Apr 30, 2012

The Chase

She is bright, happy.  Her mouth begins a tentative smile, then bursts into a wide grin.  She laughs big and full, from deep within her belly.  She runs away into a different room, her steps more certain than a new walker, but not certain enough to avoid frequent trip-ups.  She squees with delight as she looks over her shoulder, making sure the game continues.  Curls bounce around her face and she sweeps them away with her two-year-old hand.

She stops, cornered by the wall, and spins around.  Waiting for the next move.  He growls and lunges, getting her in the tummy.  She flops her body to the ground as laughter floats through the house.

When he's done, she gets up running, stopping just long enough to look back.  "Get me, Daddy!" she calls to him.  And with a few of his steps she is on the move again, giggling and squealing.

She loves the chase.  She loves the games.  She loves the way her daddy will rough house and wrestle with her.

And me?  Well, of course.  I see the joy and I love it too.

Linking up with Elaine and Heather.

Apr 28, 2012

Not This Time

Project 365 week 17

Well, sorry to disappoint, but Adam will not be guest posting here this week.  (In case you hadn't already figured that out.)  I did, at one point, have him convinced, but then he realized all on his "to do" list this week and just couldn't add "post on Christine's blog" without putting himself over the edge.  I hold onto hope that he might still post in the future.

So, because I don't handle disappointment well, (that is, your possible disappointment and my own) I am currently in the process of finding another someone in my life to guest post.  Because even though I have no real reason to need this, I seem unable to let go of the idea.

In other news, Adam's week of vacation is coming to a close.  We are all bummed that he'll be back at work on Monday, but at the same time, it'll be good for me to get back into our regular routine.  I've learned that it is hard for me to be motivated to do much while Adam is home.  Even when he's working hard on projects, I unintentionally find myself with the attitude of "I don't want to do the dishes/fold the laundry/clean the house/insert other chore here" more than usual.  Mostly because he's home and I know he could do it instead of me.  I guess it feels like because he has a break from work I should get a break from my regular day-to-day activities.

Don't worry.  I tried not to take advantage.  And I will surly be back to my half-way productive self come Monday.

Right now we're all just basking in the glow from our family togetherness these past couple days.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Apr 25, 2012

Oh Happy Day

What a gorgeous day here.

With Adam off from work, and no school or activities to get to today, we had a whole open day for our family.  So we packed up a picnic, headed to a local state park, and enjoyed a hike.

At one point we realized we hadn't been hiking since Hope was a baby.  Which we both agreed is way too long ago.  And although I could hear the traffic from the freeway nearby, it still felt invigorating to get out in the fresh air and warm sun and explore the outdoors.

We saw at least ten deer, a big snapping turtle, a handful of ducks, a snail, and so many butterflies we lost count.  The animals were, of course, Hope's favorite part.

Paige's was probably the food.

We all had a good hike, even if the girls wanted to be carried most of the time and I did more than one body check for ticks.  (I may be a little paranoid about those pesky things.)

Today was my favorite day of the week so far.  And it's not even over yet!  (This is probably one of the only weeks I will be excited about that instead of bemoaning the fact.)

Happy Wednesday to you all.

Apr 24, 2012

Drink and Breathe

I am tired.  And because of that, when I speak, it comes out wrong.  Words are misunderstood, confused, not what I mean.

I would not trade this job that I have for anything.  I want to be here, doing this, staying home with my children.  But sometimes it is hard.  And the fatigue and lack of energy are overwhelming and I don't seem to be able to explain myself.  When I try, it is jumbled, sounding annoyed, upset, even spiteful.

I want to be here for the moments.  Every day.  But I have to remember those moments include non-stop whining, non-stop feeding, non-stop neediness.  Which is wonderful and oh-so-hard at the same time.

I try to explain.  Why I am worn down, even though there has been quiet this afternoon for at least an hour.  And I wonder, why doesn't it feel like enough?  Why does it sound so desperate?

The guilt comes, as it often does in these times.

We need something to break up what is sure to be a long evening.  So the girls play in the tub, even though they had a bath just this morning.  And I try to relax.  Take a drink of water.  A deep breath.

It helps for awhile, and then there is flour in the coffee beans, fighting, papers all over the floor.

Take another drink of water.  Another deep breath.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat as needed.

However many times it takes.  Because I know that eventually this rut will end and I won't need the drinks of water and deep breaths.  Until I do again.

On another note, my husband is still considering a guest post.  He's trying to think of a topic...

Apr 21, 2012

He Thinks I Should Do What!?

Project 365 Week 16

This week felt a bit monochromatic, even though it really wasn't.  Our days were filled with laughs and smiles: visiting friends, a trip to the zoo, an afternoon ice cream.  So, maybe it's me that's been feeling The Blahs more than anything else.

She took every crayon from our box of 64 and broke them.

On the plus side, Adam has next week off.  Even though Hope still has preschool, I anticipate this week to feel more break-ish than Hope's official spring break did.  That is, assuming I can convince my husband to spend some of the week doing family activities and not just painting the upstairs.

And she likes to wear her little sister's shoes which are obviously too small.

He suggested that I take a week off the computer while he's home.  I almost fainted.  I'm not sure I'd have enough oxygen to get me through the week without it.  (What?  Your computer doesn't breathe life into you?)

The ice cream snack.

Cue Becky, a blogging buddy, to the rescue!  Her idea:  I won't write blog posts this week, if Adam does.  He can be my "guest" poster.  I tossed the idea out to Adam today.  He's not convinced; I think it's fabulous.

Playing outside in the sun.

Regardless, it wouldn't hurt me to give myself a bit of a social media breather.  (That is not to suggest that I agree with my husband or won't be on the computer at all this week.)  I don't think it's unrealistic of me to get to catch up on my favorite bloggers while he's working on his projects.  Right?

This is how she plays Candy Land.

So, it will be a fun week.  But whether or not Adam will be writing here I can't say.  (The pressure's on, Honey.)

Wondering about the motion sensor light.

Have a wonderful weekend!  And...

Helping Daddy work upstairs

...stay tuned....

Apr 19, 2012

Ice Cream Patience

Oh my what a week it's been.  Not hard, exactly, but just ugh.  Heavy.

On Tuesday, or maybe it was only Wednesday, I decided that I want to focus on some happy moments.  I want to write about something fun and exciting from this week.  And it's not that there haven't been any good moments, I just haven't felt particularly joyous.  Or inspired.

Earlier in the week we skipped Paige's nap and devoured an afternoon snack of ice cream.  The girls licked their bowls clean, faces a mess with chocolate smears and blue and white sprinkles.  It dripped onto their shirts and pants, painted beards on their faces, and left streaks of stickiness in their hair.  Instead of bemoaning the mess I let it go and soaked up the joy in their smiles, the sparkles in their eyes.

Of course, I am now kicking myself for not at least pretreating the chocolate stains.  The brown splotches have yet to come out, and I'm beginning to think I've lost this battle.

But, that's a small price to pay.

I find that when I let things go, it all just seem to be easier, to go more smoothly.  Perhaps this is sort of a "duh" thought, but it's like I have to relearn this every couple weeks.  (Or months, if I'm lucky.  And days if I'm not.)  When I let go of the mess and the control, and my other hang-ups, my patience seems to increased tenfold.  I am more relaxed and I have more fun.  And I'm sure that, in turn, leads to more fun for the girls.  After all, it's more fun to let your ice cream drip down your chin, than to have Mommy wipe your chin after every bite.

Not that I would ever do that.  Err....

But I appreciate them, these happy moments.  Even if I don't always feel as joyous as I would like to.  Or think I should be feeling.  I know the more I can let go, the more frequent they will be.  And that would be good for us all.

Apr 18, 2012

Goodbye Dear Friend

Dearest Vacuum,

It is with semi-great sadness that we said goodbye to you this week.  You have been with our family from the beginning, purchased with money we received from our wedding.  Perhaps not the most romantic of gifts to give ourselves, your practicality won us over.

Although you were one of the cheaper models, you were in no way cheap, serving us for a good five and half years.  I think it was your violet hue that caught our eye that fateful day in Kohl's.

You have seen us through our first apartment, a move into a house, the birth of two children, and the chaos in it all.

My relationship with you might have been precarious -- filled with the joys of your ability to suck up all our messes, but my annoyance with having to clean up at all, plus you were a bit on the heavy side.  Still, you did good by us, and, up until the end, kept a lot of our secrets.  I am sorry I was not with you as you sparked your last breath and sputtered to an end.

Of course, it will not be the same without you, but we will move on.  And although we have no replacement for you yet, fear not, our house will not remain unvacuumed for long.  (After all, you know it can't, as we have carpet in our dining room and a two-year-old eating there.)  We will make you proud and find an easy, bagless, lightweight -- most likely, expensive -- vacuum to bring home.

Thanks for cleaning up our crap.

Christine and family

Apr 15, 2012

She Will Eat What She Eats

We sit at the dinner table, all four of us together.  One dinner prepared, but all of us eating different things.

Suddenly, Hope announces, I'm a picky eater.  Immediately I think of all the times Adam and I have talked about her limited diet, with each other, with our parents, with other parents.  And even though I think she is, I do not want her to think she is -- I fear Merton's self-fulfilling prophecy.

I tell her she is not.  And then "picky eater" must be defined, and to convince her she is not we list as big of a variety of foods that she eats as we can.  It does not feel like much.

We go around the table naming foods we each don't care for.  I am thoughtful and careful with my choices, mentioning two foods she already knows she likes so as not to encourage any more "dislikes-even-though-it-has-never-been-tried-s."

She almost sways herself into disliking maraschino cherries until I remind her of her ice cream sundae the night before.  The cherry stays safe on her "will eat" list.

The conversation moves onto other things but I hear her voice, echoing words she absolutely heard from our mouths.  And I know that we must let go.  Any frustration has to be released and discussions must be saved for when we are far away from little ears.

She is only four.  And I do not yet need to worry.  Her time of discovering new and delicious flavors will come when she is ready.  And not a moment before.

Apr 14, 2012

Scenes from the Week

Project 365 Week 15

Aside from preschool, we stayed pretty close to home this week.  Which seems to be causing some squirreliness from the girls, especially Hope, even though we've tried to be outside as much as possible.

Here are the scenes from our week.

Happy Weekend!

Apr 13, 2012

I Can Not Tell My Dental Hygienist the Truth

I do not floss every night.  In fact, it is probably less than the "almost every night" I tell the dental hygienist every six months when she asks.

And when my babies' smiles turned from gummy to toothy, I did not begin a flossing regimen like the experts/books/know-it-alls all advised.  Wrestling a child to just get her teeth brushed was enough of a bedtime hassle for me.

But recently I purchased some floss sticks.  Because before that I was too afraid (lazy?) to attempt sticking string and my big fingers inside little mouths.  They work well because they make flossing fun! for the girls and easy! (well, easy-ish) for me.

Although we haven't flossed in probably two weeks.  (Potentially even longer for me.  Yikes.)  We forgo the flossing on later nights when there's an eagerness - ours - to cut the bedtime routine short, which seems to be most nights lately.

I feel adequately guilty.  More so after tonight, when sweet Paige came running back into the bathroom asking, Fost?  And we responded with, Not tonight.

I laughed, knowing we should not be discouraging our two-year-old from healthy dental habits.  But I know also, like with most things, we do the best we can.  And some days that's flossing and other days (or weeks) that's skipping it.

Even if the only reason it is skipped is because Mommy's too tired.

So tomorrow I will try again.  Tomorrow I will attempt to start the bedtime routine early enough to take our time, and to have the time to floss.  And maybe I'll even be motivated to (or shamed into) flossing again too.

Apr 11, 2012


One day I am fine, good even, and then... I am today.

Today I feel broken into pieces.  Aching pieces.  Hurting pieces.

Paige takes a nap, I sleep, and Hope watches too much TV.  But I don't feel guilty about it.  Not today.  Today I just can't, even though I know she will be cranky when I turn it off, because she's always that way after being in front of a screen for too long.

I cry in the car, when the girls aren't with me.  I want to cry in the grocery store.  I want the world to know that I'm not okay.  But I want to hide.  Because I don't want the world to see my pain.

I know that I must verbalize what I need.  That I can not expect them to read my mind.  To know what I need if I do not tell them.

But I do not know what I need.

I need to get a night away, to curl up at home.  I need to talk about it, to be distracted.  I need to be surrounded, to be left alone.  It varies day-to-day, moment-to-moment.  I can never figure out exactly what it is I need, what I should be asking for.

Even though I know if I ask, they will give it to me.

Today it is hard.  I want to feel happy, to be happy, but I am not.  Because the doors of my loss were unexpectedly reopened, like they can be at any seemingly random time.

Today I feel broken.  Today I ache.

But tomorrow is a new day.  And maybe tomorrow will be much like today, but maybe it won't.  Maybe tomorrow will be less difficult, less painful, filled with fewer tears and more smiles.

Apr 10, 2012

Work It Out

I don't have a lot of memories of fighting with my sister.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sure we had our share of disagreements and even fights, I just don't recall anything specific.  I do, however, remember that the few times we went to my mom about them (few, I think because she established this precedent early on) her response was always, I don't want to hear it. Work it out yourselves.

And we must have.  Even though I don't remember what we did, we must have worked things out, because I don't begrudge my sister things from our childhood.  And although we now joke about which of us is the "favorite" daughter at any given time, we are not serious.  In fact, I never felt that my parents favored either of us.  Any comparing done was purely my own.

(Now before you tell me that, as the youngest, my memories might be different than my older sister's, I assure you that she and I have had discussions about this very thing.)

With two children of my own, I worry about this.  How do I make my girls feel equally important?  I do not want them to look back on their childhood and feel that one was favored more than the other.  To have memories of me taking sides.

I know that at two and four, they may be a bit young to "work it out themselves"; however, I do think I sometimes intervene too quickly and need to stay out of their arguments more often.

Because, really, what benefit am I giving my children by always jumping in?  My girls need to learn how to work disagreements out between themselves.  They need to gain the tools now so that they can use those tools later, in school, in the workplace, and in any relationship.

But I can promise you that when the time comes, I will take out my mother's saying and use it whenever I can.

Apr 9, 2012

A Work in Progress

We are redoing our upstairs.  Of course, what was supposed to be a relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself project has turned into more than we bargained for.  Such is the life of house projects, no?

Which means we have workers at our house, going on week two.  And I am starting to go crazy.

Last week we were stuck at home, and it was Hope's Spring Break.  Not that we would've gone on a trip to Florida or California or anything.  But it would've been nice to spend time out of the house.  Perhaps get to the zoo, the park, away from the mess that is currently taking over.

I am continually discovering that getting out of the house is just as much for me as it is for the girls (perhaps even more so).  My patience seems to be less accessible when we're at home all day.

Our schedule returns to normal this week, and I am hopeful that the workers will be out of the house by mid-week.  I am anxious to get the upstairs done, our house back to normal, and the girls back into their regular routines.  All of which will probably take more than a couple days (especially the "finishing the upstairs" part), but the sooner things calm down the better.

It will all be worth it in the end, I know.  The upstairs will look great when it is done.  I'm just looking forward to when "the end" is now.

Apr 7, 2012

Seven Days of Celebration

Project 365 Week 14

This week was filled with birthday joys of my second-born.  With our families over on Sunday to celebrate, gifts coming in the mail throughout the week, her actual birthday on Friday, and another little party thrown today by one of her aunties, Paige got a two-year-old's birthday extravaganza.

Hope has also benefited from the goodies, but of course was quick to point out that she did not have balloons tied to her chair for her party (a subject still up for debate) nor did we go out for a birthday ice cream cone on her birthday (which is true).  (You can stop laughing now, Mother.)

I decided to continue the Paige-themed week and include seven pictures of my newly turned two-year-old.

Party Day

The New Trike

Bubble Bath

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Three Favorite Times of Day
Ready for Play Time
Two Today

Rock Star

* I used PicMonkey to play around editing these photos. *

Apr 6, 2012

Two Years of You

Dear Paige,

Happy Birthday, my sweet Little P.

I am so happy and grateful for these past two years, for the love, the smiles, the laughter, the snuggles.  Even the tears.

I love you so much, my heart overflows.

You are a true joy in our lives.  Such a silly and goofy little girl, dancing, making faces, making up words to get us to laugh.

I love that you made us a family of four, and made Hope a sister.

I will sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" every night to you until you ask me to stop.  I will pick you up every time you say, "Hole Me".  I will kiss you, hug you, and love you forever and ever.

I wish for you to always feel our love, to always feel important and special.  To know the satisfaction of a full life.

Happy 2nd Birthday to my toddler, who will always be my baby.


Apr 4, 2012

My Safe Place

His body is snuggled close, a strong arm holds me tightly.

Whispered I love yous give way to slow, deep breaths, our hearts beating the same rhythm.

Our warmth, it is the warmth of love.

I relax and know, this is a safe place.

His comfort and tenderness and strength, I feel them all.

A conversation riddled with tears has ended.  Our connection closer now than when we started.

Our hearts, still beating the same rhythm.

He is my safe place.

Apr 2, 2012

Naps, Revenge, and an Evening Snack

Today, I am admitting to a few guilty pleasures.  Go ahead and judge.  But I know I'm not the only one on some of these things...

10 Guilty Pleasures

1.  "Revenge" on ABC.  The husband calls it smut, which it probably is, but I look forward to Wednesday nights and the drama it brings.

2.   Caribou Coffee.  Specifically a medium coffee cooler when the weather is warm and a medium milk chocolate mocha with a shot of hazelnut and no chocolate shavings when it's cold.

3.  Letting Hope play games or watch shows on the computer in the mornings so that I can sleep longer.  Usually until Paige wakes up.

4.  An evening snack.  Most often a bowl of ice cream.

5.  Nail polish.  I don't wear it often (unless it's on my toes in the summer), but I love the colors, bright, muted, glossy or matte.  And always want more.

6. Baby Name Wizard.  I enjoy looking up different names and different trends, even when we don't have a baby on the way to name.

7.  Naps.  Oh how I adore my naps.

8.  I can't do it anymore because she's too big, but when Paige was an infant I loved letting her take a nap on my chest.  In fact, she was so used to it that she didn't nap well otherwise.

9.  Journaling and writing.  Hence the blog.

10.  Reading.  Which I guess isn't necessarily "guilty" but sometimes I get so engrossed in a book that my children get ignored while I read all day.

Happy Monday!


Linking up with Stasha for Monday Listicles.