January 27, 2014

Chores I Loathe

Alternate Title: Why I'm the Worst Housewife Ever.

This morning I was faced with quite the dilemma. I had just washed some little kid laundry which included Finn's sheets as they were due for a washing (as are my sheets, but that would require me to put away the clothes that are currently on top of them). When I went to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer I realized that the dryer was still full of the previous load of little kid laundry I did. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. Do I just add the stuff from the washer to the stuff in the dryer and dry (re-dry) it all together? Or do I actually remove (and put away??) the stuff in the dryer first?

On one hand Finn clearly needed clothes. But on the other hand - did he really? I mean we weren't leaving the house anytime soon.

I decided to be a responsible adult and did in fact put away the clothes that were in the dryer and then dry the new batch of clothes (that will probably sit in the dryer until I do another load of laundry). Oh, and I got Finn dressed. Because I'm mother of the year.

Washing Finn's sheets also meant that I had to re-make the bed. Making his bed is one of my least favorite chores. It's in a corner, has the guard rail on the other side and his heavy and dense and therefore doesn't move easily because he's the most spoiled two year old ever gets to sleep on a Tempurpedic mattress (that we got FREE with our mattress! We tried selling it and didn't have any offers, otherwise there is no way my two year old would get to sleep on a mattress that took us nearly three decades to experience).

After I got his sheets back on and put him down for a nap, I came into the kitchen to clean up lunch. The crock pot, used to cook last nights dinner, is still soaking in the sink because that's another chore I hate doing - cleaning the crock pot. It's big and heavy and usually water goes everywhere in the process.

Another chore I hate: taking out the trash. But I braved the 43 degree weather and took it, and the recycling, out this morning. All this productivity after a long weekend of productivity.  On Saturday Roscoe tracked in some mud and it forced motivated me to clean up.  I vacuumed the carpet in the family room and play room and shampooed them. I even vacuumed and moped the kitchen and Finn helped me clean and wipe down the table and chairs.

Vacuuming doesn't bother me. But you know what does? Emptying out the vacuum. Because gross dirt and dust always manages to fall on the outside of the trashcan, or fall off the vacuum when you're putting it back together and then you need to vacuum again or pull a Monica on friends and take the dust buster to your vacuum.

Moral of the story - Roscoe better not step in any more mud or I'm putting him up for adoption and kids can sport underwear (or stay in their pajamas) as long as you need them to.

Now, I'm going to go hop in the shower and hope that when I come out someone will have tackled that crock pot for me.

January 24, 2014

Highs and Lows of the Week

As we were headed to the grocery store on Monday Finn kicked off his shoes. It's a new thing he's doing and it's driving me nuts. He started whining that the shoes he just took off weren't on his feet. I told him he'd have to wait until we got to the grocery store to which he replied, "wanna see the front end loader!" Our grocery store has been extending the parking lot so there have been a lot of construction vehicles. It was great while it lasted, but unfortunately that came to an abrupt halt on Monday when we got there and there weren't any construction vehicles (as they finished paving the lot). Already upset about the shoes (that he took off!), this only further soured Finn's mood. While we were shopping he continued to kick his shoes off. I told him if he did it one more time, they would stay off. Needless to say he wasn't thrilled when he discovered I wasn't kidding:

He cried the entire way home and got so spun up it took him awhile to settle down when we did get home. Ya know, when I needed to put groceries away and feed Mary who was awake and hungry by this point. I think this was his biggest temper tantrum to date.

After his epic meltdown, Finn took a three hour nap and afterward we went outside to enjoy the 70 degree weather. He was sweet and playful and most importantly, I no longer wanted to strangle him:

On Wednesday I had to go under general anesthesia to get a tooth implant put in. If only the Army would have taken care of this tooth way back when, it would have never gotten to the point of needing an implant. It would have also saved us $1091. Ugh.

When I came home after getting the implant put in, the florist showed up with a delivery. The oral surgeon's office had sent this nice plant with the note "We appreciate the opportunity to care for you" - talk about impressive! Miles said it is the most expensive plant we've ever owned. Valid point.

Totally unprompted, I caught Finn reading to Mary. I was making dinner and heard him chattering, so went to see what he was doing and saw that he was reading to his sister! I hurried back and grabbed my phone so I could record it. He even had the book propped up for her to see:


It was 27 degrees when we ran out to run an couple errands earlier today. I don't think it got above 40 degrees which I know would be considered warm for some of you right about now, but not those of us living in Texas! It even snowed! In Texas! Clearly Finn doesn't even know what to think of it:

The annoying part is that it is supposed to be back up in the 70's this weekend, but the back down to the 40's next week. Make up your mind, Texas!

This post bath fuzzy hair:

I don't know if this is a low or a high. On one hand, I appreciate that my kid doesn't really have a sweet tooth. But this is so very typical for him. I'll offer him an occasional cookie or brownie or something DELICIOUS and he wants nothing to do with it. Live a little, kid! You could use the extra calories Mr. I-wear-18-month-pants.


January 18, 2014

Sibling Similarities

As I was compiling pictures of Mary for my last post, I couldn't help but realize how some of her expressions are just like some of Finn's early expressions. I love seeing the similarities and find it fascinating how some siblings can look so much alike and others not nearly as much. I went back to some of Finn's early pictures and decided to put some side by sides together of the ones that stood out to me the most.

And then there are these two pictures. Which I love. But. . .

But I have a memory of holding Cale in that exact same position, wrapped in that exact same blanket, I just don't have a picture of it. I will always regret, and always desperately wish, that I had taken more pictures of our time with him. I wish that I could compare his early expressions to that of his siblings. Knowing that Finn and Mary have so many resemblances of one another, all the while being their own person, just makes me ache that much more for Cale. I wonder who he would have looked more like, and how unique he would have been. I know a few things and am grateful for that. But it's just not nearly enough and I feel that I'm always searching for him in his siblings, especially when they are infants.

I see more of him in Mary than I did in Finn. Mary's hair is more like Cale's - all of my children were born with lots of dark brown hair, but Mary has the most, and while hers is mostly straight, it has these slight waves in it that are more like Cale's. Finn and Mary both have a double crown in the back of their hair which makes me wonder if Cale did too. When I held him I didn't specifically look at the back of his head.

I also think Mary has Cale's lips (Finn seems to have gotten the most luscious of the bunch) and those close to me who have seen Cale's pictures have commented that they see a strong resemblance to Mary whereas I didn't hear that as often with Finn. 

Just as I did with Finn, I find myself searching for Cale when Mary sleeps. I gaze at her soft skin and sweet little nose and I look for the baby who came first. I'm so thankful for her and her individuality, but also so thankful for the moments when I catch glimpses of both her brothers. It has been my greatest joy to see the person Finley is turning into and I can't wait to experience the same with Mary. But I'll forever wonder who Cale would have become and forever wish I could have seen him grow from a beautiful baby into a beautiful little person.


January 16, 2014

A Very Mary Month

Our little girl is one month old today. Mary is a very sweet little baby. She's a great nurser, even better snuggler, and becoming more and more alert every day. I think she's hovering right at, or close to, nine pounds now and has already outgrown some newborn clothes and officially out of newborn diapers. I tried some cloth diapers today, but think we have some more chunking up to do before we are ready for those full time. She sleeps in about three to four hour stretches at night, and while I wish those were a bit longer, I'm grateful to have at least that. She still prefers for her legs to be scrunched up (which I love), has brown eyes that oddly enough seem to be getting lighter, and her hair, while hard to believe, has actually thinned out a little. She has a very strong neck and makes little grunts as she's falling asleep. She seems to be annoyed when she's swaddled initially, but dozes off to sleep more soundly as a result of it. 

I can't stop taking pictures of her - especially as I see how quickly she's changing. Below are pictures from the last several weeks when I've subjected her to little photo shoots. Fortunately, she's very patient when it comes to getting her picture taken. If she's anything like her father, that won't last long.

She's a delightful little baby who I can't imagine not having. It's been such a wonderful month and I hope for many, many more just like it.


January 13, 2014

Financial Fasting

I went to Target four times last week. Which meant that as of last night, Mary had more Target trips under her belt than her age in weeks.

That's kinda pathetic.

In my defense, two of those trips don't really count. I went on Monday, but forgot to bring an item I needed to return. So when I was in the area on Wednesday I just went to make the return and left as soon as I did. Then I went again on Saturday because Giada's cookware was 40% off on cartwheel (still is if you're interested) and they had an additional 25% off with their mobile coupons. We needed a new wok so I wanted to snag up this good deal. I also bought her cast iron dutch oven for $35 - score! But I realized the 25% off only came off the dutch oven and not the wok (which was the point of Saturday's trip in the first place) and since I had another 25% off coupon I got with my receipt, I took the wok back on Sunday to get it at the super discounted price.

Anyway, all this to say that I got a heck of a deal - but when I brag about these things to Miles all he hears is "I bought more crap at Target."

So it's really good that today I started a financial fast. I got the idea from Brooke who recently blogged about it and shared this NPR podcast about a 21 day financial fast. The idea being that for three weeks you can't buy anything that is not essential (groceries, medicine, etc) and you can't use your credit and debit card - you must pay in cash for any essential purchases.

I wanted to give this a shot as it will be interesting (potentially depressing) to see just where I am spending money that I really don't need to be. We are pretty good about tracking our finances closely anyway, but I think this will give me an even clearer picture of  what is truly necessary. It also is good because it requires that I really plan things out. For example, I can buy groceries, but I need to go with a more detailed list which will mean that I will need to do a better job meal planning so as to avoid buying food that we don't eat, or that's not essential (like ice cream - though the necessity of ice cream is probably debatable).

I know right now there will be times I will cheat. But I plan to track all those cheats/justified purchases so that I can tally up how much they cost during the three week period. Tomorrow I am mailing out a gift to a baby shower I'm unable to attend. I made the gift so it didn't cost me anything, but the postage to mail it will and that isn't essential. So little things like that will be little cheats I'll have to track and try to limit.

I'm also cheating by not letting this impact Finn. We go to open gym once or twice a week and it only costs $5 for an hour and a half. Sure it's not essential, but I'd say that getting out of the house and letting him burn off some energy is essential to my sanity and you can't put a price on that!

I'm interested to see if we have a little extra money this month when the three weeks are up, but mostly curious how this will impact my future spending habits.

So for the next three weeks - please don't talk to me about any good deals or cute finds at Target, or anywhere else for that matter.

Also, I went ahead and bought ice cream yesterday before the fast started. Just thinking ahead.


January 8, 2014

On Not Knowing the Gender

When we were pretty sure we were going to wait to find out the gender of our baby, I sought advice from a few friends who had done the same. My friend Brooke, who waited with her second, had mentioned that while she's so glad she waited, it's sometimes hard for her to picture that the daughter she has, was the same baby she was pregnant with and I feel like I can understand that a lot more now.

Despite the stress and the anxiety (and ugh - the physical discomfort), I did love my pregnancy with Mary. Only it didn't feel like it was my pregnancy with her so much as my pregnancy with a baby. And I loved that baby. I loved the kicks and the crazy movement (she was a very active one!). I loved witnessing my body provide for another child (something I will never take for granted), and I loved hearing the baby during my NSTs and seeing the baby on the ultrasound (though I didn't look at them too much out of fear I'd accidentally see boy/girl bits). My pregnancy with her was special and there will be aspects of it I'll miss (the inability to roll over at night and stabbing crouch pain not being among them).

I wanted to document my time with this baby, just as I had done with Cale and Finn. A big part of that is people always say "you don't take as many pictures with the second one" and I feel like I've already proved that stigma wrong - because Finn is my second child and I did take as many pictures during my pregnancy with him as I did with Cale. So it's only fair that I do the same for the third child.

 When I look back on my pregnancy pictures with Mary it's almost strange to think that we didn't know who she was. I waffled back and forth between thinking we were having another boy, and thinking she was a girl. I feel like I carried just the same as I had during my other pregnancies and didn't feel much different physically. I never had strong mother's intuition, and often would tell people when they asked what my guess was, that I thought 55% girl, 45% boy. I had five vivid dreams of delivering a baby. Four of those times the baby was a girl. The Chinese Gender chart said I was having a girl, but almost all of my ultrasound techs and nurses would refer to the baby as a "he" during my appointments (none of them knew). The woman who gave me a pedicure shortly before delivery was sure I was having a boy, but clearly my two year old knew best.

The morning of my induction I could not sleep. I took a shower at 4am and I talked to my baby for the last time in utero. I rubbed my belly and I said, "I think you're a girl. I could be wrong, but I don't care as long you come our healthy and screaming. Hang in there baby, a little bit longer."

And later that night when she came out - healthy and screaming - we were overcome with what was hands down one of, if not the, best surprises I've ever had. I'm so glad we waited, and am so glad we have this little girl.


January 4, 2014

M is for Mary; Choosing a Name

One of my favorite parts of having a baby is getting to come up with a name. I'd have to have about a half dozen more kids to use all the names I love . . . and that's certainly not going to happen. When pregnant with Cale, the front runner for his name was Henry. But then Miles suggested Cale and I loved it. I was (am) crushed when it became a name we wouldn't get to use. At least in the way we wanted. But I'm so glad that my boy who got so little was at least given a name that we loved so much.

I've mentioned before that Finley (also a name Miles thought of) was originally going to be Finley Sears. But after Daren was killed, and Finley arrived safe and sound, it just felt right to carry on Daren's name with his nephew.

Since we didn't know the gender the last time, it made picking names a little different. I'm sure we could have had one boy and one girl name, but we just felt like we wanted a couple options - to wait and see what we had first, and what he/she looked like.

We had narrowed our selection to a few we kept coming back to so I stuck these post its on my bathroom mirror a few weeks before giving birth. My mom did this when she was pregnant with me and my siblings as it forces you to look at the names several times a day. In order to ensure Miles also saw the names several times a day, I stuck post its on the back of the bathroom door.

Harrison, which is Cale's middle name, was my top boy choice for a long time, but near the end of my pregnancy I started to like Branson, which is my middle name, more. Miles was also leaning towards Branson so we are pretty sure that if we had another boy, his name would have been Branson Cale.

The two girl names we loved the most were Mary and Isla. I love Isla and think it's a beautiful sounding name. Pronounced Eye-la (like how you say Island), I was worried she would always be correcting people - "it's not is-la, it's eye-la." I also didn't want people to try and put a Hispanic flare on the name since our last name is Hispanic. I wanted Isla, not "Eis-lah." But reservations aside, I still loved the name.

When Mary surprised us by being a she, we waited a little bit before deciding her name. But honestly, when I first saw her, I just felt she was a Mary. Mary is also my mom's first name, though she's always gone by Mary Ann. Adelaide, is her mom, my grandmother's, name. She passed away when I was ten. Adelaide is a girl name I've always loved and the combination of the two - Mary Adelaide - just felt perfect, especially for our little girl.