I do. And I Always Will.

It’s our Anniversary today.

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Two years ago today, I promised to love unconditionally, this man, for the rest of my life.  Two years later and not much has changed, but yet, everything has changed.  Our family has grown, our jobs have changed, our relationship has deepened.  But we are and will forever be together in love.

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O
ur last moments apart before being joined for eternity.

Our wedding day was the happiest day of my life.  It was the day I got to marry him.  It was also the best party I’ve ever been to.  And it was the day we decided to bring Ike into the world.  I wouldn’t change a single moment of any of it.  None of the stress of planing, the rain in the morning, each and every guest that we shared the day with.  Nothing.  It was all perfect.

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On our first anniversary, we were a little over-committed, and over-whelmed with a three month old baby Ike and two conflicting parties.  This year, Ike is older and we are more adept to the parenting thing.  And I’ve not planned 35 activities to squeeze into this particular day.  Today is for Isaac.  Isaac and Danielle.  Everyone else will just have to wait.

The second anniversary is traditionally the ‘cotton’ year.  Cotton should make for pretty easy gift giving right?  Not really, not for a person with approximately 4,000 t-shirts.  Or a person who is completely unaware of the sheets they sleep on.   A person that just received socks for Christmas, lol.  So I got Isaac a cotton tie and pocket square.  I hope he likes it, he’s a pretty big tie person.  I mean just look at the pimp bow-tie he wore on our wedding day!

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Happy Anniversary my Husband.  May there be many many more.

 

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Toe-Gate

I was all poised and ready, with my abundance of time, to sit down and write a heartfelt post about breastfeeding and attachment parenting.  I had set aside the entire evening.

Then.

Ike decided to get himself caught in the dog crate and rip his toenail halfway off!  He’s fine now, Mickey Mouse bandaid and a bottle without any attempts to swap it for a cup.

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I was sitting closest to him, so obviously I feel like an enormous ass because I have no idea what happened.  I was typing an email or something, and telling him to stop playing in the cage, knowing full well he would not, because he’s one and because he’s Ike.  Then there was that petrified scream followed by a long silence, accompanied by an ever purpling face and you know what’s coming.  That blood curdling howl and instant tears.  Mommy-guilt overload in that instant.

My husband kept asking me what happened and, in my grand award-winning parenting fashion, I just stared blankly back at him because “I dunno I wasn’t actually looking at him at that moment”.  Then he demanded to know what to do about the horrifying toe nail (it’s not that bad, I promise), I suggested ice, and he suggested Tylenol and then asked if ice is that the internet recommends.  And I snarkily respond, “I don’t know why don’t you look it up on the internet”.

How was he less than two feet away from me and I didn’t even know what he hurt until there was blood?  Dude, parenting is hard!

So now I have a hurt baby and an angry husband.  I am batting a 1000 here anybody else want to take a swing?

Instead of my deeply poetic post about my boobs, slings, and essential oils; I am going to have a cup of tea, pretend it is wine, and put myself to bed early before I hurt anyone else.

Things I thought about Parenting, before I was a Parent

Wow, was I ever a judgey moron about parenting.  Even before I was pregnant.  What right did I have?  I knew nothing.  Ok, I still know very little, but I have completely abandoned my judgements and plenty of the ideas about how I was going to win this parenting contest.

First Lesson?  Parenting is not a contest.

I thought that being a parent was being on display for all the world to judge you in some almighty competition.  

So who were the winners?  They were the ones who did everything right, nothing taboo.  Those who were just crunchy enough to be called “cool parents”, just involved enough to be called “loving parents”, just crazy enough to be called “smart parents”.  Their children never misbehaved, they hit all their milestones approximately 25% early, they always measured spot on the growth charts, they made straight A’s, they were team captains, they were basically Stepford children.  

Lesson: I am not a Stepford wife, I will not have stepford children.  I do not actually want stepford children.

Who did I think was judging all of these well-meaning, but obviously failing parents?  Me, you, everyone.  I judged them.

  • That poor, tired looking mother who’s child was punching the floor in front of the new Ninja Turtles toy demanding that it be added to the cart.
  • That mortified couple who’s baby was screaming for an entire three hour flight despite being walked, changed, sung to, whatever, they were clearly disturbing my trashy romance novel, how dare they!
  • That scatterbrained parent that showed up to the library for story time a day late and an hour early.  Doesn’t she know how to sync her iCal to the library website?  What is this the stone age?  Who gets dates/times wrong?
  • That father dragging their toddler around Disney World on a leash.  What is she, some sort of animal?
  • All of those countless parents enjoying their meals and their spouses, while the children sat disconnected and fully engaged in some youtube video or Minecraft something or other.

Yep, I judged you.  And now, I am you.  And now, I understand.  I’m sorry for what I thought.

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The Kind of Parent I thought I would be then

(And the kind I am perfectly happy being now)

  1. My child will not have screen time of any kind until they are at least two, then it will be carefully limited to 60 minutes a day, not a second more.  I will not be the sort of parent that uses a television as a babysitter.   I will not be the sort of parent who allows their child to watch their favorite snuffiflullgans at the dinner table on my iphone.  I will not be that parent who hops up on the hour long flight, knocking over my seat mate to retrieve the ipad from the overhead bin as soon as the flight attendant announces that wifi is now available.  My child can turn on the television, record “Harry the Bunny”, and will sit approximately three feet away and watch an entire episode of Vocabu-Larry.  There are more kiddy apps on my ipad than adult/useful/productive things.  I will happily give my child BOTH of my phones and my husband’s in exchange for a meal that I can eat with both hands.  My child knows how to navigate to the Wheels on the Bus app from my phone while sitting in my lap on airplanes.  I now believe the screentime ban is a bit over-exaggerated.  
  2. My house will not be overun with toys, I will maintain a modern and chic decor while raising an angelic child.  Those magazines with homes that have the perfect number of magazines displayed on the glass-topped coffee table, the minimalist and bold color schemes accented by expensive vintage collectibles.  That is what I want my house to look like.  That will not change when I have a baby.  Ahem.  Read the puzzle floor.  There is a piece of furniture in the living room to house all the toys.  There’s an infant tub in my relaxing spa tub.  The bottle drying rack complete with pumping flanges has just recently been moved from front and center on the kitchen counter.  There’s pretty much baby crap in every room of my house. 
  3. My child will adapt to the schedule I set forth for him.  We have some dear friends that have two children now.  I remember when their oldest was a toddler and we would make plans for brunch or dinner or something and we would get a text an hour before apoligizing because “he just went down for a nap, and we really have to let him sleep otherwise he will be horrible to take anywhere, we are so sorry.” My pre-pregnant self would think, how sucky that must be to have a two year running your life.  I read more than a few books during my pregnancy and early in Ike’s infancy about E.A.S.Y. schedules and Baby-Wise-ing, and sleep training, and no-cry sleep training, etc etc.  Babies need a schedule.  Ike goes to bed at 8pm, unless we are out, or traveling, or he’s staying with his sister (or grandmother, or aunt).  Ike usually takes one nap a day, mostly in the afternoon (which means some time after noon), unless we are running errands then he takes two cat naps in the car, or no naps at all.  Look, I get why schedules are important, and I get why some parents need them to retain some order and sanity in their household, but I am apparently not that parent.  Ike is a perfectly happy person, he is not overtired, he is not cranky (usually), he doesn’t need the constraints because we are making our non-schedule, schedule work.  
  4. My child will eat what I put in front of him, I will not short order cook.  Those parents, you know, that bargain and bribe with desserts and extra screen time for “three bites”.  Those parents who ask “What do you want for dinner Timmy?”  That child who gets grilled cheese and chicken nuggets while the rest of the family eats roasted leg of lamb and winter ratatouille.  My child is offered what he is offered, we do not offer dessert, and he is too young to bargain with.  This is probably the only reason I do not beg, bargain and bribe, it’s probably only a matter of time.  I misjudged the amount of worry that is involved when a child does not seem to be getting the appropriate amounts of nutrition.  I have fallen victim to the “just eat something!” trap a few times.  I still struggle mightily with this one, but just having a child who will happily eat brussel sprouts and poached salmon is a pipe dream, and I see that now.  Sometimes we have to compromise for the good of everyone.
  5. I will take away the bottles and pacifiers at one year, not exceptions or extensions.  I will not have the five year old digging in my purse for a paci at the mall.  I will not be the parent explaining to the preschool teacher that he still needs his bottle to take a nap.  Ike still uses a pacifier (to go to sleep) and still has bottles pretty much as he did before his first birthday.  We are working on both of these, but the deadlines are not as important anymore.
  6. My child will not throw tantrums.  Ha.  Ike does this bent over dragging of his arm thing when I pull him away from something he wants.  He gripes and screams and everything.  Tantrums are just beginning and I have no idea how to deal . Mothers of ‘spirited’ children, your advice is so welcome, I promise not to judge anymore.
  7. I will exclusively breastfeed my baby until we are both ready to wean/he will only eat organic foods all the time.  I will stay off my soapbox.  I have judged parents who include McDonald’s into the weekly routine.  I have also judged parents who ask if every single ingredient in a restaurant dish is organic/locally sourced/no GMO.  I have judged parents who nurse at the playground.  And I have judged parents who mix a bottle of formula at the airport.  Breastfeeding is hard.  Feeding another person is hard in general.  I am now in favor of, just doing what you can do and surviving.  A McNugget will not kill him, a 6 piece McNugget every day might.  Nonorganic milk is not going to send my toddler into puberty overnight, but we still buy the $5 half gallons for home.  I made his baby food, and I do my best to cook well balanced, natural food meals at home, but sometimes we eat out, and sometimes he has a slice of pizza.
  8. My child will be on time with all of their infant and toddler and kid milestones or I will be a failure.  Ike was late to roll over and crawl.  He was early to walk.  He was on time to talk.  He was in the 25th percentile for weight at 2 weeks and in the 75th percentile at 6 months.  He is happy and healthy and smart as all heck.  We are doing just fine thank you.
  9. I will plan fun activities for my child every day, week, weekend, month.  I consider a trip to the grocery store a perfectly acceptable activity.  When it’s cold and gross outside (like the past two months), we are just fine to play in the house.  I still want to be that mom that has an abundance of play dates, and is a regular at the art museum and children’s museum, and the zoo.  I did not consider how much time and dedication these activities take and how little time is leftover after being a mother, wife, and full time worker.  If I ever find that extra hour in the day I will be better at this so I can stop judging myself!
  10. My child will be the best ______ (basketball player, pianist, student, painter, etc).  This is probably the most important lesson I have learned.  I want Ike to do what makes him happy, within reason of course.  If he wants to play basketball or baseball, great I will do my best to be at every single game.  If he wants to play the flute, I will not miss a recital.  If he wants to play World of Warcraft, or whatever fantasy role play game is currently hip, then I will do my best to at least understand the rules.  If it makes him happy, I will try to support him.

The moral of the story is, that a child does in fact change things.  Everything in fact.  It changes the way you think, the way you see others, the general layout and order of your house.  It changes.  But it changes for the good.  I am happily eating all of my judgy parenting words.  I was a know-it-all asshole.  The only judging I will be doing now is judging whether or not my son and family are happy and if we are doing all we can to stay that way.  Nothing else and no one else matters.

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Runaway Bay

My husband requested that we celebrate his birthday with a family vacation this year.  His birthday is January 15th, so it usually falls near the MLK holiday.   This lends pretty well to quick getaways.

There is a resort that was recommended to me through a mother’s group recently, and it has been on my mind since hearing it several months back.  The resort is called Franklyn D Resorts and it is located in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.  We booked it about a week out and I was weary when they told me that I had to pay the full stay up front without any cancellation (no cancellation is generally no good for a nonrev traveller).  I booked it anyway and there ended up being somewhat of a comedy of errors in getting there and back.   But we all made it, both ways.

Back to the resort.  It was better than I could have imagined.  Is it new? Modern? Luxurious? No.  What it is, is homey, cozy, welcoming, and perfectly comfortable.  It’s not huge, but it’s also not cramped.

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We had a two bedroom suite which gave us an enormous amount of space to spread out.   All the rooms have a beautiful balcony to enjoy ocean noises and gorgeous sunsets.

There were three restaurants, all of which are open air, and also one grill near the pool that served food in between the main three meals.  There’s one bar, but there was never a long wait.   The food was delicious.  Nothing super fancy, but everything traditionally Jamaican.  Jerk Chicken, Patties, Broiled Oxtail, fried plantains, fresh caught fish, OMG!  The restaurants weren’t huge, but they were attended very well.  There was a hostess to greet us at each, even the poolside grill, there was a person to get us drinks from the bar, and there were waiters and bussers to keep everything moving.

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The beach was beautiful.  A bit small, but sunny, calm, and clear.  They had towels and chairs that we could use as well as snorkeling gear (I passed because EW fish!) and some nonmotorized water activities.

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But the best, most spectacular part of this tiny little slice of Jamaican heaven?  The Vacation Nanny.  Um yes, that is a real thing!  A VACATION NANNY! A person who let’s you (the parent) enjoy the vacation.  It’s amazing.  Every resort everywhere should do this!  No they shouldn’t.  Because I love FDR and I want to go there every year.

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Our vacation nanny was Shavalenne, which I am sure I have mangled both in spelling and pronunciation.  But she was great, superb,  the best thing ever.  Ike just loved her, he lit up when she arrived in the morning.  She let him pretty much lead, and she followed and did whatever tickled his fancy.  But she was also firm and made sure that he didn’t get himself hurt; no eating peoples shoes, or launching himself into the pool, etc.

I’m not sure if we can give this credit to Shavalenne, but since we got to Jamaica Ike’s been a champion eater.  He’s a big eater, generally, sometimes, like when he feels like it, no more than once or twice a week.  But we’ve been home for a week now and he’s eating me out of house and home!  Whenever he felt like it, he and the nanny would belly up to the grill and get a bite to eat.  This was in addition to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner that we at with Ike.   I probably just jinxed the whole thing and Ike will refuse to even sit in his highchair tomorrow.

We went, we ate, we lounged on the beach, we enjoyed each other’s company.  We did Jamaica and we loved it.  I cannot wait to go back.  FDR is going to become a regular destination for us.

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Mommy had a Tantrum

…and got a mani/pedi.  Everything is fine now.

I’ve been feeling a little bit stressed lately.  About almost everything I guess.  I didn’t realize how stressed until the exhaustion kicked in though.  Long story short, there was a little melt down.

We traveled to visit Grandma this weekend.  The flight to South Bend was delayed several hours Friday night, so we elected to go to Midway instead.  That flight was wide open and everything was going along splendidly, except Ike was not sitting in the giant honking carseat I had Isaac lug through the airport.  Then I remembered that in my infinite wisdom I had put Ike’s and my coats in the checked bag so we wouldn’t have to carry them through the airport.  The checked bag that was currently en route to South Bend, as we were beginning our decent into Chicago!  Where “the current local temperature is” 15 BELOW ZERO!  Again I must praise my mothering skills here.

Anyway, we made it without any baby frost bite.  Isaac and I even got to sleep in on Saturday morning while Ike got all caught up with Grandma and his best friend Jetta (the dog).  Then we were going to go out with some of Isaac’s friends to watch one of the playoff games, when I noticed that Ike’s little fake cough was starting to sound awfully real.  We stayed in, got a pizza and were pretty much up all night with a very pissed off baby.  We went to urgent care first thing Sunday morning.  Ike’s sick, with RSV again.  I’m worried, as well I should be as his mother.   The doctor was much more relaxed about it at urgent care, he prescribed an oral steroid and told us not to worry.  He said to give him steam baths and honey for his cough and wait it out basically.  I’m very grateful for his coolness.

On top of the sick baby and the blatant motherly ineptness, we met with a realtor last week and the whole “we need to move thing” became very real.  He wants to come to our house to evaluate it’s resale potential.  Our house!? Wait, a stranger is coming to our house?  We have to hid the crap!  Wait, this stranger knows where people hide their crap and would like to see those areas too?! And have them professionally photographed!?   (steam literally escaping ears as eyes spin around in my head).  We have too much stuff.  None of it has a proper home.  Most of it probably doesn’t need a home so much as it needs an extra large garbage can (or donation site).  I don’t even know where to start.  I still feel a bit overwhelmed thinking about cleaning out this house.  I’m going to stop rambling on about it now.  I’ll work on a plan.  Tomorrow.

With the realtor obviously came a mortgage broker.  I was feeling pretty comfortable with our price range for a new home.  Until I said it out loud.  To a person who now has access to all of our deepest, darker, financial secrets.  Crap.

All of this to say, I sort of blew a gasket.  I was all “oh my god I cannot get anything right, I’m failing at everything, someone save me from myself, no just leave me, save yourselves!”  Isaac suggested that maybe I take the afternoon to go do something for me.  Maybe I let him handle Ike, and dinner, and some of the daily clutter.  Maybe he has a point.

So I got my nails done.  I feel much better now.  Plus I got to take a power nap in the massage chair.

Rather looks like someone’s tried to put lipstick on a pig wouldn’t you say?  It’s an improvement at any rate.  Plus the nap was awesome.

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And Ike and Daddy?  They were home doing boy stuff and cooking me delicious shrimp tacos!

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I love them.  But I was very glad to have a break to get my head together.  I’m ready deal with the clutter and the house hunting.  Anything’s possible with pretty finger and toes!

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Jay-Z was completely right, 30 is the new 20.  All throughout my 20s I worried incessantly over turning 30, this mythical milestone seemed to be the apex and it was all downhill from there.  But 2 years in, I have to say, 30s are where it’s at!

In my 30s I have:

  1. Gotten Married.
  2. Birthed a perfect  baby boy.
  3. Gained an incredible step-daughter.
  4. Bought a brand new car, all by myself!
  5. Settled into a career (not a job) that I hope will carry me through retirement.
  6. Developed a very deep love and affection for a good bottle of wine.
  7. Lost all inclination to drink cheap beer, or beer at all for that matter.
  8. Been the happiest I have ever been.

This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, my husband helped me celebrate it all weekend.

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I love him.

He started with beautiful flowers and chocolate on Friday, and a balloon that said still perfect after 30 years (because we can still round down even though the 30s are awesome).

Then on Saturday, Gabby came home from Indiana and while at brunch with some friends Ike stuffed some JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE concert tickets into his pockets.  On the floor, in the middle, amongst the totally amazing lights, sound, and all of the Justin-ness I can handle.

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Our seats were GREAT!!!

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Then Justin picked up his stage.

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And they got EVEN BETTER!!!

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Look he’s totally talking to me right here.

Sunday, my actual birthday, we went to breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Thumbs Up. I even splurged and got the crazy huge hot chocolate coffee with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.  I was then much too full to eat my breakfast.

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My sister and her friend came over in the afternoon and we baked Christmas cookies.

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This is one of my fondest memories of my birthday growing up.  My mother would make a ton of cookie dough and all my cousins would come over and we would make a grand mess in the kitchen cutting, baking, and decorating sugar cookies.  We did the same thing to my house, and it was splendid.

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After the cookies, the kids opened one of their Christmas gifts.  It was matching pajamas, because I am officially that mom.  But they looked adorable and I want them to alway match now because it melts my heart all the way down!

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Thirties have been wonderfully full of blessings so far, so much so that I am looking forward to what else they might have in store.  And maybe even beyond, is it possible to get better?  Is 40 the new 18?  I hope that time will tell.

 

Date Night(s)

Another weekend, another crazy busy schedule to keep.  I seriously have no idea how this happens, but my weekends have become more exhausting than my work weeks.

On Friday, Isaac and I left Gabby to babysit while we attended a Christmas party.  It was at the Whole World Improv theatre.  I have seen this improv show once before, but obviously a completely different show.  It was super funny.  What a tough job, making things up and having an emcee tell you to rap, do a dance, or completely change your character at random times.  The actors were very talented though and kept us all well entertained.

Here we are with some old friends we don’t get to see enough of.

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On Saturday we caught up with some more friends, that we also don’t get to see enough of, for brunch.  We ate at South City Kitchen in midtown.  The food was a bit disappointing, but the place was cool and the company was great.  Ike colored on the white linen table cloths so we will likely not be returning.  Glad the food wasn’t completely phenomenal in that case.

We dropped Isaac off at home and then Ike and I went to do some Christmas shopping and grocery shopping and lots of riding around in shopping carts.  He was not happy.  So we took a pit stop at the park, it was a beautiful day, and he is getting to be quite fond of swinging.

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Sunday, we went to church, then stayed to hand out photos from last weekend’s Breakfast with St. Nicholas social.  Here’s Ike’s.

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He was asleep the whole time St. Nick was taking photos.  He was not asleep during any of the time I was trying to make the bazillions of pancakes or slices of bacon during the hours leading up to the event.

We popped into Target after church for a few more presents and stopped home to feed Ike lunch and grab some more milk.  Then we were off to a Christmas party hosted by one of the mother’s from work.  That was an adventure.  I don’t think I am used to attending parties as a mommy just yet.  It’s really hard to talk to anyone, or eat, or drink wine while Ike is running around trying to injury himself at every turn.

Summary.

  • Ike fell off of a step,
  • Ike tried to launch himself down the slide,
  • Ike spilled my red wine on the floor (and my pants),
  • Ike nearly bit another baby,
  • Ike definitely pulled another baby’s hair

Sunday evening Isaac and I veg-ed out on the couch.  He asked what I wanted to do, I asked what he wanted to do.  He said he was doing it.  He did what I wanted to all day (and most days).  So, I put everything on my to do list out of my mind and I sat on the couch with my husband and did nothing.  And it was glorious.  Sometime I get so caught up in making lists, and planning activities, and getting things done that I totally forget to stop and enjoy the people around me.

We watched a movie.  We had some popcorn and some vanilla tea.  We enjoyed each other’s company.  I hope we find the time to do it again very soon.

Technically, Isaac and I had two dates this weekend.  Of those two I definitely enjoyed the second one most.  The party was a lot of fun, and it was great to get all dressed up and put on a big, witty smile and visit with everyone.  But if I had to chose one to do over and over again, I would choose to make matching butt prints on the sofa with my hunny.  Every single time.