This time of year is complete magic.
Experiencing the holidays through the eyes of these little boys is such an incredible gift. I’m so very excited for all that is to come this month!
Henry is 4 years, 1 1/2 months old
Ben is 21 1/2 months old
Earlier this week I put a collage on Instagram of Henry when he was Ben’s age for #tbt (Throwback Thursday.) My caption talked about how I sometimes feel guilty for finding Ben so much more enjoyable to be around than his brother most of the time. Of course, Henry’s wonderful, too, but man, that kid can be really challenging, and often.
But Ben? Ben is a freakin delight and Dave and I pretty much adore him.
But as I then said on Instagram, I remind myself that we were completely nutso about Henry when he was this age, too. It’s just a FUN, awesome, sweet age. And Ben deserves his time, too, for us to dote on him and delight in every little thing he does, just like we did with Henry. Ben may very well be just as challenging when he’s four, so we need to enjoy this time now!
I. love. this. age. And I love Benny so. He is such a JOY and such a character and just becoming such a big boy before our eyes.
Some of the things I want to remember about Ben at this age …
- He’s learned how to RUN recently and I’m pretty sure his run is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. He runs around our house all the time, just because he can – I think he’s really excited about this newfound ability. He brings his arms up and runs in such a way that his whole body shifts from left to right and back again with each step. I said recently that his run right now is the epitome of “the pitter patter of little feet” and I seriously just love hearing and seeing it. He also just loves to chase his brother around, or have his brother chase him, and it’s such fun to see them play together more and more.
- He and Henry can fight like crazy, usually when Henry’s trying to be the parent and takes something away from Ben or keeps him from doing something, or when Ben tries to take something from Henry or knocks down or ruins something he’s working on. But outside of those times, the boys seem to truly LOVE each other. They get excited to see one another. They have real conversations. They play together and run around together and wrestle each other. When Henry asks for something (food, I mean) and I say yes, every time he will say “well, can Ben have one, too?” and then he’ll happily deliver it to Ben.
- Ben’s talking has exploded the past month or so. He’s talking in two- and three-word phrases now, and he repeats nearly everything we say perfectly. We don’t prompt him to repeat us all that often, he just does it, as if he wants to practice his vocabulary. My favorite is when he peeks through or around something at us and says “I see you!” or he’ll pretend to play hide and seek, cover his eyes, and go “two, three, four – come!” He’s also been saying “I find it!” when he finds a picture in his Elmo look-and-find book and “I do it!” when he wants to do something for himself.
- He sings constantly. CONSTANTLY. Mostly the ABCs. He has the entire tune correct and knows a lot of the letters if you sing the song and let him fill them in when you stop. But when he’s singing it on his own, he doesn’t say hardly any of the letters, instead singing mostly gibberish to the right tune. (Here’s a video of it I got tonight.) He also still loves to count and will count things any chance he gets. I think I’ve said this before, but I’m pretty sure he knows how to count to 20 better than Henry does. Henry somehow always misses 14-16 but Ben can get the numbers if we help just a little.
- I’ve said it before but he’s just SO good at playing by himself and it still amazes us. He loves to ‘talk’ on the phone (“Hellooo?” “Hi gramma”) and throw balls and look through books. His favorite, still, is cars and trains, and it’s rare to see him without one in his hands or at least nearby. We took him to Trainfest here in Milwaukee last weekend and I had one of those heart-is-going-to-explode moments when we first got there and I saw his reaction to the electric trains everywhere. He was completely mesmerized and so excited, and we all had such fun there. That train table we got for Henry when he was this age – and subsequently sold again a year later when it was clear he had no interest in it – sure would get some use now if we still had it!! We were ahead of our time, darn it. Oh well, I’m sure we can always get another on Craigslist his interest continues.
- He loves Team Umizoomi and asks for it all the time. “Zoomi! Ooh-zoomi!” He lights up when the song starts and dances to it sometimes, and he repeats much of what Milli, Geo and Bot say. He also announces shows as soon as he seems them – “Cai-woo!” “Guppies!” “Why!” (Calliou, Bubble Guppies, Super Why)
- He wants to draw whenever he sees paper and markers out on the table, which is quite often. He holds the marker just how he’s supposed to and will scribble for minutes on end. He also will “read” words when he sees them – like our “This is the Life” sign that we have hanging above our stairway – he’ll point sometimes as I’m carrying him down the stairs and say “e, o, e, r, e, s, t, t, e!” Or something like that.
- He still loves his picture books. He’ll pick them up and ask to sit on my lap so we can look together, and even before bed now, it’s all he wants to do – look through picture books until I finally say it’s time to go to sleep. I still prefer reading him stories before bed, but it’s only once every few nights that he’ll allow that anymore in lieu of his beloved picture books.
- I can’t really even adequately describe how reckless he is. Zero fear, and complete trust in us. He will fling himself off of any piece of furniture into our arms, sometimes before we’re ready for it. He’ll stand up on a chair and put him arms out and fake whine until someone comes over to catch him. He contorts his body in crazy ways, arching his back and falling off the couch on purpose, doing the Chinese splits on the carpet, and jumping up and bringing his legs up and landing hard on his butt, even when not on a soft surface. He’s kind of nutty.
- He has *just* learned how to smile and say cheese when I take his picture. He still won’t do it too often, but he has a few times recently and it’s made me so excited! Even if the smile he gives is totally fake and cheesy.
- He’s a happy kid – and so adorable – but that does not often translate on camera. He’s a little stinker about pictures, and about ‘performing’ in general. If we ask him to do something and he doesn’t want to, he’ll mean mug us and say “mm-mm.” That’s another thing – he never says no. Instead we get “mm-mm.”
- When I sit down with him in the rocking chair at night before bed to snuggle, he looks at me and says, in the sweetest little voice, “dayyyy.” And I ask “do you want to talk about our day?” and he nods, so I tell him everything we did that day. I do the same thing with Henry every night, and I’m sure Ben’s heard it and wanted to do it, too.
- He still sleeps well, though he does wake up once in awhile. He still has a nuk, but only in his bed now. No more taking it to Kelly’s or in the car. I tell him “you’re too big for those nukies!” and he just smiles like a little devil. I say “I’m going to throw those in the garbage soon” and he smiles bigger and says “mm-mm!!!”
- He eats pretty terribly lately, which is super frustrating. He doesn’t even like things that are pretty universally accepted by kids – hot dogs, most fruit, cheese. Nope. He loves bananas, yogurt, oatmeal, and anything snack-y – crackers, granola bars, yogurt raisins, fruit strips, etc. And of course, he geeks out over candy. The two things I can always count on him to absolutely mow are scrambled eggs and sausage in the morning and pizza on Friday nights. He looooves both of those. We’re just going to keep trying and keep serving him the foods he should be eating – it’s about all we can do!
- He had his 18-month check-up (nearly three months late – my fault for waiting too long to schedule it, since it often takes weeks and weeks to get an appointment) and weighed almost 26 pounds. His head is no longer off the charts, though still large, and his height and weight are pretty average for his age. He had FIVE shots, including his flu shot, and he took them like a trooper. I’m told he won’t need any more shots now til he’s four – which means Henry is due for a few when he has his appointment soon.
A few recent anecdotes …
- He’s been calling Dave “Dave” instead of dad, which is pretty hilarious. (Video)
- Two nights ago I tucked him in and as I laid him on his back and covered him in his blanket, he said “polar bear,” so I put his big soft polar bear by him and he wrapped his arm around him. Then he said “tiger,” so I put the tiger in his other arm. And there he laid, eyes wide open, nuk in his mouth, a stuffed animal in each arm, right near his face. It was ridiculous in its adorableness.
- We had the boys in the bath last night and I let them play with their foam letters and numbers. Henry was holding up the eight and asked us what number it was. We’re like, Henry, you know what number that is. And before he could say it, Ben said “eight!” For the next five minutes, we asked him random numbers, and he got probably half of them right. One or two would have been a fluke, but he got probably five different numbers right. Three, four, five, six and eight.
- We had a first in our house this afternoon. Ben had pooped and it was my turn to change his diaper, but I was finishing up something upstairs so he had to wait a few minutes. Suddenly Henry yelled “ohhhhh Mom, Ben got poop on his back!” So I ran down the bottom of the stairs – and Ben’s hands were covered in poop. He had stuck his hands down his diaper and made a huge mess of himself. He had it on his shirt and even had a little above his lip! Oh my gosh, it was horrific. I gagged as I carried him upstairs and into the bathroom to get right into the bath. What possesses a kid to do that?! I learned my lesson – change that kid the second I know he’s pooped!
I just read a post from when Henry was about this age (and it was before I made my blog public so it’s especially gushy) and there are a lot of parallels … I was loving this age, Henry was sweet as can be, his vocabulary was exploding, he loved to sing. He could count to three (three, twenty, what’s the diff …) and was making us laugh at every turn. He was 28 pounds, so bigger than Benny! And we’d just turned his car seat around, which we also did with Benny recently. So fun to have that to look back on.
So anyway, Ben is pretty much the bee’s knees in our eyes right now. He is funny, cuddly, loving, rambunctious, curious, smart and just such a joy to be around. I miss him when we’re apart, whether it’s all day while I’m at work or even just two hours when he’s napping.
He loves his mommy so much, and yet (knock on wood) he’s going on two and we haven’t had one little period of separation anxiety with him. He’s always so happy to see us when we’re reunited with him, and yet it doesn’t seem to bother him when we’re apart. He’s really a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. I also love that he has his big brother with him at daycare all day – I think it makes it more fun and makes the separation from mom and dad a lot easier, and I think Henry really enjoys it, too. I also appreciate that I have Henry to tell me about his and Ben’s day each day. Henry will go to school next year and they’ll be apart during the day, but then hopefully Ben will have a little sibling with him instead. (Henry was the trailblazer who had to be at daycare all by himself for a couple of years!)
I remember the holiday season last year being seriously magical with two little boys, and I’m so excited for this year. Then once the holidays are over, it will be nearly time for Ben’s second birthday already. As quickly as time passes, it really does feel like a long time ago that Ben was born. I feel like it took me a little longer to “know” Ben than it did with Henry – and obviously I get to know each of my boys more with each passing day – but I know him now, and I feel pretty darn lucky to have such a cool kid as my second son.
Benny is 21 months, 4 days old
It’s nearly two weeks later, but I realized tonight I never posted about Halloween! I’ve never been a huge fan of this holiday, but having kids has given it a whole new level of excitement and fun.
Last year I thought my little Darth Vader and Yoda were about as cute as cute could get. Yet I think my guys topped that this year with their matching astronaut costumes! I found Ben’s at the JBF consignment sale for $10. Such a score!! I asked Henry what he wanted to be, and of course he wanted to be a super cool astronaut, too. So I had to order the same costume for him online, which ended up costing about five times more than Ben’s cost. Oh well.
We trick or treated in our neighborhood the Sunday before Halloween. The weather was beautiful and Henry headed out with Dave for a good hour while Ben napped, then Ben and I joined them once Ben woke up. Henry did a great job saying “trick or treat” and “thank you” at every house, though I did remind him more than a few times to speak up so people could actually hear him. Ben was a bit of a stink butt, not wanting to say anything to anyone or even crack a smile at them – but boy, he did want the candy! Amanda and Mark joined us for awhile, too, with sweet baby Owen rocking Henry’s hand-me-down pumpkin hat in the stroller.
All told, Henry trick or treated for nearly 2 1/2 hours that day! Which was a good thing, since Halloween night trick or treating got cut short …
The weather had been crappy all day, but the rain cleared up temporarily as we convened around 6 p.m. and headed out for some trick or treating. We didn’t bring the umbrellas from our car since it didn’t seem to be raining anymore … then of course, once we were a good four or five blocks from the house, it started to POUR and we all got absolutely soaked to the bone. It was actually pretty funny and the kids were all troopers. We hit a few houses on our hustle back, the ones with their doors open giving out multiple pieces of candy to the kids still brave enough to be out there.
Once we made it back, the kids took off their wet costumes and wrapped in towels to warm up as we visited a bit before heading home. It was a whirlwind of a weeknight and sort of a bust because of the weather, but still super fun to get all the kids (and parents!) together.
And heck, while we’re at it, since this never got its own post, either … Dave I got married October 28, 2006, so our anniversary celebration usually falls on the same weekend as Halloween and trick or treating. Didn’t think about that when planning, not that it matters much. The night before trick or treating, my mom watched the boys while we had ourselves a fantastic date night. Drinks and a cheese plate at one restaurant, drinks at a second, and then a full (fabulous) dinner at a third. It was a long, leisurely, romantic date night to celebrate seven years of wedded bliss.
Cheers to 50+ more years and many more anniversary celebrations like this one. And plenty more Halloweens with our crazy cute kids, too!
Sometimes I wonder what my 25-year-old self would think looking at my life now.
This morning Henry had a 7 a.m. dentist appointment, so I had to get up extra early and get us all dressed, fed and out the door by 6:55 a.m. (Lucky for us the dentist is right up the street!)
Henry did awesome and Ben was really good, too, and they both got to pick out a new toothbrush and a toy on our way out. I got them to daycare at their normal time and I got to work just after 8 a.m. feeling sort of like Super Mom. I don’t often feel like that, so when I do, I embrace it and give myself a little pat on the back!
Henry is 4 years, 1 month old
Ben is almost 21 months old
Saturday was a day that just needs to be documented.
We woke up as a family at nearly 7 am and had ourselves a total love fest before our feet even hit the floor – we were all in a great mood, the boys were so happy to see their daddy since he’d been out the night before, and we had the whole weekend ahead of us to look forward to. As I got ready in the bathroom a little while later, I specifically remember thinking to myself how particularly awesome everything felt today.
Then the day just unraveled into sort of a fiasco. And so quickly! I mean, it was nothing earth-shattering, but it was an emotionally exhausting day, to say the least.
First, we had plans to take a family trip to my office to pick up a rug I’d ordered for our living room. It was too big to fit in my car with car seats, so we had to take two cars, including one with the car seats taken out. Henry was SO excited to go to my work. I think he’s been there twice, but it’s been months, and I talked about how no one would be there and we could run around a little bit and try out the massage chair. All morning he kept asking “when are we going to your work?”
So I was getting ready when he came into the bathroom with a cough drop he’d found, asking if he could have it. He’s not sick and he didn’t need it, so I told him to put it back where he found it. He disappeared and then came back, and I could tell by the way his hand was hovering near his pocket that he hadn’t, in fact, put it back like I told him to. I asked him if he put it back and he said he did. I put down my straightener and looked him in the eye. I said “I’m going to give you one more chance to tell me the truth, or you’re not going to get to go into my work later.”
He didn’t miss a beat. “I put it back,” he told me.
I reached into his pocket and found the cough drop, and he immediately dropped to the ground and started crying, knowing he was in trouble.
I calmly put it back and told him he’d lost his privilege that he’d been so excited about. And it hurt ME as much as it hurt him. I’d been excited to bring him into my office, and I felt bad that he’d been naughty and lost it. But I HAD to stick to my guns.
And it wasn’t easy, since for the next 45 minutes he wailed and begged and pleaded, saying at least 50 times “Mom, I want to go to your work!!” through his tears, and every time, I had to say no.
He’s lied to Kelly a few times recently and she had to call me to talk to me about it when he wasn’t around. He’s also lied to us a few times at home, and we are trying really hard to nip that in the bud. He knows how serious lying is. Or, at least, we’re trying to convey to him how serious it is. So I hope this episode will stick with him next time he thinks about lying. He was mostly over it by the time we left the house, and surprisingly, when he had to wait in the car in my office parking lot while we loaded the rug, he didn’t even complain.
So then, we had probably our most embarrassing public incident as parents happen at Target just before we stopped at my work.
Thankfully, neither of my kids has ever thrown a tantrum in public (yet anyway) so I’ve never had to deal with all eyes on me as my child wails. That changed Saturday.
We let Henry ride on the bottom of the cart as we picked up a few things. Probably stupid, I know. We told him right away not to put his hands down or he might get his finger caught. As we approached the very busy check-out area at Target, with Dave pushing the cart and me carrying Ben a few steps ahead of them, sure enough, Henry ignored our warning and put his hand down, getting his finger caught in the wheel. It ripped a bit of his skin and he FA-REAKED OUT.
The whole front end of the store went silent for a few seconds and every person turned to look at us.
Dave’s face was red as he picked Henry up and calmly took him to the bathroom as I grabbed the cart and got in line. I could feel my face getting really hot and I smiled kind of sheepishly at a few people with whom I met eyes. People smiled and seemed sympathetic rather than judgmental, which I was thankful for. A few minutes later we were on our way, and we made Henry a make-shift bandage out of tissues and some tape in Dave’s car.
Finally, we were all home by lunchtime and life was good again. We brought the new rug in and Dave was outside with Ben, about to get the car seats out of the garage to put back in my car. I had the front door to the house open as they were out there.
Ben had climbed into my empty backseat and was being all adorable sitting there like a big boy and saying “go go!” Dave closed the door on him so he wouldn’t wander off, and I ran out to make silly faces at him through the window. Henry followed me out and in the five seconds it took me to walk around to the other side of the car to get in the back seat with Ben so that I could clean the crumbs off the seat before Dave put the car seats back in, I heard Henry say “I want to play in the car, too!” and I looked just in time to see Ben falling face-first out of the car and onto the cement curb.
It was AWFUL. One of those moments where time and your heart just stop. I scooped Ben up (which Dave later scolded me for since he could have been seriously injured – but I wasn’t going to leave my baby in a heap on the ground!) and he was wailing and Henry started crying and I think, as with the swing incident a few months back, I was saying oh my God, oh my God.
I took him inside and comforted him and surveyed the damage, which was a nasty road rash on his forehead but thankfully nothing else serious. He calmed down after a few minutes and so did Henry, after we assured him that we knew he didn’t do it on purpose. But man, Henry, think before you do things!
As all this was happening, Henry was wailing and looking to me for comfort, and I pretty much ignored him while I comforted Ben, since he was the one who had gotten hurt! Ugh. So awful. And so lucky to have dodged yet another bullet with Benny.
This is probably the best picture I have of his injury, which was taken the following day, yesterday.
It’s funny, Ben is SUCH a little bruiser, throwing himself around and falling all the time, and yet every time he gets really injured, it’s always somehow because of his brother! The swing thing wasn’t really his fault, but the spatula to the forehead was all Henry, and now this was mostly Henry again. My poor little buddy! Henry never got really hurt like this as a toddler. Still hasn’t to this day, I don’t think. Ben is just more accident-prone, and I think having a big brother around doesn’t help matters.
I cringe thinking of all the injuries that lie ahead, and I pray that none are too serious. I mean, you can try and try to keep them safe and then freak things just happen. I guess we could have kept him out of the car, but it seemed harmless, and I had no idea Henry would open the door like that.
Amanda and Mark stopped over for a bit yesterday with baby Owen, who’s six weeks old now, and Amanda was talking about how his sleeping has gotten worse and how she wonders if she did something wrong to cause it. I assured her that that certainly wasn’t the case, and I told her how just that morning I said to Dave how you can be such good parent the majority of the time, but every day there’s at least one moment or incident that makes you feel like a horrible parent and a total failure. She said that made her feel better.
And lucky for us, yesterday was a much less eventful day.
I had a bit of an epiphany recently. It’s actually a little embarrassing to admit, but I’m going to admit it anyway. And if what I say warrants a big old “well, DUH,” then I suppose I have that coming.
The realization is this: This life is never going to get easier. The chaos that comes with raising children and building a home, a family and a career? That chaos is here to stay.
I think I wasn’t really prepared for what life would look like at this stage. How could I have been? Maybe we’re all a bit blindsided by it? Or maybe I’m just naive.
Recently, probably since having Ben, and even more so since going through all the big changes (new jobs + new daycare) we went through this year, I found myself feeling slightly panicked about everyday life. About the state of my house (clutter and mess, a never-ending battle) and the rush-rush feeling of my schedule and the speed at which life was passing. I felt like a chicken with my head cut off, and I felt like I was waiting for something to happen.
I was waiting for the day when everything would simply click.
When I’d feel on top of things. When my house would be tidy and my schedule would be more open and when I’d magically get enough sleep and have enough money and somehow feel like I have enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. When my kids would be angels and I’d be able to work out regularly and our evenings would feel peaceful and my to-do list would somehow, some way, be completely checked off.
I thought in terms of … When my kids are a bit older. When I’m not so new at my job. When I try just a little harder.
As I look at my life now, as I look at those around me, and as I look into my future, it’s suddenly so clear:
Life will NEVER feel totally in control.
As long as I have kids and a husband and a house and a job and family and friends and all of the responsibilities that come with these roles, I will always be fighting a battle. And that battle is simply called LIFE. We’re all fighting it. And it’s a beautiful, worthy battle. One I feel SO LUCKY to be in the throes of.
Life feels like a whirlwind because it IS a whirlwind. It’s a whirlwind I’ve created and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
So now when I see the clutter in my house, I actually smile. (Ok, not always, but sometimes I really do.) Those toys I’m tripping on, that sticky mess on the floor, those never-ending laundry piles? All tangible evidence of this growing family I adore.
Now I tackle chores more happily, and I take battles with the kids in better stride. I’ve become better about compartmentalizing my days and gearing up for each part. For being present in each one and simply appreciating the time and doing what I can during the time I have, whether it’s in my mornings or evenings with the boys, during my workday, or during my ‘me time’ after the boys have gone to bed. I relish our weekends as a family and I don’t really dread Monday since I know how quickly another weekend will come. I enjoy the workweek, too (though I still live for the weekend, always!) for its routine and its focus and its family time that carries its own special sweetness because it’s limited. I am finding a rhythm and, for the most part, relishing the cadence of this fast-paced life.
My new mantra is simply to embrace the chaos.
I’m not saying I have this new attitude every minute or even every day. I still get tired and annoyed and frustrated and I still wish I had more hours in the day, and I sometimes daydream about the days before kids when life was, in fact, EASY. I take such pleasure in an hour of solitude or an hour of yoga, and I always wish there was more of that.
But I really am taking everything in so much better stride these past few weeks, and I know it’s due to a tangible shift in my overall outlook.
Because this chaos ain’t going anywhere soon, that’s for sure. We want another child. Our careers are only going to get more demanding, not less. And our kids will soon be in school and activities, and then life will get a whole lot crazier and more action-packed.
And to that I say, bring it on.
The date is Tuesday, October 15
Henry is four years old (+2 days!)
Ben is 20 months
I did my first DITL post a year ago this month, and then I did Spring and Summer, too. I somehow missed Laura’s Winter DITL prompt – oops! Will have to be more on the ball this winter. (Winter, NOOOOO!!!) Anyway, this is my fourth time doing this and it’s the same story each time – such a tremendous undertaking but so worth the effort to have these days to look back on.
On Monday evening, I stayed up way too late. I try to be in bed by 10:30 or 10:45 most nights, but I stayed up til nearly 11:30 Monday night. I’m not even sure what I all did, but I do know I started a blog post about Henry’s birthday weekend much too late and then of course had to see it through …
Ben wakes up whining right around the time I go to bed, and he’s having trouble falling back to sleep, so I’m up and down with him a few times and it’s well after midnight when I finally go to sleep. Henry’s up at 3:30 to pee and he crawls into our bed for a hug, as he always does after he pees in the middle of the night. I hug him and then walk into the bathroom to pee, and when I come back into my room, Henry refuses to go back to his own bed. We have a little argument and he finally walks back to his room. I follow him and kiss him good-night and go back to my bed. But I’m all worked up from getting mad so I don’t fall back to sleep til after 4. Then the alarm goes off at 5:40. Not enough sleep and I’m seriously exhausted when I get up.
Today’s Tuesday, which means Dave works a later day, 9-6 instead of 7-4. He does this on Tuesdays and Fridays, so on those days, he drops off at Kelly’s and I pick up, and we each do the opposite on the other three days of the week. So on Tuesdays and Fridays I get up about 10 or 15 minutes later than on the other days, and I have Dave’s help with the boys instead of being on my own from 6:30 a.m. on.
5:48 a.m. – The alarm’s gone off and I’m laying in bed when Ben starts to call for me. I get up and greet him in his room, and he’s adorable standing in his crib with his nuk in his mouth. Every morning he points out his tiger, then his polar bear, then his blanket to me, in that order. I pick him up and smell his amazing sweet baby smell and kiss his face. I love being reunited with him each morning! He throws his nuk in his bed and we go in to see daddy.
5:59 a.m. – I get into the shower while Dave lays in bed, and Ben wanders from his room to ours and back again, waiting for his brother to get up and waiting for Dave to take a shower so that he can take the boys downstairs. I randomly have the song “Hey There Delilah” running through my head. I had a dream last night that I was going to move with Ben to another city far away to get my culinary arts degree. The town was called Lowell, which is the name of Baby Rabies’ new baby, which is where I think my brain got that. So weird.
6:10 a.m. – I get out of the shower and Dave gets in, and I have to use a beach towel since all of our towels are either dirty or in the clean pile downstairs. The way we fly through towels lately drives me insane – it’s that time of year when neither the heat nor the air conditioning is ever on, so the towels don’t dry! It’s gross and annoying.
6:15 a.m. – I let Benny brush his teeth while I start doing my makeup. He climbs up on the toilet, as he likes to do lately, and grabs a tissue to wipe his nose, which is really cute. He later rips up the tissue and spreads the pieces all over the upstairs, which isn’t as cute. I check Timehop as I do every morning and enjoy the cute pictures of my boys from a year ago, and I’m reminded that today is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. I think briefly about how my miscarriage was five whole years ago this month. I think more about women I know who have lost a baby and don’t have a child yet. I feel a stab in my heart to think of Diana, who recently lost another baby boy after losing twin boys last year. I think of her very often, and her whole story makes me question so many things about this life.
6:20 a.m. – Henry wakes up and rubs his eyes, complaining about the bright lights. He’s in a fairly decent mood today, though, once his eyes adjust to the light. I change Benny’s diaper in his room while Henry hangs out in there with us. Henry tells Ben that he’s too big for nunies (nuks) and that he dreamed about Ben having a HUGE nunie that covered his whole face. Henry has a cold that came about the day before and he sniffs a lot. He tells me that when Daniel on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was sick, he didn’t have to go to school, so he shouldn’t have to go to Kelly’s today. I tell him that we stay home when we’re throwing up, but we have to go to work and school when we have a cold, since people get colds a lot. I tell him he’s my guy and he says what he always says back to me – “you’re my girl.” Then I kiss him and we put our cheeks together and he asks “is this called a cheek kiss?”
7 a.m. – I come downstairs and the boys are at the table eating their breakfast. Dave’s brewing coffee in our pretty new coffee maker, which allows us to make a full carafe or just a single cup. Love it. Henry asks if he can do a craft (surprise, surprise) and since he doesn’t have to leave until a little after 8 a.m. with Dave, I tell him ok. I get him paints from downstairs and he gets to painting while I start making my breakfast. Ben’s out of his chair now and running around. When my breakfast is made, I sit down at the table with Henry but then promptly get back up because the paints smell horrible and I can’t eat while smelling them.
I take my breakfast and my small cup of coffee into the living room and sit down on the floor in front of the couch. (I got this green mug at Goodwill a few weeks ago for 49 cents and I love how little it is – rare that I want a SMALL cup of coffee, but when I do, this is the perfect size.) I put on Team Umizoomi for Ben. He proceeds to crawl on top of me and beg for eggs and sausage, and I have to move my plate and cup multiple times so that he doesn’t knock them over. Benny loves eggs and sausage (which he calls “saucy”) and I often share my breakfast with him, even after he’s already eaten his own breakfast.
Henry comes in and, while he’s usually really good about picking out clothes and getting himself dressed in the morning when I ask him to, today he throws a fit about it. He cries on the couch behind me while I finish my breakfast, but then finally goes upstairs to get himself dressed. I put my lunch together – leftover taco meat and some lettuce to make a salad – and get myself a travel mug of coffee before going upstairs to get myself dressed.
7:30 a.m. – I’m so tired and I know I only have one meeting today, and it’s just an internal one, so I decide I don’t feel like wearing dress pants and heels today. Pick out black skinny jeans and a top and scarf and put on tall black boots – ah, so much more comfortable than heels. I come back downstairs and Dave is playing with the RC car while Ben stands on our computer chair, squealing as he watches the car go by.
7:45 a.m. – I gather my stuff and snap a few pictures with my family (including a few with Dave, who was being grumpy about it, so I licked his face and made him laugh) and head out the door. It’s drizzling and chilly out. I pull away at 7:53 a.m. and wave and blow kisses to my boys.
Ideally, I should get to work by 8 a.m., but I rarely do … it’s usually somewhere between 8:05 and 8:20, depending on the day. I find that I’m often later on days that I don’t have to drop off at daycare. With Dave around to help me, I’m on less of a schedule, and my good-byes at home tend to be a lot more drawn out than my good-byes at Kelly’s. In my car, I listen to “This I Believe,” the audiobook I’m currently enjoying. I find it amusing that I’ve been listening to an audiobook for my last two DITL posts, too, since I really only listen to one every few months, otherwise just listening to the radio. It’s a strange coincidence that they always fall on a DITL post day.
8:11 a.m. – I pull into work and head inside. I put my stuff down in my office and click on my computer and turn on my lamp – and the light bulb goes out. I got the lamp 7 1/2 months ago when I first started this job, and lucky for me I bought a two-pack of bulbs with it, so I replace the bulb and have light once again. I check email and Facebook and sip my coffee, and then a co-worker of mine who I really like comes in and shows me pictures of her kitchen remodel. We chat for about 15 minutes, and then we head into my department head’s office and close the door and end up chatting in there for another 45 minutes or so. It’s mostly about work stuff actually, but it still means I’m not in my office doing work, and this is something that is taking some getting used to. I came from an agency where I had to bill all my time, so if I had long conversations with coworkers (which sometimes happened, but not nearly as often as here) I had to count that time as unbillable. Now no one is tracking how I spend my time, and shooting the you-know-what with my various coworkers is just part of my job! I work in a much bigger office now (15-20 people as opposed to 3-5) and I LOVE most of my coworkers. I feel so welcome and like part of the family and it’s a pretty great feeling.
10 a.m. – I have my one meeting of the day, which is part of what we’d been talking about. Here I thought it was just a brainstorming meeting with my marketing team and our boss, but nope, it’s a big meeting with the boss and his wife (who I hear has some very staunch views on what people should wear in the office – and it’s not what I’m wearing today, so I feel self-conscious!) and the finance department and the restaurant team. There are like 12 people around the conference table and it’s more formal than most of our internal meetings. Then I volunteer to be the one to write all of our ideas on the board in the front of the room, so now I’m on display in my less-than-professional outfit. Oh well. The meeting goes well, I make some solid contributions, and I leave no longer worrying about my outfit.
11:15 a.m. – I notice as I’m walking out of the meeting that someone brought Einstein Bagels and cream cheese. I put my stuff in my office and come back to get a bagel. (Yeah … that whole 80/20 Paleo idea? Not really happening. I’m ok with it … the weight has stayed off and I feel really good, and I’ve kept up on some of the habits I started during my Whole30 … coconut milk in my coffee, eggs for breakfast every day, less bread overall…) I eat my bagel and catch up on email. Work, work. Email my mom and my step-mom about holiday plans.
Noon – I’m told that our HR director has her baby in the office, so I head to the conference room to see her. She just turned one and is wearing an adorable ladybug outfit and I declare that I want five more babies.
1 p.m. – Two super nice ad reps from a local media company stop in for an impromptu meeting since we’d emailed earlier in the day and I finally committed to some ads with them for 2014. They stay much longer than anticipated since we talk and talk about personal stuff, including my kids (I show them some of Henry’s birthday weekend pictures) and the one woman’s experience with online dating.
2:30 p.m. – I realize that I haven’t eaten lunch yet, which NEVER happens. I am hungry before noon most days and eat at noon on the dot almost always. But today that giant bagel threw me all off and held me over. I make my taco salad and do a little internetting while I eat. People.com, Facebook, New York Times, Drudge Report, Journal Sentinel – all my go-to sites. Also check Instagram.
3:00 p.m. – I’m kind of dragging now and I want more coffee but I never go and get it, getting distracted by this task and that. I’m introduced to a new manager for one of our restaurants and chat with her for a few minutes. Our office manager comes in my office to give me something and she sees me eye up her pregnant belly. She rolls her eyes and tells me I can touch it. Ha. Work, work.
I leave the office at 4:30 p.m. on the dot. I have to leave promptly on Tuesdays and Fridays when it’s my pick-up day since sometimes it takes me the full 30 minutes to get to Kelly’s. Usually it’s more like 25, but I like to play it safe. Today I see something’s not right as soon as I pull onto the on-ramp to get on the freeway. Traffic is backed up like crazy, and a moment later, sirens wail and an ambulance and police car go by. CRAP. I realize immediately that there’s no way I’ll be to Kelly’s on time, so I text her right away to give her the heads-up. I HATE few things more than being late to get my boys when I’ve been away from them all day and I know they’re waiting for me! I try calling my grandma since I haven’t seen or talked to her since Al’s wedding, but she doesn’t pick up.
4:50 p.m. – I FINALLY get on the freeway after inching ahead for 20 minutes. So annoying. I snap a couple pictures as I pass the accident that was holding everything up, and luckily, as soon as I’m past it, I’m able to get to my exit really quickly, since there are no cars anywhere since everything was so bottle-necked.
5:11 p.m. – I get to Kelly’s only 11 minutes late, which is pretty good considering how long it took me just to get on the freeway. Kelly says it’s no big deal that I’m late and the boys give me a sweet happy greeting like they always do. We say good-bye and head outside, and Ben lags behind as I talk to Henry about the crafts he made today. We get to the car and I look back and Ben is playing in the mud in her yard. I pick him up and try to be careful not to get mud on my pants (fail.) I put him in his car seat and immediately see that that was a big mistake – his shoes are WAY muddier than I thought and I’ve now gotten mud all over his car seat and my car’s seat. I take his shoes off and grab some wipes and put them on the floor of the front seat. I buckle the boys in and we head home.
5:22 p.m. – We get home (it’s a four-minute drive from Kelly’s to home but the mud debacle took up a few minutes) and I grab the mail on our way in. It’s a good mail day, as I get my check from the JBF consignment sale and Henry gets a birthday card and $25 gift card to Toys R Us from my cousin Rosie who lives in Florida. I ask Henry what he wants to get with his gift card and he says a robot. “Not a REAL robot, a remote-control robot.”
5:30 p.m. – I get the boys a little snack of cheese and crackers since I know it’ll take me a little while to make dinner. I rarely have to make dinner in our house and am very thankful for that – don’t particularly mind cooking but I’m not great at it and I hate how much time it takes. We don’t have leftovers as we often do on the nights Dave works later, and I eye up our meal list and decide that spaghetti is probably the easiest way to go. I turn on an episode of Calliou for the boys and go upstairs to change out of my work clothes. When I come back down I snap a pic of them holding up their empty bowls and begging for more. My brother, Dan, texts me a picture of himself and an antelope he just shot today. He’s in Wyoming at the moment on a hunting trip.
5:45 p.m. – I’m in the kitchen making dinner and Henry gets himself and Ben a glow stick bracelet from a pack of them he got for his birthday. He asks for my help and then goes into the bathroom to see them glowing in the dark. Then he asks for dry spaghetti for each of them so that they can play “swords.”
Then he asks for some water, which I give him. A moment later he somehow spills it all over the floor, and when I tell him to get a towel to clean it up, of course he freaks out and starts to cry because I’ve asked him to do this enormous chore. Ben – 20 months old, mind you, not four – grabs a towel and starts to clean up the water. Then he points at Henry and says “crying” as he often does lately when Henry cries. I say yup, Henry’s crying again. Henry calms down and does clean up the rest of the water. Somewhere in here Ben does something naughty and has to take a time-out on the bottom step. He and Henry are both crying at the same time, and I decide to pour myself a glass of wine.
6:15 p.m. – This is late for us to be eating dinner, but everything took awhile. We sit down to eat our spaghetti and garlic bread. Neither boy really eats much. I ask Henry today’s question from a new book I got him awhile back where you interview your kid every day for three years straight and see how their answers change year to year. I had decided to start it on his fourth birthday. He can’t really answer today’s question very well, nor the one from yesterday, so I make the decision that it’s probably better to just hold off until next year to start. There’s one answer written in there so far, from on his actual birthday. The question was “If I had a magic eraser, I’d erase _______” and he answered “Whatever I wanted!” Ok then.
6:30 p.m. – Dave gets home and the boys greet him at the door. I make him a plate of food and he eats it, though half-heartedly since he’s not much of a fan of pasta, which is why we usually only eat it when I’m the one doing the cooking. We talk about our day as the boys play, loudly.
6:45 p.m. – I play downstairs with the boys for awhile and fold a load of laundry. I overhear Benny in the corner singing a tune that sounds like the ABCs and I get a little video of it. The words may not be right but the tune sure is!
Henry draws on the chalkboard and says it’s “a whole world of circles.” Ben rides his trike and also draws. I come upstairs and Dave is vacuuming the living room rug. We don’t often clean much during the week, but the house was a bit out of control tonight. We play in the sun room awhile, and Henry wants to paint again, so I get him his new paints from grandma Mary. He paints awhile, and then I put them away when he’s done. I put them in their box and as I’m carrying them into the kitchen, the bottom of the box gives away and they all fall out, the red paint opening and splattering on the floor. Awesome. I clean it up and declare it’s time to head upstairs.
Dave says something about ice cream around this time and Ben overhears and starts whining “ice cream, ice cream!” and when we tell him there’s no ice cream, he starts to cry. Oh, Ben. You also can’t say cake around him or he’ll whine for “cupcake, cupcake!”
7:30-8 p.m. – Bedtime routine, which consists of pajamas, brushing teeth, and plenty of time doing somersaults and spins (that video is best around 1:20 and 2:20) and roughhousing on our bed. I do “Superman” with Henry and also let Ben walk on me, and he throws himself backward over and over again, and I’m astonished he doesn’t really hurt himself.
I snap pictures of us while the boys brush their teeth, and as I make the collage the following day I say to Dave, wow, we can sure be unattractive. Ha.
Henry comes out of his room with a book that on most nights we deem too long. He says “I’m four so I can read this. That’s my rule.”
I take Ben into his room and read him a few books, and he insists, as always, on looking at his picture book. He gets on my lap (“yap”) and tells me what the pictures are, and tonight he gets “turtle” and “frog” for the first time, which makes me proud! We snuggle and I put him to bed, and then I go in by Dave and Henry. We talk about what we did today and what we’re going to do tomorrow, then we snuggle and I tuck him in and kiss him good-night. He comes out of his room behind me with a gorilla of his and says that he doesn’t want him in his room tonight. He said the gorilla scares him and seems too much like a “real gorilla.”
Both boys take awhile to settle down in their beds, and I let Henry go in Ben’s room to say good night (again) and then I tell them both to be quiet and go to sleep.
8:25 p.m. – I get myself pumped up to do my plank for the day. Julia and I are doing #plankaday for the whole month of October, and we text each other every night with our times. I’ve beat her a handful of times, but she beats me more often. I beat her on her DITL day, and then she got back at me by doing over five minutes three days in a row! I have yet to get over five minutes and it seems like a really hard goal to reach. But we were both struggling to get even two minutes at the beginning of the month and now we’re both getting over four minutes consistently, so I’m impressed with us. Tonight I really want to have a good showing since I know I’ll have to report my results in this post!
I do my plank and I can tell right away that it won’t be my best night. It’s HARD from the start and I struggle. I have Dave take my pic on his phone and email it to me. I grit my teeth and get over the four-minute mark, just barely. I text Julia my time and sure enough, she’s beat me by a mile again.
8:30 p.m. – I do a few random things … check email and Facebook, talk with Dave a bit, gather up my Pick N Save fresh perks vouchers to turn in tomorrow since tomorrow’s the last day to do so. My 420 perks will get us a $5 off coupon – I’ll take it!
9:15 p.m. – Head upstairs to take a bath. Instagram a collage of pictures from today, and read my Redbook magazine a bit. Brush my teeth (and snap a pic which shows that my phone is on the charger, which it never is upstairs, but all this picture-taking today has done a number on my battery!), get my pajamas on and check on my babies. I attempt to take a halfway flattering picture of myself hanging upside down off my bed, which is a fail. Laying on my back on my bed and letting my head, shoulders and upper back hang off is something I do every night for a minute before Dave comes up to tuck me in. It stretches my back and feels so good. Weird perhaps, but there you have it.
9:39 p.m. – I pssst downstairs for Dave to come up. We talk and snuggle for 10 minutes.
9:49 p.m. – Dave leaves and I go to sleep. This is the earliest I’ve been to bed in a looooong time, but man, I needed it today. I was exhausted.
11:31 p.m. – Henry gets up to pee and wakes me up in the process. I hug him and take him back to his bed and go back to bed myself. Sleep til the alarm goes off at 5:20, and get out of bed at 5:30 to start my Wednesday, feeling pretty refreshed after a decent night’s sleep.