Wednesday, November 21, 2012

what Mommy in the Midwest is thankful for (2012)

I just read my post from this time last year about what I'm thankful for. Currently, I'm sick with a cold.  Ryan was sick this time last year.  I wrote last year that Theo had been coughing for three weeks.  Theo just stopped coughing (after about four weeks).  Allergies maybe?  Why is this a sick time of year for us??

Anyway, I've been thinking about what I'm thankful for over the past couple of weeks.  I'm thankful for everything wonderful in my life.  I'm thankful for the things I have because I'm lucky and I'm thankful for the things I have because I'm determined to make my own good luck.  I'm thankful for all the changes in my life this year.

And it's been a crazy year.  When I wrote this post 12 months ago, I didn't know what all my family and my relationship would endure this year.  My grandfather died.  My sister got pregnant after trying for over a year and is due with a baby girl in a few weeks. I got a new job that I love.  In the midst of all that, Ryan and I argued more this summer and fall than we ever have because of all the stress we were dealing with over this house.  This home of ours.  The six months since Dexter's 1st birthday in May have been a blur.  Shortly after his birthday, we moved out of our house and in with Ryan's parents.  We certainly didn't plan on living there for five months, but that's what happened.

We kept searching for a home and when we found the one we ended up buying, we weren't happy.  We felt like we got suckered.  A total fixer upper.  So we've spent countless hours over the past months working on the house and sacrificing time with our family.  Now we have been in our house (that is far from done) for about a month.  Was it a big transition?  Not at all.  Seamless.  Ryan and I went back to the couple that loves spending time together.  We went back to being the parents that feed their kids dinner and put them to bed every night.  We went back to plain old boring us.  Which is all I ever wanted.

After all of this, I'm thankful for our house.  One day it will be everything we want it to be.  We will have provided our kids with room to grow and play and enough space to have their friends sleep over.  We want to be the parents that have the house where the boys hang out with their friends.  Open door policy.  I'm thankful that we were able to purchase a home.

I'm eternally thankful to my in-laws.  My in-laws who let us live with them for 5 months.  My mother-in-law who watched the boys night after night, weekend after weekend, while we worked on the house.  My mother-in-law, who cooked us dinner and cleaned up after us, and gave the boys hugs and kisses while we were gone.  My father-in-law, who has spent more of his own time and energy on our house than we have.  My father-in-law, who could build a house by himself, and has spent countless days working by himself on our house while we were at work.  My father-in-law, who always has an idea of how to fix something. How to fit something. How to make things work.  My father-in-law, who is teaching my husband everything he knows about being handy so that one day, Ryan can teach Theo and Dexter.

I literally don't know where we'd be without them.  Maybe we wouldn't have had the nerve to buy this crazy house if it weren't for them.  Maybe we'd live in an apartment for a year while we were fixing it up.  I. Don't. Know.  But what I do know is that they're there for us, through thick and thin, and we could never repay them.  They're my second set of parents.  I'm thankful to have amazing in-laws and a wonderful relationship with them.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

our weekend in pictures (backwards)

Art Time.
Reading Time.
Christmas Lights.
Santa Sightings with Friends.
Jingle Bells.
Daddy Love.
Cracker Eating While Mom's Trying to Get Cute Photos for Christmas Card.
Play Date.

What a wonderful weekend.  Hope yours was too.


birth order

I’m linking up with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky.  This week’s topic is birth order.
My older sister and I are just about exactly 2 years apart.  I don’t know if birth order affected our personalities or not.  We’re a lot alike.  We’re both quiet until we get to know people, then we are loud, talkative, and joke around a lot.  We’re both very sarcastic.  Neither of us are super Type A personalities.  I probably am more Type A than she is as far as having anxiety when things aren’t organized, planned, or in their places.  I like to plan ahead but I can also go with the flow at times.  I know that she had tighter curfews starting out than I did when we were teenagers.  I was friends with most of her friends so by default, I got to stay out as late as she did.  I think she was 15 (16?) before she was allowed to date and I was maybe just a year younger or so because we would go on double dates when I was too young to drive.  Outside of that, I don’t know that there were any major differences growing up.  I never noticed our parents babying me or treating me differently.  We did fine in school – didn’t get straight As but did better than average overall.
My boys are only 14 months apart.  I think about this – how their birth order affects their personalities (and even development) – quite often.  Theo has always been and will always be the oldest child I have.  He always, always, ALWAYS seems so much older at his current age than Dexter does when he reaches that same age.  From day 1, I’ve had different expectations for Theo than I do for Dexter.  I am aware of it, but I don’t know how to control it.  Theo is my gauge for what a 2 and a ½ year old should be doing.  Theo is my gauge for what a 1 and a ½ year old should be doing.  If Dexter isn’t doing everything Theo was doing at xyz age, then I start to worry. 
I also realize now what is realistic for a however-many-month old and a however-many-year old more with Dexter than I did/do with Theo.  I don’t go into a complete panic over giving Dexter sweets like I did with Theo because I know now that they are not going to ruin him and make him never want to eat vegetables again.  There’s no anxiety over still giving Dexter warm milk at night because I think he’ll still want it before bed as a teenager.  I don’t get bent out of shape thinking that my youngest child is going to be a hellion if he throws a fit or doesn’t cooperate.  Am I doing things or worrying about things with Theo now that I won’t with Dexter a year from now?  I don’t know.  I am still learning how to be a parent every day.  Theo is teaching me this month how to parent a 2 yr 8 month old child – I’ve never done it before, but you can bet I’ll use this learning experience 14 months from now when Dexter is 2 yrs and 8 months old. 
Did/does Dexter get ripped off on framed pictures and Shutterfly photobooks?  He sure does.  Are 99% of his shoes and clothes hand-me-downs?  Sure are.  Do I find myself telling Theo to look at things at the zoo or store or out the car window, without thinking that Dexter is old enough to appreciate it too?  YEP.  I try to catch myself and include Dexter, but he is still my “baby.”  The baby in our family.  I think of him as being younger than Theo was at the same age, and maybe I always will.  Theo leads the way.  Dexter plays with the same toys Theo plays with.  I have a million ideas for Christmas gifts for Theo and only and handful for Dexter.  I know that they will both play with whatever I buy, but Dexter literally does WHATEVER Theo is doing.  Dexter has no identified & unique interests of his own.  I’m sure that will change as he gets older.  Right? 
Truthfully, I do treat/view them differently.  Of course it has nothing to do with loving them differently, but it just is what it is…Theo is my big boy and Dexter is my baby.  At any age. Hopefully I'm not giving either of them a complex in the process of raising them!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

my Christmas wish list

Linking up with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday.  This week's topic?  Mama's Christmas wish list! 

1.  3x5 Chindi Loop Rug from World Market.  Two or three of these would look cute in my soon-to-be new kitchen.
2.  Bloom by Kelle Hampton - a memoir written by a mama blogger who has 2 daughters (one with Down Syndrome) and a baby boy on the way.
3. Early Bird lamp (in white) by Land of Nod for my nightstand.  Yes, it's a child's store. Don't care.
4.  Hamilton Beach Set n Forget 6 Qt Programmable Slow Cooker (amazon). I'm falling in love all over again with my crock pot but truthfully, it's pretty junky.
5.  Fossil Maddox Flap Crossbody bag.  Self-explanatory.
6.  Uglydoll Babo Ceramic Cookie Jar (amazon). The boys each have their own uglydoll and I thought this would be a whimsical addition to the kitchen.
7. Zoku Quick Pop Maker (williams-sonoma).  This just intrigues me! I think I saw it on someone else's blog quite a while ago.  I don't know how much I would use it, but it would definitely be a fun way to make sweet & healthy treats for the boys (and maybe myself).
8. Remove Your Shoes wall hanging by Lisa Leonard.  Ya know, because we have new carpet and all.  And really?  What DON'T I want from Lisa Leonard?

What do you want for Christmas?  Have you started making a list? 

And has anyone else tried the Zoku?  Thoughts? 

happy shopping,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Dexter (18 month letter)

Littlest Dexy,

Here we are in the middle of November and halfway to your 2nd birthday already.  On 11/13/12 at 7:05 a.m., you will be 1 and a 1/2 years old!  You are so happy, easy going, and such a joy to be around.  You're also a mischievous little guy who likes to flash a sly grin when you're doing something you know you're not supposed to do.

You're FINALLY getting some more teeth.  You'd had the same 7 since you were about 10 months old but now you're getting the fourth on the bottom and your incisors on the top.  You've been a little wild and crazy and sometimes grumpy lately, which I attribute to these mean teeth coming through, but overall you're handling it like a champ.

You love to eat. Period.  You like your milk. We still give you milk in the mornings and before bed because you love it.  You gulp it down and sometimes, if we're lucky, you'll go back to sleep in the morning afterwards.  Sleep - that's what we need to talk about.  You still wake up EARLY!  Not 5am early like you used to every day, but sometimes 6.  Here recently, you've started occasionally sleeping til 7 and maybe that will become the norm over the next few months. Please and thank you. 

You started sharing a room with your brother over the past couple of weeks and so far I'm really pleased!  You guys get along and play together better than ever and we haven't had much trouble getting you guys to go to sleep at night.  Usually we put you to bed a few minutes before Theo or else... you'll be up yelling and wanting to play for 45 minutes!  I can hear Theo through the monitor telling you "Dexter! It's bedtime!  Go to sleep!"  He's one to talk, isn't he? 

You're talking more and more and saying things I've never heard you say before.  You say "I want" followed by the thing that you want all the time.  Whether it's "to eat," "a bath," "to play," "down," "up," "to read," "Neee" (our cat Niko), "potty" (you don't really do just watch your brother sometimes), etc.  The list goes on and on.  You will repeat anything and everything that we say (or at least try).

Boy, you want to be JUST like Theo.  Wherever he is, there you are.  If you're not there, if I wait long enough, you'll show up.  You want to play what he's playing. Read what he's reading. Watch what he's watching. Sit where he's sitting.  You two are too cute.  Watching you guys together makes mama a happy gal.

You like our new house. You've got lots of toys and lots of room to run around.  Your favorite thing is probably playing on the slide in the library.  Yes, the big plastic slide is in the library until we finish the basement or find some other place for it.  You are brave and like to stand at the top of the slide and take off running down it.  This does not always end well.  You should stop doing that, or at least learn something from it.

You're so brave. You know no danger.  You know no stranger.  I was just telling your dad the other day that I don't think I've ever seen you bleed.  Your brother was only about 9 months old the first time he busted his lip...and he's done this several times since then. He's had various other boo boos.  But I can't think of a single time you've had a cut or busted lip.  I hope I didn't just jinx you!  I guess you're somewhat cautious in your haven't led us to the ER yet.

I still love that you have blonde hair and blue eyes. We call you Blondie a lot.  And Dex. Dexy. Deezy.  Deezy von Weezy.  My sweet.  And again...the list goes on.  You're wearing mostly 18-24 months clothes.  Still in a crib. You've never climbed out (yet).  You still like 2+ hr naps in the afternoon.  You still have the biggest smile and brighest eyes of any little blondie I've ever known. 

I'm really looking forward to the next six months to see how you change and how your vocabulary grows. How your independence and relationship with Theo grows.  I'm looking forward to watching you develop your own interests and talents even more and fostering those things for you.  I'm looking forward to holidays and lazy Saturday mornings with cartoons on the couch.  I'm looking forward to being with you and just being your mama for the rest of my life. 

You're my sweet.  You're my baby and you always will be. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

1 political post

And it's not really even political. It's just me blabbing and getting things off my chest for a minute.  I have restrained myself during this entire political season, aside from "liking" things that I ....well... like... on Facebook.  I lean to the left.  I'm a liberal when it comes to many issues.  I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of my political views but I don't post on Facebook about how I think I support the superior party and everyone who doesn't is an idiot.  I don't believe that. I have a lot of intelligent friends whom I respect that are conservative.  I don't think they are idiots when it's not election time so I try to be open minded and remember that just because we don't have the same political priorities, this is still a person that I respect and find interesting.

My Facebook feed has been absolutely littered with hate.  Hate for Obama, hate for anyone who has ever received public assistance, and hate for people who voted for Obama, hate-hate-hate.  It's disturbing.  It has nothing to do with the issues but everything to do with attitudes. There's a huge difference between supporting a candidate or party and spreading hate towards the other.  I read a lot more anti-Democrat and anti-Obama posts than anything from my conservative friends.  I could probably count on one hand the number of pro-Romney posts I read.  I read lots of pro-Obama posts from my liberal pals.  What I've gathered from this simple observation is that Democrats love Obama and Republicans love to hate him.  I've been trying to figure out the point of posting something to remind everyone that they still hate the thing/person/party that they hated yesterday?

Are these posts meant to change my mind?  Not mine personally, but people who think like me?
Are they meant to try to prove something or one-up someone? To make them feel better about themselves and their position in life?
Are they meant to form a camaraderie with other like-minded people?  By spewing hate and criticism instead of support?
Or are they meant to offend me?  Because when people call me (as part of the general population) an idiot for holding the beliefs I hold, I'm a little offended.  I'm an intelligent college graduate and I think like one, thankyouverymuch, and just because I'm a liberal it doesn't mean that I think the government should support me.

No one, regardless of how many angry, spiteful or well-written posts they share, is going to change my mind and my convictions.  I don't feel the need to try to change anyone else's mind or convince them to see things the way I see them.  That's not my burden.  I certainly don't want my friends to feel that I think they're stupid because we don't see eye to eye on gay marriage or public assistance or war or healthcare or whatever-the-case-may-be.  Them thinking I'm dumb doesn't change my mind. It just makes me question my "friend"ship with them if they can't respect me.

The division I've seen over the past weeks saddens me.  Only during election season do these claws come out.  I try not to take it personally, really.  And nothing has ever been directed at me personally. But I kind of do and it kind of has because my beliefs have been indirectly attacked.  They are part of who I am.  They make me compassionate.  They make me work hard.  They make me want to raise my boys to be compassionate and hard working.  Take me or leave me - I'm not changing.

And I just had to get that off my chest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

feels like home

I've really neglected the before&after pictures of the house, I know.  But mainly it's because they wouldn't really be "after" pictures yet since nothing's totally done. (I'll let you steal a couple sneak peeks in the pictures below).  However.  As I mentioned in my Halloween post...we DID officially move in!  We started staying at the house on Sunday 10/28.  Three months + 1 day after closing.  After we made this decision I started thinking it was super dumb because Theo is transitioning to a big boy bed AND both boys are transitioning to sharing a room with each other.  On a Sunday night.  Genius.  Seems like something you'd want to get a handle on starting on a Friday, right? Eh.

As it turns out, so far it has been fine.  Our big boy really has proven to be just that so far by staying in his bed, not partying all night, and not keeping his brother up all night.  They are fine if we put them to bed at the same time, but they will talk/yell to each other for about 30-45 minutes.  It seems to work better if we put Dexter to bed about 20-30 minutes earlier than Theo.  He has been really good about staying quiet when he knows Dexter is asleep.  Theo is a pretty sound sleeper, so even on the days Dexter wakes up early for milk (yes, we still heat up milk for Dexter at 5:45 am most days), Theo sleeps in.  Saturday both kids slept til almost 8.  EIGHT!  Couldn't believe it.

So the big bed and room-sharing is great.  The mom/homemaker/nurturer in me has been happy as a clam for the past week.  Theo and Dexter have been getting along so well.  My heart bursts every time they hug each other.  Every time I catch Theo trying to teach Dexter something.  Every time I sneak a peek into their room because it's too quiet and see them sitting on Theo's bed playing with something together.  It feels amazing to just cook their dinner and give them a bath here and do the most normal, ordinary, mundane, boring things.  That's all I wanted.  They love this house.  It's far from done, but it's home.  It's already our home sweet home.  Blood, sweat, and tears have all been shed here to make this place our home.

The OCD person in me still sees unpacked boxes and piles of tools and unpainted cabinets, etc.  But those things can wait.  We're home now.  We're with our kids every day.  I never have to miss a bedtime or dinnertime or storytime.  It's all I've been wanting for the past 3+ months.

Best friends.  Two peas in a pod.
It's home.


Monday, November 5, 2012

happy/sad Halloween

Rooney Doodle from the Doodlebops

Pirate Parrot

The boys had a great time in their costumes and just loved going door to door.  Theo was excited last year but even more so this year.  Dexter just went along for the ride and had fun carrying his bucket.  It got really heavy but he would not let me hold it for him.  Too cute!

Ugh... now the not so great news.  I'm just sick about it and can't stop thinking about it.  We went to our old neighborhood to go trick or treating.  We closed on our old house on May 31st and neither Ryan nor I had driven back by the old house.  It's just been too sad ... we're homesick for that little house after everything we've been through.  Also, we didn't want to confuse Theo by going by there before we moved in to our new place.  Oh, did I tell you?  WE MOVED INTO OUR NEW PLACE!  That's another post.  

Anyway, we went to the old 'hood and drove by our house (it looks lovely) and by our next door neighbor's.  The lights were not on, but it was right at 6 so we thought maybe they just hadn't turned on their light yet. We went up a couple of other streets. Theo really was so cute, saying over and over "isn't this fun, Mom?  Getting candy is SO fun!"  His face lit up every time someone put more candy in his bucket.  By 7 we made our way back over there.  Kitchen light was on but not the porch light.  We went to see another neighbor across the street and learned that our dear neighbor, Roger, is terminally ill with liver cancer.  HE HELPED US MOVE at the end of May.  Needless to say, we went over there and visited.  He is about 50ish and has lived there with his mother, who is close to 90.  We thought if anything had happened, his mother would be the one to have fallen ill.  

Guys... Roger.  Oh my goodness.  He was lying there in his hospital bed.  His entire body swollen, his face gray.  He looked just awful. Let's just say he looked bad enough that I'm checking a certain section of the paper every day. The boys just stared at him.  Theo talked to him.  Roger told us we were wonderful neighbors and that he loved us.  He said he'd tell his mom to make sure to call us when he died. Seriously?  A night of fun and merry-making turned into THAT.  That quick.  Just as quickly as his health deteriorated.  It's a huge reality check and such a heart-breaker.  Anyway, sorry to be a party pooper. But that's what I think about when I think about Halloween 2012.  

Linking up with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky