Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring 2013 Week in the Life: Sunday (aka finale)

I love doing a day in the life.  Maybe even two days in the life, but a week has me tuckered.  The past couple posts have been more like check marks, and I don't like blogging in this manner.  Today I will try to be meaningful (HAHAHAHA!)

4:00 a.m. Greta up.  Yelling.  One of the beautiful things about sleep training, and finally having a sleeping baby, is that I now know when something is actually wrong. Previously, there were times when I thought nothing could be the matter and I would let her fuss for a while, only to find she had a poopy diaper.  But now, when she cries in the middle of the night I know something is up.  Last night, poopy diaper.  These middle of the night poops are weird to me.  Is she pooping in her sleep?  I can't imagine dream pooping.  I flip on the hall light so it's not bright for her and change her diaper, using about 27 wipes in the process.  I decide I can't risk washing my hands after because she'll be furious if I disappear and will wake up too much to fall back asleep.  Or will wake MJ up.  So she gets minimally wiped down poop hands; gross.  I'm not sure why I'm telling you this.

I put her in the swing since it was fairly close to her normal wake up time... have I mentioned I'm hooked?  So is she, apparently.  Someday that will change....  I'm sure you'll hear about it when it does.

7:15 a.m. I hear MJ up and playing in her room.  Hubs gets frustrated at the noise level and goes in to say something to her; he worked until 11:00 p.m. last night, and probably didn't go to sleep until 1:00 a.m.  I didn't go to sleep until midnight, which is just my own dumb fault, and is the reason I was wiped out today.  At 7:30 I open the gate to our downstairs so she can go get some breakfast.  I know that this usually entails crackers or something similar, but that seems a small price to pay for more sleep.  But by 7:40, when I hear her crashing around, it's clear that sleep is done, and I really need to suck it up so hubs can get more sleep.

I go downstairs to find that her breakfast today consists of a banana (already engulfed), graham crackers, candy bars (left over from the birthday party) and marshmallows.  She tried to hit all the food groups and didn't just go straight for candy, so I'll give her some credit.  But everything got put away except for the banana.

MJ's idea of a balanced breakfast, plus the bananas she already stuffed in her mouth.
We put a leash on Vito, hoping to take him for a quick walk before Greta wakes up so that hubs doesn't wake up while we're gone.  I'm tired and inexplicably grumpy but MJ prances the whole way, full of joy.
An early morning walk with my girl.  Joy, personified (but not well captured in this photo)

When we get home we hear Greta start stirring and go get her.  The morning then devolves into chaos, as most mornings do.  MJ fashions a Play-Doh hat for Greta.  She dumps milk all over the table.  MJ accumulates 3 timeouts for being too loud by 9:00.

"Look Mom!  A pancake hat! A PANCAKE HAT!! HAHAHAHA!"
We talk to Baba (my mother-in-law) on FaceTime.  Greta scoots around a bit to show off her newfound skills, and once again MJ spends very little time actually talking.

9:30  MJ rocks her baby to sleep.  She tells me I'm being too loud and need to quiet down, then sing-shrieks to her baby.  Hypocrite.
::sigh:: if only my babies slept as well as hers always seem to.

We wake up Dad after MJ stubs her toe on the door and SCREAMS for Dad to look at her toe.  We  get ready for church and I insist that MJ has to wear her shirt the right way for church (we really dress up around here).  I'm stressed and tired, and hubs points out that I'm taking on too much, but I insist we have to go because MJ gets so little time to play with other kids these days.

My  church attire (and yet another very messy room. Do you sense a theme in our life?)  Hubs informed me my skirt was too short as I was walking out the door.  Too bad!
By 10:00 we're packed up, everyone in the double stroller.  Dad stays home to sleep more (and because he's Catholic... I swear the church must think I'm a single Mom).  We walk the short distance and I realize I've forgotten my phone (so no church pictures for you!  My best chance to be creepy today and I missed it....)  We settle in a pew, MJ is being good and Greta is looking around smiling.

10:30 a.m. Once the service starts, though, Greta starts shrieking.  Happy shrieking, but people are turning around in their pews to look at me.  I come to realize I should have taken her to the nursery, but now it's too late because MJ wants to stay and I can't leave her by herself.  So I do my best to quiet her down by standing in the back of the church, and I watch as MJ picks her nose, too far away for me to do anything about it.   Finally, they call the kids to the front of the chapel.  All the other little kids have parents go up with them, but MJ refuses to let me join, so she sits up there "by my own".  They're then dismissed to go to Sunday School and I bring Greta to the nursery.

I go back to the chapel after all the kidlets are settled, and today they are discussing the strategic vision of the church.  I wanted to poke my eyes out.  Seriously.  They put together a powerpoint, which included at least 3 pie-charts, a word cloud, and many, many flow charts.  I felt like I was in a corporate team building exercise.  I have decided I am not impressed by this minister.  I like the people in the congregation, and I love the youth minister, but the main minister provides zero inspiration.  I thought about ducking out early but resisted.

11:30 a.m. I finally escape.  I find Greta on the playground in the bright sunshine with no sunscreen on.  MJ is finishing up in her classroom and being a pill.  I try to grab them and run before I get sucked into a conversation, and thankfully MJ is happy to oblige because she knows her Dad's at home.  On the way home we walk by another church and I ask her how she'd feel about trying that one.  Thankfully she's into this idea.  Maybe we'll have to explore this church idea elsewhere.

12:00 p.m. Arrive home.  Now onto the other tasks for the day.  I decided to make some Lemon Chicken Dill Orzo soup (too many nouns happening there).  I've had all the ingredients and never got around to making it, so it's now or never.  Hubs watches the girls so I can have some alone time in the kitchen, which I always enjoy.  I think it's the only part of my day where I experience flow (which is supposedly one of the key components of happiness, so I embrace it).

12:30 p.m. Hubs lays G down for a nap.  I know he also relied on the swing and I try not to judge him for it.  Girlfriend is a pretty terrible napper.  While he sees me cooking he decides to make pizza and we end up cooking for quite a while.

1:00 p.m.  We finally all sit down to eat.  Pizza, soup and cantaloupe.  Outside, on the back porch.  Any meal eaten outside is a picnic in MJ's eyes, so a picnic it is.

1:30 p.m. Nap time.  MJ woke up early enough that she might just go for it today.  We read "Guess who lives here" and then it's bed time.  She is not a fan.

1:45 p.m.  I finally sit down.  Not for long, because there's still a lot to do.  I read a bit on my phone.  MJ comes down to protest and I send her back up.

2:00 p.m. Start cooking again.  This time a quinoa salad to bring to our friends BBQ this afternoon.  At 2:30 p.m. hubs checks in on his way out the door, and observes that I'm overdoing it; also mentions that MJ was still awake when he was upstairs..  I know I'm overdoing it but I can't stop.  Beautiful weather, good friends, must take advantage of it all.  I destroy the kitchen in the process and don't finish until 2:45 p.m.  I'm not sure how I did so much damage and why it took so long.  I think I'm just mentally slow today.

2:45 p.m.  Rather than clean up I sit down to rest for a bit.  I take a bike rack to the car that we're giving to a friend.  I peak at MJ and she is sound asleep.  Greta is also still sound asleep.  I read the New York Times for half an hour (I usually just read the most-emailed stories, I'm a follower like that).

The kitchen I swear to myself I'll clean in the evening.  (Guess what?  Surprise!  That didn't happen.)
3:15 p.m. I get everything packed to leave and wake up the girls.  I try MJ first but she's sleeping too deeply.  So I wake up Greta (all smiles) and we wake up MJ together (all frowns).  Knowing that we're going to a friend's house makes it better, but not much.  She decides all she wants to bring is a teddy bear (a pink one that, of course, says "Princess"... should have gotten rid of that bear when she was 1 and hadn't yet fallen in love with it) and some chapstick.
MJ, sound asleep.

Greta, well rested and loving life.  And that darned swing.
3:30 p.m.  In the car, on our way.  Driving 60 mph and I see a jumping spider on my dashboard.  Not a huge one, maybe the size of a dime, but it's fat and it freaking jumps.  I involuntarily swerve a bit and try to collect myself.  I hate spiders.  I grab a tissue and think I manage to squish him but there's nothing in the tissue.  So I grip the wheel and vow not to swerve if something jumps on me.  At one point I feel something (not the spider) and jump again, so I'm not sure how much good my self-talk did.

We drive through a tunnel on 94 to get to our friends house, and this cheers MJ immensely because she gets to shout "AHHHHH!" as we go through the tunnel.  We never taught her this, she just started doing it on her own.

4:00 p.m. We arrive at our friends house.  They moved in a few weeks ago and this is our first BBQ at their new place.  MJ whines a bit about not liking the sun (freaking Minnesotan) and I tell her no one here will have any sympathy for that kind of talk.  When we arrive I slather the kids up with sunscreen.  MJ refuses and I chase her throw the yard and tackle her to the ground.  My skirt is probably too short to be doing this but whatevs.

I love my friends for many reasons, but one of the reasons is that they're amazing cooks.  All of them.  It can make gatherings a bit stressful as I always feel the need to have inspiring food, but it makes for amazing gatherings.  Today was pork steaks grilled to perfection, cowboy beans made with heirloom beans, some amazing cole slaw, fruit salad, marinated cauliflower, homemade pickles, and some quinoa salad we brought.  Everything made from scratch, everything delicious.  Knowing these people has made me a better cook.

But anyway.  Most of the time is spent chasing the girls (or allowing/savoring other people chasing them).  At one point MJ goes upstairs to "drop a deuce" and insists on turning on the heater, just like her Dad.  A few rain showers send us inside, but everyone is just full of joy due to the weather and the food and the company.  I will not tell hubs all this because he is already sad to miss it.

"I swear I've seen them use these cups this way."
A lovely, lovely BBQ.
Greta's second experience with grass (her first was on Friday). Turns out, it's been a long winter.
Since MJ took a nap I try to stay as long as possible, but by 7:15 Greta is tuckered.  It takes a while to drag MJ away and she makes plans to have a sleep over at their house soon; Greta falls asleep in the car instantly.

7:40 p.m.  Get home, move G upstairs in her carseat.  MJ gets ready for bed without a fight.  We read "Lulu and the Brontosaurus" tonight, which I love and keep reading far longer than I intend to.  Finally tuck her in, go outside to "walk" Vito around our house and chat with our neighbor.

When I come back inside I move G to her crib (after giving her a bottle). I can't find the motivation to clean the kitchen.  The house is really a disaster, which I hate waking up to.  It starts the day off rough for me, but I've got to get some sleep.  I won't publish this until tomorrow but had to get it mostly done.

Before I fully go to sleep, I will go back downstairs to get some bottles for the night.  I usually give G a dreamfeed before I go to bed, but since she just went to sleep I don't know if I'll do that tonight.  Maybe I'll stir when hubs comes home and do it then....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring 2013, week in the life: Saturday

Today, I am tired.  Not in the Navigating the Mothership sort of way (seriously, her lack of sleep is truly monumental), but in the oh-my-god-my-baby-is-crawling sort of way.  Crawling started, today.  My sneak preview into my future life makes me weary.

5:00 a.m.  Greta wakes up, furious.  She sucks down a bottle and looks wide awake.  I stick her in the swing.  Every evening I resolve not to rely on the swing, but every morning it just works so darn well.  Sleep is going so good right now, I really don't want to mess with it.

7:00 a.m. I hear MJ yelling down the hallway.  So I yell back.  "Your clocks don't match yet.  Go back to bed."  I say this every morning, and it never works.  But this morning, miraculously, it does.

8:36 a.m.  I glance at the clock and assume something sinister.  Like, she's snuck downstairs and is gorging herself on candy.  Or she has snuck upstairs and figured out how to turn the TV on.  These are the two things that might keep her quiet this long.  I lay in bed for a little bit, savoring the fact that I got to sleep to such a godless time of the morning.  Only people who've been out partying the night before get to sleep in that late, right?  I google some information about electricity, including "What happens if you connect a life wire to neutral wire?"  Answer: Nothing good.

8:45 a.m.  Finally the suspense is too much.  I open MJ's door not knowing what I'll find, but she is, in fact, laying in bed, and the sound of the door wakes her up.  She grins from ear to ear, gloriously well rested.  We talk about how great sleep is (I'm hoping this sinks in) and go down the hall to wake up Greta.  She also grins from ear to ear, happy to be alive.  I love mornings like this.

9:00 a.m.  We go downstairs and eat breakfast.  MJ requests Cheerios, her go-to food.  I mix up some yogurt with apple sauce and oatmeal for Greta.  She takes two spoonfuls, then I set the bowl down to close to her and she knocks the whole thing onto the ground.  Vito dutifully licks it up; MJ wants to sweep it up and doesn't believe that this is a bad idea.  A ridiculous argument ensues with me threatening to take her broom away if she doesn't listen.  Thankfully, Vito's fast.  Another bowl for Greta.
The yogurt aftermath.  Vito is sporting a patch on his person and you will notice the bit he couldn't reach.
9:15 a.m. I call my Dad and we Facetime.  MJ used to love Facetime but is less enamored with it lately.  This makes the grandparents bummed but I'm hoping she'll grow out of it if I don't push it.  I quiz my Dad about our electrical issue (after my post last night I got an email from our renter that their power in their bedroom isn't working).  I show him our unfinished fence and we catch up, since we haven't talked in a while.  MJ causes much disruption and little contribution.  I put Greta on the floor after she finishes eating and she scoots all over.  This is new; just yesterday she wouldn't scoot more than a foot or so and would get tired and frustrated.  Now she scoots across the room and doesn't seem to wear out.  Every time I try to help MJ with something G has something else gross in her mouth.  I immediately see that this is going to be a problem and just hope she poops herself out.

The typical morning routine, watching my lion cubs wrestle.  MJ is clearly establishing her dominance.
Thankfully, she is also establishing her love.
10:00 a.m.  We wake up Dad.  He loves the riotous children-in-your-face wake up, whereas it is my personal torture.  But we're all happy to oblige.  I hand him the girls and warn him that G is scooting all over the place and can't be left alone for a moment.  I take Vito for a quick walk with MJ (since we currently have no fence I can't let him out back) and head to the rental.  Hubs takes the girls to the park.

Greta.  Into everything.
10:30 a.m.  Commence electrical work.  Lots of voltage readings and circuit trippings later, the problem remains unsolved.  Thankfully I didn't electrocute myself, but an electrician will have to be called.  Our very nice renters seem not to mind.  Hubs drop by briefly, and MJ insists on using their toilet.  And drops a deuce.  In our renters toilet.  Yep, we're super professional.

12:00 p.m. Greta falls asleep on the ride home and we move her car seat into her room.  Next up: lunch.  On the back porch!!!  PB & J for MJ (shocker, I know.)  Leftover Cossetta's for hubs and I.  Far too many strawberries for all of us.  It is so nice to be outside, and I get motivated to try to get our back yard in shape.  Part of that involves solving our garage storage dilemma, so I spend the next 1.5 hours tearing down some old shelves in the garage and putting some new shelves in their place. While it doesn't look much better, it gets everything off the floor (which has running water during rainfalls) and will provide much more storage in the long run.

Meanwhile, MJ drags all her yard toys out and shrieks wildly about being a train conductor.  Our neighbors have some very yappy, annoying dogs and in that instant, as they try to sit peacefully on their back porch and MJ yells "Choo!Choo!" over and over again, I feel that I can no longer get annoyed about their dogs.  I finally get too annoyed as well, and send her inside to watch some TV.  She's ecstatic about this option.

2:00 p.m.  Greta is up.  I realize I have barely sat down all morning, and now both kids are awake and energetic.  Hubs watches her for a bit while I finish up the garage so I can pull the car back in.

2:30 p.m.  Dad leaves for work, I feed Greta and then decide I need a shower.  This is when it became very clear that Greta is no longer (so) easy.  For the longest time (3-4 months) I've been able to sit her up with some toys and she plays happily while I shower.  Today, she did not.  She wanted nothing to do with the toys offered, and instead tried getting into the garbage can, the closet and wrapping the phone cord around her.  I finally tasked MJ with watching her while I showered.  I blow dried my hair after, but MJ announced she was done watching G so it was a very interrupted blow dry.  With another pause to give G a bottle, it was 3:40 before we finally left the house.  We're headed to a birthday party.  The party is for my husband's coworker's sons' birthdays (I think I punctuated that correctly).  I thought when I RSVP'd that hubs would be able to come, but was wrong.  I thought about not going but I know MJ will love it, so we pack up and go (incidentally, I'm totally glad that we did).

This was more important than watching Greta while I blow dry my hair.  I figure if I'm going to post a naked picture of my kid, it had better be blurry.  
So much child proofing to do.
3:50 p.m.  Arrive at Target.  In my abundant organization, I didn't remember to get presents in advance.  The party starts at 4:00, half-an-hour away, so... I tell MJ this will be quick.  She decides we should get Barbie makeup as a gift.  I try to explain that most boys don't like makeup.  So she suggests a Barbie purse.... hmmm.... I'm trying to avoid the total gendering of toys, but this is a hard one.  I convince her to get nerf guns instead, and have probably damaged some feminist in the process.  She's also convinced that only boys can be doctors, so I'm trying to do more cross-gendered toys and stereotypes, but it's hard to have it both ways.

4:20 p.m. Leave Target.  Hit the road.  MJ falls asleep about halfway there and Greta falls asleep with only five minutes remaining.  Part way there I realize I have forgotten both food and bottles for G.  Winning at parenting.

4:50 p.m.  Arrive.  Instantly long for the suburbs and wonder if our city dwelling days are numbered (I don't think they are).  But the yard!  And the space!  I wake up MJ and bring Greta inside, still sleeping in car seat.  A second nap is rare for her, so every moment is a bonus.

It takes MJ a while to warm up, but as soon as she sees the Curious George cake she's into it.  I realize that many people there don't know each other and no longer feel like such an outsider.  Greta naps for about 35 minutes, then wakes up and is on the move.  She keeps getting underfoot but is otherwise smiley.  Classic party games (pin-the-butterly-on-george, pinata, etc.) that MJ is totally into.  Cake and ice cream, of course.  And her and the birthday boy get along so wel that we resolve to get them together more regularly.  Both girls have a great time and it makes me super glad I came.

Dutifully waiting for the pinata.
I love this picture.  So many wars are being waged.
Turns out this girl has an arm on her.  T-ball, here we come.
I think she may have shoved her way into top candy-hoarder position.   Note to self: the paper bags worked well because every kid walked away convinced they got the most candy.  
MJ is having to learn better cake guarding technique.  She is not a fan of Greta's new skill.  The days I have warned her about have finally arrived.
6:45 p.m. Depart.  I almost have to drag MJ out.  Stop for gas on the way home, but the credit card machine is down and I must find another.  My fuel gauge tells me I can only go 9 more miles and I get a little uncomfortable.

Some final crawling before bed time.  Need to see what big sis is up to.
She's taking orders.  I requested ravioli but all they had was dog food.
7:15 p.m. Home.  I am wiped out.  The last stuff in the yard I want to do will not be happening.  I feed the girls a bit more (and myself) since they were too distracted to eat much (and since I didn't bring anything for G, oops...)  MJ creates a game that is essentially would-you-rather with food.  "Would you rather eat dog food or a baby bottle?"  I'm impressed by her creativity.  I can feel myself getting crabby.. I push food into everyone then badger MJ into jammies, teeth brushing and potty.  We read a quick book, because G is starting to melt down, then tuck in by 8 sharp.  I give G a bottle and sing to her.  She goes to bed easily despite seeming very awake.  I take Vito outside on a leash to pee; he is not impressed by the promise of a walk (in the form of a leash) with no delivery other than the trees directly in front of our house.  Pick up the kitchen, wash bottles....

8:45 p.m. Finally sit down to write.  I will be excited when the week-in-the-life is done.  It is wearing me out, I confess.  My mom loves it, and I think would appreciate this much detail in every conversation I have with her.  Interestingly, I find myself taking fewer pictures than ever this week, I'm not sure why.  One more day.  I think I can do it.  Maybe I'll make a final push and actually edit my post tomorrow....

And because I forgot any self portraits today, you get my nighty-night tired self.

 Proof reading is over rated.  Hope you all agree with me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Week in the life: Friday, April 26th

You may have noticed I missed a couple days.  I took some notes.  And some pictures.  But when it came time to writing, I just didn't have it in me.  Largely because those were my only two evenings with my hubs all week.  He worked Monday and Tuesday evening, and is working today through the weekend.  So I had to take advantage.  And it was beginning to feel a bit groundhogs-day-ish in these parts.

To sum it up, Wednesday brought story time at Red Balloon bookshop.  MJ loves it and is so engaged. Greta just likes staring at the other little kids.  It also brought an appointment with a podiatrist to get measured for orthotics along with an appointment at the endocrinologists to get my thyroid levels checked.  I see the doctor an awful lot for someone that's so healthy.  Then MJ had swim lessons, which Dad missed because he forgot and scheduled a barbecue.  But considering it was his only opportunity to see friends this week, it was a fair mistake, and we got to come home to a house full of friends.  Wednesday was evaluation day at swim lessons, but MJ will not be moving up because she needs to work on her kicking.  So be it.

Thursday brought a quick morning run, followed by a visit to Como Zoo.  MJ actually enjoyed the animals for once; she's usually uninterested because they're behind glass and she can't touch them.  She devised a plan to sneak up on Santa once she saw the reindeer, figuring he must be close by.  Thursday also brought a 3 mile detour, just so we wouldn't drive by her old preschool where her friends would be playing and she'd be sad :(  Thursday brought a sick Greta; both have been a little sick, but Greta was clearly feeling crummy.  I cuddled with her for a long time yesterday afternoon, enjoying the fact that she wanted to cuddle at all.  Yesterday brought a trip to Menard's to pick up some supplies for the house, as well as testing patio furniture.  And the realization, while observing my kids running wild, that a third kid would be.... interesting.  I already don't know where one of them is most of the time, so maybe a third wouldn't feel much different.
The only self portrait I remembered, and feeling too weird to attempt a better shot.  

The phone, still the most interesting part of the zoo.

I think I'll be getting looks like this from these girls for a long time to come.

Constantly losing this one.

She got in trouble and had to ride underneath, there was no room elsewhere. 

I bet they don't make chairs like this in other countries (except China, but they all get shipped here).

Anyway.  Today.

2:30  Greta woke up early today.  Her eating schedule has been totally wonky because she's been sick, so I fed her and she fell back to sleep.  Up again at 6:30, with another bottle and then I put her in the swing.  She needed her sleep, and this bought her an extra 2 hours which served her well today.

7:15 MJ woke up.  Her room was a disaster, because she's been obsessed with rearranging her furniture, so I made her clean it before she came out.  Her room is usually a disaster first thing in the morning, because she wakes up early and will play by herself in her room.  I know this trait is a blessing, we're just trying to work on the room tidying part of it.  Today, though, she did stellar picking it all up.  Looked cleaner than my room (which isn't really saying much.)

7:40 MJ and I head downstairs.  I need to de-poop our backyard (gross) because the fence installers are supposed to show up at ~8:00 and I don't want them to step in anything.  There isn't much, thankfully, and it goes quickly.  I should add that it was low 40's when I woke up, so it was pretty pleasant picking up poop in my back yard.  It's immediately apparent that it's going to be a nice day.  Back inside, MJ is dissatisfied with all her breakfast options.  So I make a breakfast sandwich for each of us: one egg over hard, cheddar cheese and tomato on toast.  Dad tells me later in the morning that it was his biggest motivator to get out of bed.

8:10  Fence guys show up.  I go outside to talk to them, and the head guy gives me a weird look.  "Do you want to.... go inside and get dressed or something?"  Apparently not everyone appreciates my pajamas-are-always-appropriate approach to life.  I change, and we go over the plans.  We're installing a drive gate into our tiny back yard.  Everyone seems to think it's weird, and he checks with us to make sure we want it.  I'm psyched that we'll have the option to pull our cars back there during snow emergencies.

8:30  I finally wake Greta up because we have to get ready to go to tumbling.  I wake her up, pack the diaper bag and head out.  We still don't get out the door until 8:50 because dealing with small children interrupts the space-time continuum.

9:10  Arrive at community center for MJ's first day of tumbling.  Greta immediately has a messy diaper, which I change in the bathroom; MJ critiques everything about the process until I finally ask her to step outside.

9:15 The parents are sent out of the room.  I'm not worried, MJ does fine, but it seems weird to me.  Usually you get to watch these activities, no?  It's a small room, I guess.  So Greta and I sit there and play, I'll have to think of something better for next week.  When MJ comes out 40 minutes later she's carrying another girls socks.  Of course, she won't keep her own socks on her feet but will play with other people's socks.  Gross.

Entertaining Greta with limited resources while we wait for big sister.
Throughout the entire class, I get frequent (grumpy) calls from hubs, who's at the rental house taking measurements of the room we put in the basement.  This is a bit of a long story, I'll try to be quick: when we lived in the house he put in a room downstairs to use for guests.  Although he ran the wiring correctly (with the help of an electrician friend) nothing else about the room was done to code.  And we didn't pull a permit.  Flash forward to now, and our house was inspected by the fire marshall; this is standard practice for the rentals around us.  Now we have to get the room done properly, and hubs is in charge since he built it.  But what that room taught both of us is that he HATES dealing with these things and I am the general home repair person.


10:00 After lessons I go pick up hubs to go the Safety and Inspections office in Saint Paul.  He thinks we should bring the girls because they're cute and will win over the inspectors.  In reality, Greta was tired and grumpy, and MJ was shy and grumpy, and they didn't do a whole lot of winning anyone over.  Not that they needed to.  Hubs decided to file for a room with no electrical because the paperwork is easier.  We filled it out, he drew out a rough blueprint and we were on our merry way.  What a freaking pain.

MJ, "charming" the building inspectors.
11:15  We leave downtown St. Paul.  Hubs is super grumpy.  He has every reason to be, I know.  We are finally getting a nice weekend and he has to work every day and will miss every fun activity we have planned.  And furthermore, he has to go back over to the rental to pull out the electrical and deal with stuff he HATES.  I try to cheer him up by suggesting lunch at Cossetta's.  It works, sort of, except for the chaos of eating anywhere with two little kids and his grump is insurmountable.  He takes it out on me, I get pissed.  We move on.  MJ announces during lunch "Do you know where chocolate milk comes from??  BUNNIES!!!"  Meanwhile, Greta is dropping the pieces of pasta we have given over the side of her high chair to see where they go.

Look what happens to this past when I throw it over the side!!!
12:10  We get home.  We talk to fence guys and clarify that the huge raised flower bed is supposed to be entirely removed; they are none too happy about this clarification.  I feel bad but also glad we caught that potentially huge mistake.  I give Greta a bath to wash the past sauce off her body and her soul.  Afterwards, I briefly hand her to hubs to grab something and he sets her on the carpet, naked.  Seriously, like 15 seconds.  And she poops all over the place.  I take her and clean her up, he cleans the rug and decides that's his cue to leave.  Hubs gathers up his stuff and heads to rental, angry at life and the beautiful day he's not getting to enjoy.

Plotting the deuce she's about to drop on our carpet.
12:55 I lay Greta down for nap.  Girlfriend is freaking exhausted.  She's been awake for 4.5 hours at that point.  But she proceeds to wake up every 30-40 minutes for 2 hours.  She's a great sleeper at night but a terrible nap.  She essentially gets one nap a day now, but sleeps for up to 14 hours at night.  I tell MJ she can watch some iPad while I'm laying Greta down.  She goes to sleep quickly, and then I finalize some VRBO plans and a few other computer tasks.

1:45  Nap time for MJ.  We make it quick because hubs is upset about an electrical issue he can't figure out.  Quick story, quick tuck in.  Somehow her room is a disaster again and I inform her she needs to clean it after she wakes up.

I call hubs back, and this begins an hour long argument/problem solving issue with electrical problems over the phone.  I resolve to be the only one to do home repair in the future.

2:30  MJ has been pounding around, clearly not sleeping.  She comes out, I tell her she has to clean her room before coming out again.  My rule is that I have to not be afraid to walk in her room.  It's amazing how quickly that disintegrates.  I go outside to talk to the fence guy, who's talking to our  neighbor.  The neighbor is frustrated that the fence won't be finished for a week (the posts have to set before boards are attached).  I think the fence guy was giving me a look like "can you believe this guy?" but that may have just been what I was thinking.  This is the same neighbor who vacuumed sawdust off his trees when we had a tree cut down and our sawdust got on his trees.

A crappy picture and attempt to capture the chaos of going shopping with these two.  Really, it's the chaos of shopping with one in particular, but I won't name names.
3:30  Greta is awake, so time to go to Target.  MJ tries to be good, but she's just kind of incapable and lands herself in the basket of the cart (also, she talks me into buying Nerds, largely because I couldn't resist the gummy bears - these are disputes we never have at the co-op).  We pick up watermelon and cantaloupe to bring to our friends for dinner  (Erin, who's also doing a day in the life).  At some point Greta drops a massive deuce that I can smell from far away and I know we need to finish quickly.  But I get distracted by clearance, etc., and it takes me a while to get out.  We finally make it to the van, where MJ nearly pushes the cart off the curb with Greta sitting in it and I lose my sh!t.  I am furious, making her get in her car seat while I change G's diaper and she flails everywhere like a mad woman.  Poop ends up on a whole pile of stuff and I recall telling MJ "You need to learn to give people space when they're stressed!"  That was my low point of the day.  (With the exception of Monday, I've kept my patience for the most part this week.  We've had a very positive week together, I'm proud to say.  I think it was the sunshine, personally.

Anyway.  5:00 and we finally head out.  Just enough time to head to Erin and Ben's, so I bring my pile o' groceries along with me.  And I mostly just vegetate while there.  Watch Greta put piles of dead grass in her mouth.  I try to stop her but mostly give up.  With only occasional reminding MJ is playing much more nicely than she has been of late.  Maybe nice and patient mom makes a nice and patient daughter?  That's an added responsibility... oy!  It's nice to see adults, and get to talk to them because there's enough space for the kids to spread out and not yell in our ear.  I also have to briefly duck out to go finish off the electrical that Hubs had issues with.

I'm guessing Erin will have a better shot of this same moment.  Maybe she'll even manage to provide a pic of me, which I apparently forgot today.
7:20 rolls around quickly.  Greta has been rubbing her eyes for a long while and is clearly exhausted.  I also told MJ (several times) that if she didn't take a nap we'd have to leave early.  The rule has been 7 p.m. bedtime on no nap days.  She is mournfully sad and I feel bad for her.  She's behaving really well, and really wants to stay.  And even leaves pretty well.  She hugs Mia as we leave and says "I'll see you someday maybe... I have to go home because I didn't take a nap...."  I guess that point was driven home.  She even said, of her own volition, "I should have taken a nap today...."

Greta fell asleep within a few blocks, which is unusual for her since she barely ever falls asleep in the car.  When we get home I move her upstairs in the car seat, and MJ is even sadder because she realizes there will be no delay while I put Greta to bed.  But I read some extra stories and she seems plenty sleepy by the time 8 o'clock rolls around.

I drag the rest of the groceries in the house, clean up the kitchen, make some iced coffee for the morning, then hear G start wailing.  I go upstairs and give her a very large bottle, and move her into the crib.  She has trouble settling and keeps coughing but eventually succeeds.

10 pm and the day is done.  Stick in some pictures and go to sleep!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week in the life, Day 2: April 23, 2013

This needs to be quick today, because I have a Mad Men episode I want to watch.  I'll do my best at brevity, and probably won't do a very good job proof reading.  Sorry 'bout that.

5:55 a.m. Greta squawks.  Bottle and swing, and she instantly falls back asleep.

6:something a.m. I hear MJ up. Thankfully she usually goes to hubs first because she knows he's more patient in the morning.  But even he tells her to go back to her room.

7:15 a.m. She's up again.  In my sleepy haze, apparently hubs decides to get up with her and let me sleep.  Jackpot!

8:25 a.m.  Lots of noise in the house, and I'm feeling very awake.  Apparently that's as late as my body will allow me to sleep.  I check my phone, not yet ready to face the chaos.  This is probably why MJ now asks to "plug in her phone" next to her bed, and why we already had to make a "no phone at bedtime" rule, even though it's not even real.  Vito sneaks in to my bedroom, leaving the door open. A couple minutes later MJ spies an open door and runs in screaming.  My day has begun.  I head downstairs to find that hubs has made pancakes, coffee, and emptied the dishwasher. Stellar hubs today, did he know this would be recorded?.  I eat breakfast and feed Greta, while hubs hops in the shower.

9:00 a.m.  Hubs leaves for work.  I need to be at the rental at 10:00 a.m. to meet a furnace guy, so just need to kill some time.  MJ gets dressed to play outside in the snow, and I sit inside with my coffee to watch her.  Perfect way to start the day: quiet for me, exercise for MJ.

I have to nix the car cleaning, even though I don't want to, because she's too close to the road.
9:25 a.m. Back inside. We all get dressed, Greta gets a bottle. MJ comes down the stairs in her wedding gown announcing she is a "principal".  I think she means "princess" but it's too cute to correct her.

"Principal" MJ.
I also get sucked into the "principal" story.  I am apparently the groom.
10:20 a.m. Still no word from the furnace company (they're supposed to call to give us notice to head over).  I call them and they say it will be very soon.   Quick load of laundry.

Got hold of her sisters flute when she wasn't looking.  Tries to blow on it,  gives up and beats the ground with it.
10:49 a.m. MJ is back outside, but it doesn't last long and she announces that she is done with the snow.  "I'm very frustrated, I don't want any more snow."  Yes, dear, we all feel that way.  I call the furnace company again, and they say another 45 minutes.  Greta's already rubbing her eyes.  This doesn't bode well.
Chew beads.  Everything is better with chew beads.

11:00 a.m. They call to say they're on their way.  I confirm that they are doing a furnace inspection and installing a gas line shutoff.  They say they are only doing an inspection, this guy doesn't do gas line shutoffs.  I'm fed up and tell them I'll be finding a new company.  So now, a morning wasted and nothing accomplished.  The snow doesn't make me want to go anywhere, but still....

11:10 a.m. I put Greta down for a nap and put some tea on for MJ and I, so she can use her new little mug I got her in Vegas. I give her the iPad since Greta's asleep and get some more rental stuff done, including finding a new heating company.

11:20 a.m. MJ turns to me and asks "Are taxes a boy?"  A few weeks ago she heard me groan a lot about doing taxes, and even pretended to do her own, but this is a confusing question.  Even when I explain why it's a confusing question we are both at a loss.  She loses interest and watches more Curious George.    At some point I decide that the annoying sounds of Curious George are not doing much to help me maintain sanity so I ask her to watch it in her bedroom for a little bit.  

12:20 p.m. Dad comes home and sneaks into MJ's room.  He manages to climb up next to her before she notices and screams with delight.  George is done, time for lunch.  PB&J, as per usual.   Quesadilla for mom.  Pasta with clam sauce (yuck!) for Dad.  The kitchen is busy and we all chatter.

12:50 p.m. Greta wakes up, smiling from ear to ear.  Love how much this girl loves life.  Discuss more rental issues with hubs; we had a fire safety inspection and have several findings we have to fix, including what to do with a room we put in the basement that we never pulled a permit on.  Tear it down?  Get a permit?  The whole thing sounds like more time than I have time for.  Also need to paint a garage, install new deadbolts, fix two doors, etc.  Not sure when I'll find time for it all.  Not excited to pay someone else to do it all, either.

1:00 p.m. MJ gets in big trouble for turning the heater in Greta's room on.  I try to scare her a bit, explaining the fire hazard, but she just doesn't seem to get it.  

1:15 p.m.  Nap time for MJ.  We read "Ivy & Bean", which I'm enjoying, and which MJ seems to enjoy, though I'm not sure how much she's understanding of it. 

1:30 p.m.  Lunch for Greta.  Make some pasta for her try feeding herself.  I hear lots of banging upstairs as MJ defies nap time.  Make some more baby food for G with plans to freeze it.  Clean up from lunch.

2:25 p.m.  Finally throw in the towel on a nap.  I go in, she's laying on the floor with her feet up in the air. We clean her room (I secretly love that she's so good at entertaining herself in her bedroom, even if it means a mess and no nap). We wait for dad to finish a phone call to go grocery shopping.
The daily room clean up.  Not too bad today, but trying to avoid reaching critical mass.
3:00 p.m. Leave for Whole Foods.  Hubs and I constantly disagree about whether "organic" is worth the money, but since I do most of the grocery shopping and most of the cooking I usually win.  Furthermore, we have fewer meltdowns at Whole Foods because I don't have to argue against Cinderella toothpaste and purple cheerios (both real Target arguments).  Hubs takes MJ, I take Greta in the cart, who is a perfect angel despite having been awake for going on 4 hours.   I hear shrieking the next aisle over, know it's my kid, and sort of hope that they stay over there so I don't have to acknowledge that it's my kid freaking out.  I see my cubicle neighbor from my last job and feel too awkward to say hi.  The last time he saw me I was 9 months pregnant so he prob didn't recognize me, anyway.  Dad finally gives up and takes MJ to the car.  I finish in peace, except for accidentally deleting my grocery list from my phone.  But without a whining threenager I have the time to go slow and don't think I forgot anything.  Greta briefly falls asleep in the car.  I guess that's the afternoon nap.

4:10 p.m. Back home and unload the essential (i.e. frozen) groceries.  I planned to make meatball hoagies, but the sun is out and the snow is almost gone and MJ wants to scooter.  I give in, this spring has been too crappy to let a single moment of nice weather go unappreciated.  We stop at the playground where some older girls befriend MJ.  She loves it, and they're so sweet to her.  This has not been her experience lately, and I hope we run into them again.  Hubs leaves for work and we say hi as he drives by.
Apparently all my sunglass photos are weird, but at least Greta's cute.Love that tongue.

Getting pushed on the swings by older girls = heaven.

4:35 p.m. Back home when the cold wind finally got to be too much.  I make some frozen ravioli, but MJ is so hungry even that is a hard thing to wait for.  I feed Greta while the food cooks: quinoa mixed with spinach and beef.  Also yogurt with applesauce.  And some cheese, for the first time.  She loves all of it.

5:00 p.m. Finally we are all eating.  I give some more cheese to Greta so she can "eat" with us.  Both of my girls look like they're going to fall asleep while eating.  MJ turns to me and says "Mom, I'm pretty fragile."  It's an expression I use when she's tired and easily upset; I can't help laughing at her mournful little face.  But the food perks her up considerably.

My "fragile" girl.
She climbs in my lap after eating.  Proof that she is, indeed, fragile.
5:20 p.m.  I somehow get confused about time, thinking it's 6:20 when it's only 5:20.  I was getting G ready for bed before I notice.  So instead, we all get in jammies and just play.  MJ and Greta lay in my bed laughing for a long time; MJ keeps tickling her and poking her to get her to laugh.  It looks too rough to me but G loves it, so I guess it's okay.  After a while we go downstairs to clean the kitchen from dinner.  I let MJ have a piece of candy, which takes her about 40 minutes to eat.
Some pre-bed rough housing.  MJ as instigator, Greta as encourager.

6:10 p.m. I start Greta's very brief routine, and she goes down without a fuss.  Tired girl, it's no wonder.     I agree to play the "Big sister" game with MJ, no really knowing what I'm agreeing to.  But MJ is usually content to have me do very little in her games, as long as she gets to be in charge.  This game involved her putting me to bed, and me getting to lay there for a while as she did who knows what else.  Then she came and woke up and we went to "Lizard Land".  I nixed the going-outside-in-our-jammies part.  

6:40 p.m. Teeth brushing time.  Then quite a few stories.  Before the end of the Ivy & Bean chapter we read she asked if she could crawl in bed.  

Two very tired girls today.  Here's hoping they sleep all night.   And now for some Mad Men....