Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Kids Are Back!

My kids were gone for over a week and while I loved the quiet, peace, and lack of laundry and dishes, I really missed those faces, chubby fingers, and sloppy kisses.  As I drove to pick them up from my mom in Nashville (she met me halfway to Memphis), I was so excited to see those two monsters.  I found myself listening to the Thomas the Tank Engine CD in the car, which is embarrassing to admit, but really, I know every word to those songs and they make me smile because of the smiles, dances, and squeals I hear in the backseat every time I turn them on.

Viley practically hyperventilated when she saw me and tried to claw her way out of the car seat.  Made me super happy, not gonna lie. 

So, now that I have my monsters back, what have we been up to?  Well, here you go!

First photos of the kids after they got back home: on a walk through our adorable little neighborhood, historic Concord Village.  Love the old houses, the train tracks 2 blocks from our house, the friendly neighbors, and the serene small-town feel.
Preparing for Daddy to come home from work with some bike riding and sidewalk chalk decorating.  So grateful to finally have our own driveway and yard! 
Enjoying milestones with our baby girl: I was so scared she would start walking in Memphis (pun intended) and I would miss it completely.  I should have known Viley would wait for me.  Love that walking girl.  Check her out!  Cutest 15 seconds of your day - look at that tongue stuck out in determination!
So happy to have my babies back, looking forward to wrapping up the summer with some fun!

Oh, and I am watching the RNC while I type this and Ann Romney just killed it.  She is adorable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sister Act

What do people without sisters do?

Who do they chat with for hours on end about absolutely nothing?
Who do they invite to their Hunger Games DVD Release Viewing Party?
Who do they stuff their faces with?
Who supports their decisions to stalk movie stars and totally believes that Peeta would marry them?
My sister was in town this week, and she headed out today on the MegaBus - hello $14 for a trip to Memphis in a double decker bus with wifi.

I miss her.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quiet House, Guilty Mind

I am about to unload something here.  Bear with me.

Many of my friends and family members have recently stopped working or arranged to work from home to stay with their children.  They get to spend all day playing with, loving on, teaching, and cuddling their adorable babies.  I am beyond jealous of them.

But not for the obvious reason.

I am jealous that they WANT to do this.  I am not judging this decision, I am simply baffled by my lack of solidarity with the rest of mommykind.  I am supposed to want to quit my job and play with my kids all day.  I can barely even type that sentence without cringing.  Does this make me a bad mom? Am I somehow lesser than my peers?  Do I not love my kids enough?

Nope.  None of the above.

I love those kids something awful.  They are my favorite part of the day.  Right now they are in Memphis because their school is closed for a week.  I miss them like crazy.

But here I am, golden opportunity to spend some time with the children while school is out, and I ship them to Memphis.  I did not cry.  I danced in the living room.  Oops.

My house is so quiet right now when I get home, it is amazing.  I miss them, but I have also missed having some peace and quiet in my life after a long day at work.  It is so freeing.  I can eat cheetos on the couch if I want to.  Crazy!

But in the quiet, I wonder if I am supposed to be sad.  

I have struggled with these feelings of inadequacy ever since the moment Jeremy and I came home from the hospital 4.5 years ago.  I was so happy to be his mom, and he was so wonderful. But I am fairly certain that I started my internal countdown to returning to work that very night.

I have a confession to make.  Please don't scream with shock.

I HATED maternity leave. 

I literally could not wait to go back to work.  I took my kids to the office and would sit there.  It cleared my head and made me feel like me again. 

Surely I am not the only person on the planet who feels this way.  I have spent a lot of time supporting and congratulating my friends and family in their decisions to stay home, so this rambling post is my support of my own decision to work.

First of all, I realize staying home is not actually an option in my case.  I can guarantee you, though, that if it were, I would work.  100%,  I would work.  Or I would be medicated and insane.

I have always wanted to be a mom.  It is the most awesome thing I have ever done.  It has fulfilled my expectations and taught me joys that I never even knew existed.  I have laughed with my kids until my stomach hurt, I have danced with my kids until I fell over from dizziness, I have hugged my kids so tight they begged me for air.  I love them too much to describe.

I had a lovely life before my kids were born.  I earned a master's degree, studied Shakespeare in London, fell in love, and embarked on a fulfilling career that allowed me to make a difference daily in the lives of others.  Now that my kids are added to the equation, I see it as a bonus.  They add something to my life.  Their existence does not mean I have to subtract something else to make room for them.  I feel that I have plenty of space in my life for several joys, why should I pick and choose?

I have another confession to make.  I am not very good with babies.  I don't actually know what to do with them (other than feed, change, and burp them, obviously).  Until they are mobile and can play make believe and Connect 4, I am at a loss.  I can't tell you how much time I have spent staring at my newborn babies willing something to happen.  Sure, the love was overflowing, but other than combating sleep deprivation and mild PPD, I simply did not know what to do.  I tentatively asked this of other moms and immediately got schooled in how rewarding, beautiful, and amazing staring into their babies eyes was for them.

I always have to fight back a snicker.
When pregnant women ask me for a piece of advice, I always say, "Don't worry if you hate your kids the first few days, weeks, or months.  It is totally normal and does not mean you don't love them.  Oh, and get used to never having money again.  Ever."

Once the pregnant woman stares at me in shock and almost throws up on my shoes, I quickly laugh and try to pretend I was joking.  "Oh, I am so silly!  Babies are precious angels sent from heaven who never drive you insane or poop in your hair.  And obviously YOUR baby will be a genius Olympic athlete turned President of the United States.  Congrats!"

I fear I am sounding too negative, so I will adjust a bit, because I don't mean to be. I am the product of two hard working parents.  They are awesome and I had a fabulous childhood with active parents who played with us, coached our teams, and threw the best parties - after they got home from work.  My mom always worked 40 plus hours a week, and I never once held that against her.  Once I got older she told me that her paycheck in the early years did nothing but cover the cost of daycare, but she knew she would kill us if she stayed home all day with us.

I had never wanted to hug my mom more in my entire life.  Finally, someone who said out loud what I was thinking.

I love my kids, I love my job.  One is not exclusive of the other.  I find both to be rewarding, challenging, and life changing.  I look forward to time at home with my kids.  I look forward to getting back to the office once that time is over.  I consider myself lucky to have so many things to look forward to.

To all the working moms out there who actually enjoy being working moms, I congratulate you! 
Let's meet up for a drink one night and extend the kid's daycare hours even more, I say!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Random Bits

Enjoying the new backyard.
 So, my kids are freaking adorable right now, and I want to remember these moments later, so this post is basically a collection of little moments that mean a lot to me.
Playing Connect 4 with Nana on a table that belonged to his great-great-grandmother.  Awesome.
Jeremy: Talkin the Talk
  • So, how insane is it that this kid did not utter a single word for 2 and a half years?  You would never know to hear him now.  He talks ALL THE TIME.  And he is insanely expressive with an intense vocabulary. "That was a hugenormous explosion!" "I am a train engineer on the BNSF, the Santa Fe Super Chief, the Norfolk Southern BN dash 9, and the Santa Fe War Bonnet from 1943."  Legit train talk.  In some realm these words make sense and Jeremy has memorized all of the years, models, and makes of like every train ever.  Creepy.
  • He is going on two months of sleeping in a tent rather than a bed.  I no longer put my son to bed, I put him to tent.  It is hilarious, and he loves it
  • He is a total teenager right now.  Each night after putting him to tent, I have to remember to check back in after 30 minutes and take away the LeapPad.  He will play on it all night if I do not take it away.  He also bargains all the time - he will do what I ask, like brush his teeth, if I let him watch 30 more minutes of Journey to the Center of the Earth.  Everything is a bargain; yes or no statements are no longer part of his vocabulary.
  • He has decided to be an actor (and a train engineer).  He is still obsessed with Journey, someone at work bought me Journey 2 after reading the blog post, and he is also obsessed with Bridge to Terabithia.  So, the same kid actor is in all three and he was super confused until I explained he is just a kid pretending.  His eyes got wide and he looked at me with awe. He now fully acts out all of the scenes in each of these movies.  Seriously, it is a sight to behold - and his crazy memory means he has literally memorized all of the lines this kid has in all three of these movies.  Scary.  He even reads the credits now and refers to the actors by their real names rather than the character names.  AND he watches entire DVD commentaries for these movies.  This is strange, right?
  • It all still comes back to trains.  He has not abandoned his first love, and with the new addition of trackmasters in our lives, he only occasionally pulls out his "woodens" and plays with them as if they are throw-backs to another era in his long life.  
  • The other day I was watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies after Viley had gone to bed.  As this is quality Jeremy time, he crawled in my lap on the couch, cuddled up in a blanket with me, watched Voldemort vanquished by Mary Poppins, and astutely observed: "I love being with you, Mommy." I almost died.
How adorable are these two?
Viley Boo: Growing Up
  • Vi is super cute right now.  Her hair is getting longer by the second and her weird bald spot in back is almost all grown out now.  I cannot get over how much she looks like a kid rather than a baby.
  • She can ALMOST walk.  She cruises everywhere and can walk about 2 steps before tumbling over.  She practices a lot and I am sure we are only weeks away from a fully walking toddler.
  • She has an amazing core.  She continues her love of baby pilates (made up name - I do not actually force my baby to work out).  She leans back and puts her legs and arms in the air and pumps them while she watches TV.  It is odd and endearing all at once.
  • She is a total chunky monkey.  I thought once she started crawling she would thin out a bit.  Nope.  Girl eats like she will never see food again and those cheeks continue to be the chubbiest little kiss magnets ever invented.
  • She blows kisses all the time.  I often (ie everyday) pick her up from school and her teachers laugh and say Violet was caught sitting at the mirror blowing kisses to herself again.  Allegedly, this can go on for up to a half an hour.  I guess I don't have to worry about my daughter growing up with a lack of self-esteem.  
  • She obsesses over books.  Just like her brother before her, she loves nothing more than a good book.  We read some of her favorites upwards of 20 times a day.  She will forgo toys, tv, games, etc for a lap and a book.
  • She cannot live without her blankie.  No lovie for this kid, it is all about the blanket.  She wakes up in the mornings (usually she is reading a book when I pull her out of bed) and she grabs for her blanket to come with us.  Each night, I put her in bed (with a book) and she lunges for the blanket, curls it in a ball, and hugs it to her tummy while bending over so it is both a pillow and a squeeze toy at the same time.  This is how she sleeps.  Adorable.
First time trying out pigtails!!
2 Monsters: Chaos
  • Put them together and what have you got?  MONSTERS!  
  • Nothing makes one laugh more than the other.  
  • They both love to hang upside down.  Bonus points if they can hang at the same time facing each other.   I double dog dare you to witness this and not erupt in laughter yourself.
  • Vi was watching Jeremy on the playground at school and when his class went back inside, she threw a monster fit because she wanted him back.
  • We now have a 25 minute commute to and from work/school.  No problem.  My kids love Top 40 radio.  They will both sing along to random and annoying songs like Call Me Maybe.  Jeremy is a particular fan of all things Katy Perry.  Turn off the radio, both kids scream.
  • They fight a lot.  Sibling rite of passage.  Jeremy wants to play with Violet's  toys and Violet wants to play with Jeremy's toys, but neither is OK with that.  Sharing is a constant battle at our house.
  • Sesame Street is an equalizer.  Violet is sick of model train videos and all things Journey, and Jeremy is scared of Tangled (no joke), so I have found that Elmo and gang can make everyone happy.  And provides mommy a minute of peace on the weekends. Personally, I am sick of all of the above, but no one asks me.
  •  They love water!  Thank you Joey and Megan for the pool.  We go out every day on the weekends and they will sit in that pool for 2 hours.  And I will calmly read a book on the patio, silently preparing myself for the next monster attack. 
Happily playing in Jeremy's room.
These kids are pretty much my entire life outside of work (I need friends), but I suppose it could be worse.  They are hilariously entertaining and have an uncanny ability to whip out the smiles and I love yous right when I need them most.  Best. Kids. Ever.