Jun 30, 2012

Find Me A Place With Perfect Temperatures And I Am There

Oh my goodness, the heat this week is kicking my butt.  Turns out, as much as I'm not a frigidly freezing sub-zero temperature kind of girl, I'm also not a muggy heat and humidity kind of girl either.  How the heck did I end up in Minnesota where there is both!?

(Also, is there a place that is in the seventies all year round with zero humidity?)

We've been swimming a couple times this week.  And please ignore the two pictures of my daughters playing on the iPad.  Oh, and the computer.  I swear it's totally a rare occurrence.  (Maybe...)

Project 365 Week 26

I have been feeling much better too, thanks to getting off the medication that was making me crazy.  (Or just making my depression flair up.  Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to.)

Of course, life wouldn't be life without a few bumps.  We're currently struggling with bedtime over here.  Something that seems to happen at least a couple times per year.  I am taking any and all suggestions.

And I had my yearly visit to my doctor this week.  Yes, the ever-lovely and eagerly-anticipated pap smear.  Not my favorite day for various reasons.

But now it is the weekend.  We are eating ice cream.  We are watching movies.  We are going for sweaty family walks at State Parks.  It's perfection.

Happy Weekend!

xoxo.
Christine

Jun 29, 2012

Reminders of What is Not

I had my annual visit with the gynocologist this week.  The last one I had was, obviously, a year ago.  A week after that I found out I was pregnant.  And five days after that I found out I was miscarrying.  So you'd think that knowing that, I would've been more prepared.

I should have a three month old right now.

The whole visit was a punch in the gut.  Walking into the waiting room I felt like someone knocked the wind out of me.  Bellies of various sizes and six week old babies accompanying mothers to postpartum check-ups surrounded me.

The clinic staff should recognize me from all my prenatal visits.


In the exam room, shivering in a paper gown, I held back tears.  I hated being there.  It felt oppressive and even cruel.

I should be talking to the doctor about trying for our third.


My new doctor came in.  We chatted, joked around, discussed normal annual exam stuff.  We did not talk about having another baby.

Why can't we be ready for another baby?


The whole outing didn't last long, but driving home I felt exhausted.  I am happy for my pregnant friends.  I truly am.  But yesterday after my appointment I had a strong dislike for all the other pregnant woman out there.  (Which I know isn't fair.  And I feel guilty admitting that I felt it, even if it was only for a moment.)

I want another baby.


Maybe by next year, it will be easier.  Maybe by next year, we'll be in a different place.



xoxo.
Christine

Jun 27, 2012

Keepin' Cool

We have a heat advisory here.  The combination of temperatures in the nineties and dew points in the seventies makes it feel between 100 and 110 degrees.  I kid you not.

So we did what any good midwesterner does when it's too hot to move.


We took our bodies to a near-by watering hole to cool off.


I wasn't actually up for the big pool, which is just fine because this wading pool is free and the girls love that it doesn't get deep.


And now we are home in the comfort of our a/c, all resting and recovering from our morning in the sun.


 Stay cool.

xoxo.
Christine



Jun 26, 2012

Some Day My Kids Will Fall Asleep Before Ten O'Clock, Maybe

The bedtimes over here are getting ridiculous.  Glennon Melton of Momastery, likened bedtime to the game Whack a Mole, and I can't think of a better analogy, except that we have one little mole who just keeps popping up over and over and over in the same place despite being bopped on the head (figuratively, of course) numerous times.  Our other little mole is stuck in her hole (thank goodness for cribs), but what she lacks in mobility she more than makes up for in volume.

It has been pretty ugly here.  We have tried bribery (hey, when it comes to Mama's down time at night, I'm not past promises of an extra book the next day), and threatening (not surprising it does not help her calm down and fall asleep when we take away stuffed animals or books), and pretty much everything in between.

We talk about bedtime during dinner and why it is so important for a body to get rest.  That it's okay to take awhile to fall asleep once in bed, but we need to stay in bed to give our bodies a chance to calm down and sleep.  That she will feel less tired and emotional (read: cranky) the more sleep she gets.

Last night was the first attempt at the Nanny 911 method.  A friend suggested what she'd seen on the show, just gently taking them back to bed over and over with no verbal exchange at all.  I can hardly say it was a success on the first night (although my husband's hope was renewed), but I certainly stayed more calm than I have on other nights.

Most of the time, before I even had a chance to lift her up and carry her, she would run back to her bed herself as soon as she saw me stand up.  Still, it was a little bit heartbreaking when she'd try to talk with me and ask me questions and I stayed silent.  Especially when she cried a little and told me, "You leave the room so fast!"

When I think about it, we deal with something like this once or twice a year.  Somehow, at some point, there is a major shift and bedtime almost feels impossible.  But I want Hope to have an easy bedtime.  And I want to have time to relax and unwind before they are finally asleep at ten o'clock at night.

I am struggling to find a balance between giving her reassurance and what she needs, and not letting her play me like a cheap little dollar-store instrument.

Tonight is night two of Operation Get This Girl To Stay In Her Bed.  May the sleeping fairies sprinkle a multitude of dreamy dust in the room at the end of the hall.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Bedtime is a bear, but she sure is a sweetheart.


xoxo.
Christine

Jun 25, 2012

Slowly Feeding My Fire

There is a quiet in the house.  I wrap that quiet around me and settle onto the couch.  A summer breeze of fresh-mown lawns and sunshine tickles my skin through the open window.

What a difference a week can make.  (Technically more than a week since that post.)  I am more calm.  I am more relaxed.  I have less anger.  And less emotional instability.  It is still early, this I know, but there is a hope within me that has been lit anew.  A flickering candle that I know can grow into a fire (the good kind) in my soul, if given the right kindling.

A month ago I was on the edge.  Self-doubt and disappointment crumbling the ground beneath me.  Fatigue, beating me down.  All of it snuffing out my flame.  Making me feel like a failure.

But I am not a failure.  I am a warrior.  I am a mother.  And I am doing a good job.

These thoughts, these beliefs, they surround me.  A layer of protection against myself.  And with that, I gather the girls to feel summer on our cheeks.  To run around outside, our bare toes in the grass.











xo.
Christine

Jun 24, 2012

It's What We've Been Doing

Here's a glimpse into our last two weeks.

Time in Duluth, a Bike Rally, a trip to Target.

Week 24


Swimming, cookie decorating, lunch with Daddy.

Week 25

The weather is beautiful here today, and I'm breathing it in.

Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

xoxo.
Christine

Jun 22, 2012

A Memory Captured

Summing up the visit with my husband's parents last weekend:









xoxo.
Christine

Jun 20, 2012

To My SIster


Dear Sister,

I miss you.  I wish that I lived just down the street from you and we could meet for weekend strolls through Central Park with the girls, and for dinner at the corner Indian place for some malai kofta.  Or that you lived down the street from me, and the girls and I could strap on some helmets and ride bikes on over.  Or at least hop in the car for a quick trip from our suburbia to yours.  You and Yours could come over on a Friday after a long work week and enjoy some grilling and beers.  Even though neither of us eat meat or drink beer.

I know that I am lucky.  That even with the distance, I do not have to worry about my girls feeling uncomfortable with you.  That they must sense our closeness because they so easily climb into your lap and attach themselves to you no matter how long it has been since your last visit.

And you live somewhere that is different and exotic for us Midwesterners, so when our girls visit for the first time everything will be new and exciting.  And I love that, even though I’d much rather you live a closer and duller life near me.

But, I see my nieces and nephews with their mother’s sister and I am sad for me.  For us.  For my girls.  I want them to grow up around you.  To know you like I do.  To get to experience the fun special auntie time on a regular basis.  I wish you could take Hope out to a movie.  Or Paige to the park.  I wish the four of us could have special sister dates.

(Not to mention I wish that you and I could have more frequent sister dates.)

I miss you.  Did I mention that already?  And I know the girls do too.  Or at least Hope does, because she told me.  But I'm sure Paige does too.

So do you think you could work on finding a job near us?  That'd be great.  In the mean time I will continue to fill you in on our life details, whine about how far away you are, and save my pennies for trips out to visit.

I'm gonna need a lot of pennies.

Love,
Your Favorite Sister

See how much fun we have here?


Jun 18, 2012

A Jar of Apricot Marmalade


I knew, even before taking one step inside, what it would do to me.

Walking through the door a gust of nostalgia hit me.  Smells of fresh breads and raw meat knocked me back like a title wave.  I don't even eat meat, but the aroma felt like a fuzzy blanket wrapped around me.  I didn't even know I was shivering.

A long glass case filled three walls, with more variety than I've seen at any butcher shop.  Rows of sausages jumbled together, three different types of head cheese, cuts of meat I never heard of.  A tightness rose to my chest, but not the usual how-disgusting-I'm-going-to-be-sick tightness.

Along the front window were multitudes of yellows, greens and browns.  The mustards, soups, and seeds from far away places.  Brands from my childhood I forgot existed flashed out at me.  The girls fought over the different candies.  Who knew gummies came in multicolored frogs and fish and double cherries stuck together?

When I saw the jars I froze.  This, I was not expecting.  The white label was hauntingly familiar.  I gingerly picked up the apricot to examine it closer.  Product of Austria.  Tears made of memories filled my eyes.  Breakfasts with my grandmother.  The sweet taste of schwarzbrot and butter mixed with the tangy, bright-orange marmalade.  I wanted to hold that jar forever.

Snippets from my childhood were there, and my heart ached to be there.  Not there in the store, but the There of my childhood.  Where a jar of apricot marmalade was an every-day breakfast, not a distant and bitter-sweet memory.

I did not want to leave.  But we had to go.  Like always.  We can not stay in one place forever.


xo.
Christine






Jun 15, 2012

Fathers


It was a moment nine months in the making.  Maybe even more.  A moment after a long night of timing and breathing, walking and crying.  After restlessness and anticipation.

Naturally, I was focused on the task at hand.  So much so that I almost missed it.  The muffled sobs to my right drew me out of my concentration to my husband’s face.  A face with hazy blue eyes and leaking tears.  A face of joy and awe and love.  The face of a father.


******


Bumbling.  That’s what he called it.

The only time I’ve ever seen him cry was at the birth of our first daughter.  And I would have completely missed it, had he not “bumbled.”  I would have missed not just his tears, but also his joy, his first moment into fatherhood.


******


I can not imagine being on this journey of parenthood without my husband.  He is so many wonderful things, especially father to our children.

Happy Father’s Day, Adam!


******


And to my father, who filled my childhood with good books, good travels, and good memories.  Who gave to me a passion for always learning more.  Happy Father’s Day, Papa!




xo.
Christine

Jun 13, 2012

Right Now

Last night, in the safety of darkness I published a post admitting my depression (diagnosed in college).  And then this morning I removed it.  If I am talking with a person one-on-one and the topic comes up, I am open about my mental illness.  But the thought of telling a group of people (or the internet) kind of makes me want to throw up.

Why say anything then?

I like writing here.  And right now, because of my emotional health, I can't fake it.  I can't write about happy and joy and good feelings.  Trust me, I want to.  I want to write it, I want to feel it, but I just can't.  So if I'm going to be here (and I need to be here), then I have to be honest with what is going on and how I'm feeling.  (Even if it makes me want to lose my breakfast.)

Part of the anxiety about sharing is the possibility of judgement, which is a lot less scary when I'm chatting one-on-one.  And part of it is that, honestly, my depression is usually managed.  Most of the time I truly am fine.  And I hate the idea of any time I have a bad day (or even a bad moment) someone thinking, "Uh oh, she's spiraling down," or "She totally needs to see her therapist," or something like that.

Most of the time a bad day is just a bad day.

But, because of how I am doing right now, I have to be open.  I am not doing a good job of pretending to be fine.  So instead of writing my feelings and emotions here and causing my friends and family to worry that I need to seek help and I'm unaware of it, I am making it clear that I already do, I already am.

I know that at this moment I am not in a good place.  But I also know that very soon I will be, I can be.  And I'm doing the necessary things to make that happen, right now.


Jun 11, 2012

Mud Soup

Hope has recently discovered a love for mud.  Thus we made some mud soup the other day.

Ingredients needed:

A beautiful day



Dirt



Water (to add to dirt to create mud)



A willing and able chef




Instructions:

Let the little chef go to town and...





Voila!



A muddy delicacy!
This recipe can be used for mud soup, mud pies, mud pancakes, or just about any other mud creation.




xo
Christine

Jun 9, 2012

It's a Short One

Project 365 Week 23


One of my favorite joys from Little P this week is the way she has combined Oopsie Daisies and Uh-oh Spaghetti-o.  Uh-oh, dah-daisy-oh.

One of my favorite joys from Hopey this week is how much she loves snuggling with me.  Every night she wants me to lay in bed with her.  She's a snuggler after my own heart.




You can find more joys here, here, and here (if interested).

Happy Weekend to all!

xo.
Christine

Jun 4, 2012

Being Here

I am trying to open my eyes.  And keep them open.  Some days I am great, other days I stink.  Sometimes within the span of a day, or even hour, I am great and I stink and I'm everywhere in between.  It can be hard, especially in my moments of frustration and anger when my mind is telling me to calm down, relax, and it's not a big deal.  And even though I hear myself, even though I'm listening, the anger continues and I don't calm down and suddenly along with the frustration with the girls there is the frustration with myself.  Accompanied by a large helping of guilt.  Because I heard myself, I really did, so why did I yell and allow my emotions to escalate?

I know I am here, where I'm supposed to be, where I want to be.  This role is mine and I can own it or fight it.  I don't want to fight it.  So it is up to me to be happy, to be satisfied.  It is up to me to let go.  It is up to me to be the kind of mother and wife and person who is most important to me to be.

I can't stop thinking about the things that aren't important and the things that are.  Life.  What I find most important to pass on to my children.  And to remember that the coupons ripped up and scattered on the floor, and the driver who just cut me off, are not the important things.  Are never the important things.  I want to always remember that we are important.

I want to hold onto and squeeze my girls and my husband.  But it can be exhausting trying to always keep that, the feeling of enjoying every moment and letting go of the things that don't matter.  But I'm trying.  Because I want to keep my eyes open.

I want to see every smile and feel every kiss.  I want to be grateful for every snuggle and touch from little hands.  I want to feel lucky for every giggle, every tantrum, every stubborn moment, and every attitude.  Because at least that means they are here.  That I am here.

And here.  Right here.  Is where I want to be.


xo,
Christine


Linking up with Just Write.

Jun 2, 2012

Weekly Joys [the third]

Project 365 Week 22


This week I am combining the images from Project 365 with Joys I have started documenting.  I know that neither of these are "popular" posts, but I like having the memories (in photo and word form), especially to share with my sister.

*****

When talking about how families come in all different shapes and sizes (ie. some kids live with a mom and dad, two moms, etc.) the Big One chimed in with, And some with a Grammy and a puppy.  Do you think she's obsessed with dogs?


When the Little One presses her hands over her eyes and says, Where's me?



When I bought the Big One some vitamin gummy bears and her eyes lit up and she said, You're the bestest, Mommy... [pause]  And Daddy's the bestest too.



When the Little One says, Ehtooze me, as "excuse me."


How the Big One says, Oo-sually, instead of "usually."


How the Little One has started talking with her hands and shoulders in an "I don't know" position in emphasis.




How the Big One calls weeping willows, Hairy Trees.


*****

These are the moments my heart expands in my chest, the moments Adam and I give each other a knowing look and smile, the moments of head-throwing laughs.  These are the moments I want to hold onto with love, the moments to remember with sweetness.

Thanks for letting me share them with you.



xo,
Christine