So Far, Yet So Close

My lovely cousin Diana and her husband Milan just had their first baby, a girl, two weeks ago.
Diana created a group in Facebook that included family and friends (since she and Milan are in Chicago and so many of us are not). We were able to

I look forward to taking the boys on roller coasters…someday.

I look forward to taking the boys on roller coasters…someday.

follow their progress and toward the end, we were able to post our predictions on stats of the birth. FYI- baby girl is healthy and happy and parents are glistening in the usual newborn bliss.
I feel like I am not so far away from that reality.  Reading all of their posts takes me back to two years ago when Drew-Brew was born. Now that he is almost two…and we are done having kiddos, I feel we are closing a chapter and beginning a new one. We just switched Drew to the front facing car seat…and he is so happy.

When Ryan’s cousin was here, I gave her all of the gender neutral gear I could. We have a lightened load. Though I loved experiencing the baby stages with both of the boys, I am so happy to have kiddos who can walk, talk, and wipe themselves…oh wait. Chase says he’s not going to wipe himself until he’s 5. Drew on the other hand wants to do everything himself. “Mommy! Do it self!…Got it!”
This weekend, Chase and I are going my niece’s wedding. Ryan wants to convert Andrew’s crib to the toddler bed option…we’ll see how that goes. I have a feeling that we will have a bit of a challenge keeping Drew in his bed. Does anyone have some duct tape I could use?
I’m also debating switching Drew’s schedule from 4-5 half days to 3 full days. It is no additional cost and it would not only save me a trip in the middle of the day but it would also give me an uninterrupted block of time during the day to work on projects, weekly menus, clean etc.  The mommy guilt inevitably creeps in my mind each time I start to think about it.  Part of the reasoning behind putting Andrew in a program was to allow me some time to myself  (Along with the other reasons: socialization and moving on from having a nanny to just a regular sitter).  I feel guilty because we didn’t put Chase in a play school until he was 2.5.  I feel like I’m shoving Andrew out the door.  He loves it though.  To make myself feel better, I signed us up for a Music Together class on Mondays.  We haven’t taken a class since we left Santa Fe.  This will give us some good one on one time right?

In a year, Andrew will be going to school full time.  I feel like this is a countdown to the end of babies and the beginning of the next phase of parenthood.  Next stop: roller coasters!

Siggy-Q

We’re Making Progress

After a successful trial run in Idaho, Andrew is now in  a Montessori program here in Tucson.  Chase started at 3 years old but we decided that we weren’t going to hire a nanny so 3 half days of socialization for Andrew is a great start.  I feel guilty, of course, but he really seems to enjoy himself.  And the end of his official first day, I walked into his classroom and he looked at me, waived, and said: “Bye bye Mommy!”  That made me feel much better.

It will definitely be nice to have the morning to myself and to get things done in the office, which I was not able to do with Andrew here.  Our office is currently in our guest bedroom so Andrew always wants to jump on the bed and roll around or climb into my lap and make it impossible for me to accomplish anything.  I realize that I could stay up late each night and/or get up early to get things done, but I’m exhausted.  I like to sleep.  It seems like my sleep deficit isn’t getting any smaller.  I reluctantly nap sometimes during Andrew’s nap time but I’m still sluggish and worn down.

In addition, Andrew is coming to me telling me he wants to pee or poop in the potty.  I’m FLABBERGASTED!  With Chase, I didn’t even mention it until he was 28 months!  We’re 4 months ahead!  I secretly have wanted to be free of diapers by the end of 2014, but I never thought that it might actually happen!  I’ll keep you posted on that one.

So, this may sound crazy but the weather is really becoming nice here.  The high temperatures are starting to be a little more reasonable: mid 90’s.  After enduring temperatures of 108 on a regular basis this weather is delightful.  In addition, the monsoons here have made a huge difference in the landscape.  The mountains have a beautiful green hue.

We’ll be back to our regular schedule of posting several times week.  With travel and still settling in the house, I was off my game for awhile.

Cheers!

Siggy-Q

Two Weeks In…

 

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Ummm, It’s hot here.

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Chase with “sandwich hands” and learning to kick.

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Andrew and Ryan getting comfortable in the water

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It’s so bright here that Andrew now asks for sunglasses.

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The Tucson Children’s Museum – housed in an old Carnegie Library.

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My birthday cake – A six layer passion fruit coconut cake. Happy Birthday to me!

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Though the picture doesn’t do it justice, a beautiful Tucson sunset.

We’ve been here two weeks.  Quite a bit has happened so far.  I’ve un-packed 63 boxes and repacked 17.  I’ve done 31 loads of laundry and given away 24 t-shirts that haven’t been worn in 2 years (more like 7 years).  I’ve been running 4 times (at 5 am because it is 90 degrees by 8 am) and gone to 5 Barre 3 classes.  I’ve driven Chase to school 7 times and gone to the grocery store 7 times.  Chase and Drew have had 3 swimming lessons and have been swimming otherwise once.  The boys have been to the Tucson Children’s Museum thrice.  Oh, and I hosted my birthday party.  We’ve had a busy two weeks.

After breaking down boxes at nine o’clock at night in a garage that was still 90 degrees, I’ve decided to lighten my load.  I’m not a hoarder, but I have a hard time letting things go.  What if I need it?  What if someone I know could use it?  What if it could be used for a costume party? Well, I’m a creative person, I can come up with a solution to solve most any problem.

There is something liberating about lightening your load.  Less stuff means less potential clutter.  Less clutter means less chaos.  Less chaos means less of a need to drink wine at the end of the day.  Wait, why am I doing this again?

Being selective in what I keep and what I actually need is my goal.  Plus, with Andrew growing up and out of toys and clothes, I can really be brutal.  With my own things, I need to determine if keeping certain things will improve my life or my family’s life.  Plus, with some of this baby gear, I could get some money for it.  Hello Botox!

Potentially, we’d like to buy a house in a year or two.  The thought of paying people to pack up all this stuff again and move it is not appealing.  In light of that, getting rid of excess things, duplicates and political science books circa 1998 is quite appealing.  When I was working in politics, I justified lugging those books across the country and back because I thought I just might reference them at some point.  I was wrong of course, I never once referenced them and with the lovely thing called: THE INTERNET, most any topic can be researched accurately and with updated information.

I feel so lucky that we have some friends here already.  Though we have our own little routine started, we have friends here from residency, and they have boys the same ages as Chase and Drew.  They get along well and once I rise above the sea of boxes in our garage, we’ll do more together.  Maybe even a double date night?  Which leads me to my next big project: a new nanny and date night sitter.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I got so lucky with our nannies in Santa Fe that I hope I have the same good fortune here in Tucson.

I’m feeling good so far about the amenities here. Things are easy to find and there are lots of choices in stores, restaurants and activities.  I even ran into a gal who was a year ahead of me at Culver.  I hope that will be a new connection here in town.  She even let me know that my new favorite place: Nox, is owned by another classmate!

I’ll keep you posted on our progress.  It is slow but sure.  And, instead of shoving things closets and unpacking every single box, I’m going to be measured and judicious when keeping things for the sake of keeping things.  I am my mother’s daughter.

Siggy-Q

Two Weeks to Go…

Exactly two weeks from today, Ryan and I will pack up the boys, the dog, and all our S#%T and make the 9 hour drive to Tucson.  I approach this date with a sense of excitement but also sadness to leave my in-laws, friends and connections that we have made here in Santa Fe.

The excitement is embodied in exploring something new, living near some really great people, and having all of the new opportunities that Santa Fe doesn’t offer our family.  We have gotten creative while living here.  Santa Fe is a great town, but not the greatest for raising kiddos.  It hasn’t been the most family friendly.  We found our niche of other young professionals and their kids.  I am sure that I will now really appreciate living in a city that actually likes kids.

After living with the in-laws (which has been entirely positive) I am excited to have our own space again.  It is always fun (for me) to open boxes and set up house.  It also offers the chance to purge unused items.  I’m sure we’ll have a huge pile of donations.  It will be a good chance to teach Chase about giving to those who are not as fortunate as we are.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to see the good in letting go of a couple of the 5 dump trucks we have.  Do we need all 5?

We are starting over in a sense.  Though we have a few sets of friends in Tucson, we will still make new connections as we settle in with our daily life.  I have a little trepidation about this because I feel like it took 2 years to really start making connections in Santa Fe.  It gets harder to make solid connections as you get older.  However, in a large city like Tucson, I am hopeful that there will be lots of interesting people to meet.  Plus, there is a college town feel in Tucson that is completely missing in Santa Fe.  I look forward taking the boys to games and introducing them to the fun that can be had in the collegiate atmosphere (no keg stands or jello shots yet).

Ryan started his job and things are going well.

Wish me luck.  It has been a long transition, but a fun one.

 

 

 

Do You Read Your Food Labels?

I just read an article from Santa Fe based “Outside Magazine” regarding the opening of a new Trader Joe’s grocery store in Boulder, CO.  The article is titled: “Trader Woes”  and I must say my first reaction was: oh, I should start reading my food labels more often.  I buy organic and local when I can but not always.  I go to Trader Joe’s a lot.  Yes, I buy crackers, cheese (sometimes organic), uncured black forest ham, cultured coconut milk yogurt, and corn dogs from Trader Joe’s.  The boys love them.  Ryan just picked up a box of 250 taquitos at Sam’s Club.  Those don’t have any preservatives do they?

My second reaction was: get out of your crazy mountain bubble!  I realize that Boulder is a very health conscious city and that is why people live there.  But to demonize a store for selling items with preservatives like sodium lauryl sulfate (which apparently controls acidity) is going too far especially for people who live in food deserts like the one I lived in on Capitol Hill.  There was a dismal Safeway on East Maryland Street that my roommates and I went to when we didn’t have the 45 minutes it took to get to the Harris-Teeter or Whole Foods in Virginia and Georgetown.  Plus, it just seems so arrogant to start railing on a well liked company that has good intentions.

I wish we could all eat healthy, nutritious foods.  But what about the kids who go home on the weekends and don’t even have breakfast?  Do you think they give a s*#t that the Pop-Tarts they received in the backpack full of food from the local food pantry have preservatives in them?  NO.  I’m sure if they had parents who were aware and time to cook them a kale-acai-gluten free-vegan breakfast bar they would be much better off.

I have that time and still look for short cuts and easy ways to feed two boys who eat CONSTANTLY!  I enjoy cooking but I would like to do something other than brew Kombucha on my countertop.  By the way, I do plan on brewing my own Kombucha when I ‘m not living with my in laws.

I get what the article is trying to convey: Trader Joe’s is not perfect when it comes to the products it sells.  BUT, it does make an effort, the employees seem happy and holy monkey balls it is better than shopping at some other stores which are one step up from nursing home depressive.  We all do what we can to ensure a safe and healthy food supply for ourselves and the communities in which we live.  What else can we do?  No, really…what more should we do?

What are your thoughts on this?  There is a link to the article above.  Am I OVERREACTING?  I very well could be.

Siggy-Q

Here We Go Again…

We sold our house!  That’s the fabulous news.  And, to a family.  We have friends who know the mom and her kiddos, two boys.  If I have to leave my house here in Santa Fe, at least it will be to a family who will enjoy the house as much as we have.

We close on March 24th.  So, that means we will live with our in-laws for about 2.5 months.    Any of you who know my in-laws know that we get along and that this is a good thing.  The packers come on Thursday and then all of our things will be moved out and put in storage until the end of May when we move into a rental that we do not yet have.  AGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

So that means on Wednesday, Ryan and I will pull items from each room of our house that will be moved over to my in-laws’ house.  Do I really have to pack for 2.5 months?  Activities over the next two months include: house hunting trip in trip to Tucson, Girls’ Weekend, 20 Year Reunion in Indiana, working out, and the changing seasons here in Santa Fe.  Honey, we’re going to need to buy a few more suitcases.

I know, 1st world problems.  At least Ryan has a job, we have sold our house (and getting our initial investment back), we are healthy, and we have generous family members to take in 4 people for 2.5 months.  I realize how lucky we are.

Over the last couple of weeks, in between thoughtful meatless monday meals, I have been creating some interesting pantry/freezer meals.  I have made a dent in the supplies in our pantry but there is still a lot to move.  And, I’ve done a great job consuming the booze that we have.  Who wants Champs at the next play date?

And, I’ve been purging stuff like it is my job.  Do I really need 4 white t-shirts with pit stains?  What if I need to paint a room?  I have 3 rain jackets.  Do I need a red one, black one and a khaki one?  I have shoes that I haven’t worn in several years but they are nice shoes and what if I need them for a costume?  This is my internal struggle.  I think I should just get rid of them.  Thoughts?

My girls here in Santa Fe have asked what I would like to do for my going away party.  (Roller Skating? Bar Crawl? Caffeine free tea and gluten free scones?) This warms my heart and also makes me realize that to a certain extent, we are starting over again in Tucson.  Thank goodness for our friends from residency: James and Martha and Ryan’s freshman year undergrad roommate: Jeff and his girlfriend Amber.  These are friends who have a long history with us and know us well.  We can call on them (and vice-versa) when we need them but they aren’t high maintenance.

I am excited, stressed, and ready for what’s ahead.  I still have projects to finish and loose ends to tie up here in Santa Fe.  It will be a busy couple of months, but we’ll handle it.  We have done this before.  So, for now, my posts will be sporadic.  I will definitely be plugged in but our lives will be a little different until we get settled in Tucson.

Siggy-Q

He’s a Year Old Already?

Andrew is almost a year old.  So much has happened in the last 12 months that I can hardly believe I was actually part of it.

First Andrew was born, then we bought and moved into a house.

Chase turned 3 and started at Montessori.

Andrew started sitting up and then he started solid foods.

Ryan and I ran a half marathon.

Chase started camp.

Drew started crawling.

We went on vacation to Idaho.

Chase started school again.

Drew is on the verge of walking.  It is amazing to see the development and the progress in that child.  I’m not wistful that Drew is the last child we’ll have.  But I am taking it all in and relishing the cuddling while I nurse him.

In the meantime, Ryan and I are getting our financial house in order.  We are talking retirement ages and what we’ll want to do during that time.  It seems so strange to make goals like that but I’m glad we’re doing it.  I find it hard to think about what I want to do in retirement because I plan to go back to school and have Chapter 2 of MY career.  I haven’t even figured out that part yet. I’m kind of waiting for an “a ha” moment to strike me but nothing has happened yet.

Right now I’m still treading water and trying to keep up with the day to day responsibilities of being an awesome wife, mom, friend, and chauffeur.  I often wonder, is anyone else feeling like they’re treading water while wearing cement boots?

Siggy-Q

A Few Things I Hate About Parenthood

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids. I love them so much sometimes it hurts. I might be a little biased, but I think they are three of the coolest people ever. I also love being a mom… It’s hard though, damn hard, but with great rewards.

All that being said, there are a few parts of the job I could do without. I knew for the most part what I was getting into when I decided I wanted kids, and I knew it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Over the last few days, some of the downsides of parenthood have reared their ugly heads, and here they are to name a few.

1. Bodily Fluids: I can handle diapers and the gag worthy things that end up in them. Getting pooped on and puked on though, is just wrong. The other night Adam woke up crying shortly after I had put him to bed. He couldn’t seem to comfort himself, so I went in to check on him and found he had puked in his crib. Gross, but whatever. I was talking to him as I picked him up, and he projectile vomited into my mouth. Sorry if that’s TMI, but seriously the grossest thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m gagging again just writing about it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat mac & cheese again (which is probably a good thing).

2. The Guilt: Oh the mommy guilt. There’s nothing like some big blue eyes and crocodile tears to make me feel like the worst mommy ever. Lately my fuse has been a little short and this morning for no good reason I scolded Eli washing his hands for too long. Dumb, I know, but I was so irritated. After listening to the water run for what seemed like forever, I walked into the bathroom, slammed off the water, and screamed at him. After all, I’ve told him 4,826 times not to let the water run. Yes, it was an issue I had to deal with, but I totally overreacted. I screamed until I saw the tears well up. My sweet boy looked up, said “I’m sorry, Mommy. I love you.” Then wrapped his sweet little arms around me and squeezed me tight. Oy. The guilt makes my heart hurt.

3. Teaching Kids to Drive: Abby recently got her permit. In Iowa one can get their permit at 14, then it’s up to their parents to provide a minimum of 20 (documented) hours of driving instruction before they can take a drivers ed course to get their license. We of course started out in an empty parking lot, but still. Our first lesson took at least 10 years off my life. Driving opens up a whole new can of worms. I’m not even sure where to start.  Driving is dangerous with very expensive consequences! I’m not just talking about money, I mean lives! Driving means within a couple of years she will be able to take this giant machine out on the streets with lots of other giant machines full of bad drivers. Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. As our kids grow up, we constantly face new situations where we have to let them go be independent little by little. School, camp, sleepovers, etc. but for some reason driving seems different to me. And the process of teaching them to drive is so traumatic and awful…fearing for their lives as well as our own. Note to self… Don’t try to cut down on the amount of wine you consume while teaching your child to drive.

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Goals: The 50K Foot View

I’ll admit it, I’ve always had trouble with setting goals, especially ones at 50K foot view.  During interviews for jobs, I hated the question: “Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years?”  I always thought to myself: I have no effing clue.  I just need a job right now.  If I like it here, I’ll tell you later.  Career-wise, I’m still in the same purgatory today.  But I have a better sense of what I want to accomplish from that 50K foot view when it comes to my overall happiness, my marriage, and my kiddos.

Ryan and I met with a financial advisor on Monday to help determine our financial goals.  We decided on our end goals: retire at 55, have the boys’ college paid for, and travel comfortably for the rest of our lives.  I always had this preconceived ideas about saving that if we really wanted a comfortable life in retirement, that we would probably have to live very frugally in the meantime.  Our advisor asked us to be honest about our current spending, our current desires and our retirement goals.  Ryan and I both suffer from a bit of instant gratification syndrome.  After being single professionals for so long, we were able to buy, travel, and experience what we wanted when we wanted to. Living frugally now is one way to do it but I don’t think that we should deprive ourselves of important things (now) to save our money for when we can’t walk, travel or remember any of it.  Wait a minute, I hope I can still walk at 55, that’s less than 20 years away!  I digress.

In less than two years I will be going back to school for SOMETHING!!!  But, that is going to take money.  We had to factor that in our short term plan as well.  If all goes well, my schooling and subsequent job will be icing on the cake right?  The thought of what that will be is terrifying right now.  I don’t know what I want to DO!  I have toyed with the idea seeking a career advisor, life coach, whatever you want to call them.  When I mention this, many people say:” Oh you don’t need a life coach, you’re smart enough to figure it out on your own!” That may be partially true, but the truth is that I am paralyzed with fear about making the wrong decision and: failing.  What if we spend all of this money (that we don’t have, yet) on my school and then I fail? Or, even worse, what if I don’t like the job that I get, if I can even get one because the economy is still struggling…now you see why I’m terrified.  I have failed before, I have been fired before, but I don’t know if I can take it at this point.

In the meantime, I am volunteering, writing a blog, raising two kiddos, and trying to keep my brain from becoming complete mush.  Have you heard of Coursera?  Well, if you haven’t, you need to type Coursera into your browser or go to this link and check it out!  Name a top tier university in this country and they are part of Coursera.  They offer free online courses in many areas of study.  Now, you’re not going to get an undergraduate degree from Harvard through Coursera, but you can take a class online taught by a Harvard professor.  Fancy that!

So, try it out. I’m going to.  Sarah is going to do a whole piece on Coursera.  So stay tuned.  The meeting we had with our financial advisor made me really think about what it is I want for the rest of my life.  Besides the above-mentioned goals, I just want fulfillment professionally and I want to have fun and focus on the things that make me happy like: my husband, good wine and food, gardening, cute shoes, and the latest lip gloss.

Siggy-Q

My Love/Hate Relationship With My Baby Monitor

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am addicted to my baby monitor.

 

I have one of those Angelcare Movement & Sound Monitors.

 

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Great in theory.  It was given to us as a gift when we were expecting Eli… I had heard they were just the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Monitors breathing & movement and will signal an alarm if baby stops breathing? Sold! Like I said, great in theory, but not so much in reality.

 

Last night every time I would drift off to sleep, I would hear a loud BEEP alerting me that no movement had been detected for 15 seconds.  If nothing was detected for another 15 seconds, an alarm would sound.  The alarm would never come (thankfully) because my little Adam would “center” himself in his crib so the monitor could sense him.  Until about 5 minutes later. BEEP! Dammit! Every time I would hear that beep I would beg some higher being to please let him adjust himself and not let the alarm go off.  In my foggy state I argued with myself should I just go adjust him myself to stop this madness?  Well, the master bedroom in our house is on the first floor, the kids rooms are up on the second.  At 2AM, dragging my exhausted self upstairs seems like the end of the world. BEEP!  You have got to be kidding me.

 

As annoyed as I get with this thing, I can’t get rid of it.  It’s like mommy crack.  If I turn it off at night, I get so paranoid that I can’t sleep! Last time we went on vacation I left it at home, and every morning when Adam would wake up I would breath a huge sigh of relief that he had made it through the night.  Ridiculous I know, but I’m a mother… it’s my job to worry.  When I broke the baby monitor habit with Eli, it was one of the hardest things I have done.  I still (2 years later) feel relief when he gets up in the morning.  Will this feeling ever go away?

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Don’t you just love these beautiful wine glass charms?  They could be yours!  Click here for details!

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Be sure to enter to win by Saturday!

 

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