampires.  Somebody say woot!  I start in a couple of weeks.  My new employer was kind enough to allow me some time to work on our house.

I have been so preoccupied and busy that I haven't had much time to write.  Not a lot has changed with the boys, other than growing taller and smarter and older every day.  Theo sounds too old, saying things that he hears grown-ups say, like "last week I was at the store and I saw something and then I went to the car and probably saw everything everywhere..." and on and on and on.  I just love listening to his stories about nothing at all.  Dex is starting to try more and more words when prompted but I don't feel like he says them independently as much as Theo did at about 15 months.  Hard to remember these things!

SO... back to the HOUSE.  I'm excited about the changes we've made so far with Ryan's dad's help.  We've got lots of bright ideas and it seems like everything is top priority.  Who knows when we'll ever get it all done.  Here are a couple of before/after photos so far.

Front door:


(more of a "during" than an "after" pic)
Boys' bathroom (in progress): 
Shower door removed

Cabinet doors removed 
I'm staining the cabinets black. So far, so good!

Ryan's dad taking out some of the tile.

Ready to take the old tub out and put a new one in.

Obviously the bathroom is where we are spending the most of our energy right now.  Can't wait to see the finished product and share it with you!  

Finally - our other big project, the kitchen. 
With carpet, appliance shed (corner), and brick backsplash.

Ryan's dad, getting me started on tearing out the brick.

No brick, no appliance shed!  Looking so much better already.

So there you have it, that's what we/I have been up to.  What do you think about the changes we're making so far? 

miss you!