Friday, October 9, 2009

Playdate Shmaydate

Kate and her "best friend" Molly are in the same preschool class with another neighborhood boy named Jack. Since Molly and Jack are both youngest children, when they are in school their moms have actual free time. So they arranged when school started that they would take turns - on Wednesdays one would drive to preschool and then take them home for lunch and a playdate. The other would take Fridays. I was offered to take part. I am reluctant, to put it lightly.

First of all, since they have Weds/Fri, I believe the assumption is that I could take Mondays, but we have a playgroup Monday mornings we've been doing for nearly 3 years (although now just Miss E and I go). The last thing I want to do is have that whole day taken by obligations. Also, since I have orchestra on Sunday nights, I often spend Monday afternoons trying to get the house back in order after a weekend of less-than-impeccable cleaning habits.

Secondly, I am a big believer in harnessed car seats. Kate's will allow her to sit harnessed until she's 65 lbs., and I don't care if I have to wrestle her 7-year-old body into that chair, I will. They are the safest way for children to ride in a car. These moms aren't moving car seats around - they are just using booster seats with shoulder belts - even though our kids are still just a bit too young and small to use booster seats. When it comes down to it, I don't think I'm quite ready to let someone else drive my kid. Heck, I haven't even let her grandparents do that, yet.

Thirdly, I don't want to sacrifice a big part of a day each week to take care of those kids so their moms can have some kid-free time. I guess that's in part because I wouldn't get the same benefit. I don't get kid-free time - I still have Elizabeth around. I'd rather have Kate here Weds/Fris than do this rotation. When it's just my kids, I can still get things done. I can clean, do exercise, do laundry. I can live my life. With three 3-year-olds I will be busy the whole time making sure they don't destroy the house. It's an afternoon gone every week.

Last, but far from least - I'm not in such a hurry to "get rid" of Kate. She's already apart from me 3 mornings/week - that's a big change for us. This would add 2 days/week when she would be gone several more hours. She's not even four! I left my career to be home with her - to make her lunches and just be there. It makes no sense to me that 2 days/week she'd be 5 houses away while someone else feeds her - and I'm right here feeding Elizabeth. It's already going so fast - why speed it up even more?

I've made a lot of arguments against it. The big argument for it? Kate wants to go. They very kindly offer for Kate to come over for the "playdate" portion of the day, but I don't feel I can let her do that without reciprocating. And Kate really, really wants to go. She wants to play with kids all afternoon - even though when she does she is overstimulated and CRANKY. I feel like a totally selfish and mean mama that I don't want to have her friends over here all the time (at this age - later, I hope they practically live here). I feel sort of stuck on this.

So, friends, tell it to me straight. Do I need to get over myself, and have these kids over? Do I need to chill on the whole driving/booster thing? Am I entitled to think that 3 days of preschool is enough time away and it's OK for Kate to have the down-time at home?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yep, 'cause that's what I really need

My mom is sending me links to quack diet programs. Subtle, eh?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flip-ing Out

Got my new Flip MinoHD video camera yesterday. It's my birthday present. I know my birthday is in December, but this way I have it to take to Hawaii!

If you don't know what it is, you should really check it out here. It's awesome.

So be prepared for some video clips here and on Facebook.

Here's my first clip:
video

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Come again?

I just told Pete, "I'm like a gay man in a woman's body."

It really made sense at the moment.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Up-Date

Guess what? I like my husband! And he likes me, too!

I know that seems like a silly thing to say, but I must admit to having been a bit of a basket case the last couple of weeks. Pete shares little in terms of personality with his father. Regardless, having his dad leave wife #3 did give me panicked moments wondering when I'm going to come home someday and learn that Pete doesn't want to be married anymore.

It's wrong for me to doubt Pete like that. He certainly doesn't deserve it. It unquestionably annoys him. But sometimes having so much divorce in his family gets to me.

But I had a revelation on Friday that I think put those insecurities to rest. We must have a good relationship - because there's no way I would be THAT excited go to out with him if we didn't! And he was just as excited! It was like we were actually DATING again!

We got Elizabeth to bed first (Dana probably isn't quite up to dual bedtime yet) and then took off. A brief stop at CPK (right next to theater) for our favorite spring rolls and a beer and then off to the movie.

Star Trek was really quite good. I must admit to being a bit of a Trekkie. I had three geeky older brothers who introduced me to the first series. Then in high school, when Carrie was out on actual dates, I spent WAAAY too much time watching The Next Generation in my basement with Jared. Pete and I watched Enterprise when we were dating. I don't own any costumes, but am far from the uninitiated.

But I think even someone without these experiences would like this movie. It reinvigorates the whole Star Trek concept. The actors playing Kirk and Spock did a fantastic job of bringing in nuances of the originals without stepping into mimicry. The supporting characters provided much-needed comedic relief to an intense plot. Frankly, one of the better movies I've seen in awhile.

We were still home before 11 - and early night for the old folks - but it was probably the most fun we've had on a date in a long time. Now we just have to decide what to do THIS weekend!

As an aside - I let Kate put lip gloss on, and she is trying to talk without touching her lips together. Try it. It's pretty funny.

Huh?

Has anyone noticed that the "boy" cow on Back at the Barnyard has udders?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Date Night!

Pete and I have a date tonight!

Since we had Kate, we've not been terribly good about such things. I really didn't want to leave her - almost ever - until Elizabeth was born. I don't know if that was brought on by our struggle to have her, or by the three months I had her in daycare. All I knew was that being away from her caused me physical pain.

Somehow, with Elizabeth in the picture, that went away. Maybe I mellowed out. Maybe I just trust the world in a way I didn't before. I think part of it is likely just that I'm not leaving them "alone" - they have each other. But either way, I've been itching to get out more lately. I've been wanting more time to focus on Laurie the Person instead of just Laurie the Mom.

Add to that the very real evidence we've had at what happens if you don't nurture your marriage, and I couldn't get a date planned soon enough! Thankfully, my niece Dana is eager to earn spending money for our family trip this year. Tonight we'll do a quick dinner and catch the new Star Trek movie. Next week I'd like to just do a more sit-down dinner and just talk. We haven't had "dates" two weeks in a row in over three years! I'm so excited!

John Deere

I mowed the lawn last night. Ahhhhh. I mowed our lawn growing up (and a couple neighbors' for a few summers) and I always enjoyed it. I love tuning out and enjoying the fresh air and smell of the grass. I love the instant gratification. I love singing my heart out and knowing no one can hear me (yes, they can see me, but I try not to think about that). When I was a high-schooler, it was something my dad actually let me do - and thought I was good at it. Taking care of the yard was one of the very few things I was totally entrusted to do. It makes me feel free and young and alive and competent.

Pete's been working a ton lately, so I wanted to do this to try to take something off of him. We're a team, so if his workload is higher, then mine needs to be, too. My goal was to do this so he could spend more time with us on the weekend. Little did I know that I would be transported back 15 years in the first five minutes. I am reclaiming my seat on the John Deere.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cariboo

Kate's "best friend" Molly came over for a play date this morning. They are only 11 days apart in age and they play together really well. Today we all sat down to play Cariboo. Molly doesn't have this game, so she always wants to play it here. I, however, try to avoid it because I go crazy that she still doesn't seem to get the game. (I know, control-freak much, Laurie?)

Anyway, we were playing again today and Molly was just going through and opening the little flaps without drawing a card first. I kept reminding her to "Draw a card, Molly, draw a card!" when Kate looked at me and said, "Why are you being so mean, Mommy?"

"Mean?" I asked, incredulously. I thought my tone of voice was OK, I was really just being a nag more than anything.

"Yes, you're being mean about making Molly draw a card."

"I'm sorry, honey. I was not trying to be mean. Molly doesn't have to draw a card if she doesn't want to."

"Okay. That's better."

And more than my shame at the fact that I was bullying little Molly, I was flooded with pride. Not only did Kate sense I was getting frustrated, but she called me on it. She stood up to me to protect her friend.

So how can I tell her to always do that? Always and forever?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A very depressing thought

Dinner went fine tonight. He mostly played with the girls while I fixed dinner, and then Pete got home. I wonder if he hears the crickets chirping when he tells us some other "awful" thing about her. We don't want to be unsupportive, but we just don't know what to say. He seems to be doing well, though, and that's the most important thing.

One of the hardest things for me about this whole situation is that the entire M clan barely seems to care that this woman won't be part of the family anymore. I think they've been together 10 years - they've been married 7 1/2 - and not a single person seems to care she'll be gone.

The same thing happened when Pete's sister got divorced a few years ago. I thought it was just the guy. But now the same (non)reaction about Marilyn. In fact, in both cases the family almost seems glad that they're gone. With so much divorce in the family (only his grandparents and one aunt/uncle have NOT been divorced) perhaps it's to be expected.

As someone who married into the family, it literally makes me sick to my stomach to think that they would react this way if it were me. I think of them as my family - I genuinely care about them and enjoy seeing them. Would I just get a half-hearted shrug, too?

Dinner

Jim's coming over for dinner tonight, and I begged Pete to try to be home early so I didn't have to be "alone" with him for too long. Don't get me wrong - I love my father-in-law. But I just don't know what to say. What do you say to a grown man going through his third divorce? Whose wife claims to be totally taken unawares? There are plenty of things I could say, but probably none I should. (repeating to myself: "This is not my problem.")

Jim tries to explain to us what happened, and most of his "reasons" are the little things. The peccadilloes we all learn about when we live day-in/day-out with someone. My personal opinion, he just decided he didn't want to be married anymore. And I don't know if that's a good enough reason to walk away. But there's no way to really know what that marriage was like, so I'm really trying not to make assumptions - trying to withhold judgment. That's so hard for me to do.

After Marilyn's son's abuse via Facebook last week, I de-friended them both, and asked Marilyn to stop emailing me. If by some miracle they reconcile that may be tough to explain, but I just needed to get out of it, and fast. I haven't heard anything from them since, thank God.

This whole thing gives me a pit in my stomach.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Overheard

Singing along to the Beatles -

"I get by with a little help from muffins."

Oh, honey. Don't we all.

Pillow Talk

"Mommy, can we be mamas together? Oh. No, I can't be a mama, I'm too little. But when I grow up I'm going to be a mama!"

"Oh! That's great, honey. Being a mama is a wonderful thing."

"Or... maybe I could be an ice cream truck driver. Then I could give out ice cream to other children and eat some, too!"

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shafted

Good thing I am so grateful for being a Mom.

Because I got totally shafted today. No gift, no card, nada.

Oh, I got to sleep in an extra hour, during which time Pete cleaned the kitchen. I guess that counts for something?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Juuuuuust Great

Now I'm getting chewed out publicly by Marilyn's son on Facebook. (well, me, Pete, his sister, etc). Apparently they think we've known for months this was coming.

How the HELL is this becoming MY business???

New Rule

Infants and children in diapers should not be allowed to eat asparagus.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gorgeous!

If you ask me, Minnesota weather doesn't get any better than it is today. Since the girls are both still feverish (but otherwise OK) we skipped school and my dentist appointment (so sad). I piled both girls in the BOB and we headed off on a long walk, with a playground stop in the middle. This weather is like heaven on earth.

Which is a good thing, since I could use the distraction from my idiocy. I sent out an email to family about Elizabeth's 1st birthday party, and forgot that the email address I had was for Jim AND Marilyn. Marilyn got it. She's now sent me three emails about how shocked she is, how much she loves the girls, etc. I have no idea what to say and really just want to stay out of the whole mess. That's what I get for sending emails late at night when I'm exhausted.

It is SO nice to not have anything going on today. We're over-scheduled this semester (yes, for my 3-year-old) and it's gotten really old. So I'm classically over-compensating and have nothing but swimming lessons scheduled for summer. I'm really looking forward to it now but will probably be going stir-crazy by mid-June! But I can't wait to get up and go to Elm Creek Park and take a long walk and then go swimming in that fabulous swim pond!! I am SO ready for summer!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stream of consciousness update post...

Hey. You've been warned - this will ramble.

Long time no... well... anything. I'm so out of the loop that I just found a card from Meigan from a month ago wondering where I'd disappeared to. Oops. Sorry, Meigs. I'm alive! I will email you this week!

Remember I posted awhile back about getting over myself? Well, that's generally gone quite well. I sort of burst through the post-baby-blues and suddenly started taking care of all kinds of business. The result is that I've been keeping myself busier than I have in a long time. My house has been clean enough most days that my MOM could come by unannounced and it would be OK. (For those who know my mom, that is saying something). I also am having on-going carpal tunnel issues. If I'm on the computer too long in the evening my hands are so numb and tingly I can hardly sleep, so I haven't been on too much. Should probably see a doc about that someday, but I'm sort of in denial about it.

Today I am the only one in my family not sick. I'm actually not sure if it's a cold or the flu. Pete just has a bad headache. Kate woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and bad cough. Neither of us really slept. Elizabeth woke up from her nap with a fever. I'm going to see what plays out. I'm quite proud of myself, really, because I had a couple of weeks there where I was so freaked about "swine flu" that I was starting to stockpile food. So far, the fevers are mild and they are generally "normal" so I'm just taking it hour by hour, as you do with little ones who are sick. Kate fell asleep on the sofa about a half hour ago. I'm trying to decide whether to try wake her up for a bath (never works) or just let her sleep through til morning, when she'll get up at 5AM.

I've been really busy lately helping plan festivities for my parents upcoming 50th anniversary. We are all taking a trip (all siblings, nieces, nephews) in August and we are also throwing them a party. So far, I'm pretty much doing everything. I'm not at all resentful of that, but I am thrilled we finally got this vacation figured out because it was exhausting me to do all of this research and have my parents change direction with the wind. Now I just have a pit in my stomach about how much it is costing them (they insist on paying for us all, which is absolutely insane). I guess now I can start focusing on their party.

Since I have this trip coming up with my 3 size-4 sisters and 1 size-2 brother's-girlfriend, I have gotten moving again on the weight loss. I lost about 10 lbs. in March, but totally lost steam in April, so now I've got 13 weeks to shed as much as I can. I will still be an elephant compared to my family, but at least I'll hopefully fit in my swimsuit.

Speaking of anniversaries... or NOT having anniversaries... we found out last night that Pete's Dad is getting a divorce. Not a huge surprise - Jim has dropped lots of hints - but it's still kind of big news around here. They had a prenup so hopefully it won't be too protracted. Now we just need to figure out how to explain to Kate why she doesn't have 3 grandmothers anymore. It's not like we're close enough to Marilyn that we'll stay in touch, really. But she has been there Kate's whole life, and I think she will be very sad to not see her anymore. I have no idea what to do on that. Do we tell her upfront? Do we wait for her to ask where Grandma Marilyn is?

Elizabeth is tired of being ignored. Since we're the only ones awake right now I should probably give her some attention. Just wish me luck that tonight I will get some sleep, and avoid this illness myself!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I must be doing something right

In the midst of this long, cold, dark winter, if Kate sees sunshine she starts singing The Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" and insists I join in with her.

I don't know why that makes me so happy, but it does.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stye-Me(d)

Ouch. I have a stye. For those who've never had one, it's essentially a pimple on the edge of your eyelid. (oops, hope you're not eating lunch right now). I've had a few in my life - this is by far the worst. It doesn't really look gross, it's just red and a little swollen, but it hurts and itches like H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks. They usually go away in a few days, but in the meantime I'm not supposed to wear eye makeup or contacts.

Yeah, right. Like that's going to happen.

For one thing - no eye makeup? Maybe. I'm not quite that vain that I will self-destruct without my daily dose of Covergirl. But no contacts? I have a 9 month old - I will be wrestling glasses out of her little fingers about every 3 minutes. Plus, I HATE wearing glasses at orchestra. I have these teeny rimless specs which provide no peripheral vision - I can't see the music and the conductor in the same field, so I wind up bobbing my head up and down like a chicken. Perhaps I should get a pair of big, round 80's glasses just for these circumstances?

In happier news, I am the proud owner of a new cello case, about which I couldn't be more thrilled. Not exactly great times to be dropping cash on things, but my last cello case weighed a whopping 17.5 lbs and this one a mere 7.5. Even with my cello in it it weights noticeably less than my old one does empty! My back and shoulder are rejoicing!

Now I just have to line up some gigs to help pay for it!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

And not a moment too soon

Twice this week, Kate has gotten up in the morning, taken off her PJ pants and diaper, and peed on the potty.

We still have a long way to go, but at least we're headed in the right direction!

HEE HAW!!

Completely unsolicited product placements

A couple of weeks ago Beth Fish did a "Meme" and invited all who read her to participate. Now, with my pathetic blogging track record, answering 5 whole questions seemed a bit much for me. But I was struck by this question: "What's the best thing since sliced bread?"

I have a few things in my life that I sing praises for every time I use them - most of which have been discovered since I became a parent. So I'm going to tell you about some of them. I think it goes without saying that no funds were exchanged to compel these endorsements. :-)

1. Razors with built-in "shave gel", namely the Gillette Venus Breeze or the Shick Intuition.
When I first saw the ads for these, I figured they were a gimmick. That such a small amount of "gel" could hardly compensate for a good soap and a high quality razor. I was wrong. They each have their pros and cons but I just rejoice every time I use them. I know, I know - you wonder how long it really takes to suds up your legs in the shower. Longer than you think! I have not used a "plain" razor since the first time I tried one (shaving my calves with a bottle of water sitting on a curb in a parking lot). The only downside is that they are pretty expensive. But it's a great time-saver. I never get razor burn and very rarely nick myself. They are worth every penny.

2. The Clorox Toilet Wand.
When I first had Kate crawling around and getting into everything like a rabid Tasmanian devil, I realized something had to be done about the toilet brushes. There wasn't much I could think of that would be grosser than her getting ahold of one of those (except perhaps the plunger). Plus, I tried to find ways to not have as many toxic cleaning chemicals in liquid form around. These work great, and then you toss the little cleaning pad and just have this easily hidden, innocuous little stick.

3. The 4 Bag Laundry Sorter.
Laundry is the bane of my existance. With E in the picture now, I just couldn't possibly get it all done in one day, so we'd wind up with these sorted piles all over the floor until I actually managed to get through it all. Now we don't have baskets in the closets anymore. We just have this one hamper and all clothes go directly into it - pre-sorted! Not only do I no longer have the drudgery of marathon laundry sorting/washing sessions (I do one load a day), but since I keep up with the laundry now we need fewer clothes!!! Seriously! My mom is horrified that I have this hamper out in my bedroom but I don't really care. It's awesome!

4. My beloved label maker.
Nothing wastes time like having to hunt for things when you want to use them. I use my label maker ALL the time!!

So, there's my list. I realize they might be seen as expensive and certainly not too "green", but for now they're helping me manage my life.

How about you? What are your timesaving finds??

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am so over myself

Hey, all. Sorry about the self-absorbed maudlin twist to this blog lately - that is, when I could be bothered to write. We've been sick a lot in this house this winter and there has been far too much navel-gazing than is good for me. As Simon Cowell would say, it's total "self-indulgent nonsense" and it's time for it to stop!

For example, what the heck?! about me getting so worked up about some of my neighbors. These are nice women who are just going about their lives. If I am totally honest, I highly doubt they are trying to exclude me. They just aren't worrying about including me. Can I blame them? They are busy moms of lots of kids - I think they have better things to do. And I could certainly make a few moves myself instead of waiting around. Those of you who've known me a long time know that I'm a bit of a homebody and while I like to do things, am rarely a social planner. Time to change that or quit my bitching!

Speaking of Simon Cowell, any other American Idol watchers out there? I enjoy the show, but if Tatiana gets through tonight I may have to boycott until she's gone. I just can't take another minute of her screen time. I think she is a no-talent hack and one of the most annoying people I've ever seen. If she makes it through tonight that screaming you hear will be me....

Oh! I've been reading again! For years now, the only books I've read have been "classics" that I had already read a bunch of times - Jane Austen, Tolkein, Harry Potter, Wheel of Time. Now I do love to re-read books but this was getting excessive. So my one sort of unofficial resolution was to start reading books I'd never read before. If you count fiction and non-fiction, I've read 7 books this year. Some have been good, some not so much. Perhaps some book reports will be forthcoming.

Other exciting news from the homefront - after (counting....counting....) THIRTY-ONE years of playing the cello, I am the proud new owner of a Wenger Cellist Chair. It's a special chair that tilts down a tiny bit in the front to help get a good position for playing. I am very excited. It helps, too, because it's actually quite a bit harder to play with the extra weight I'm carrying right now. My posture is off and all that belly fat pushes the instrument out at a funny angle. So this actually helps that a bit. Now it's time to start practicing more again.

It's time to start doing a lot of stuff again. Exercising, eating right, knitting, sewing, practicing, etc. That "new baby" excuse has worn pretty thin, seeing that she's 8 1/2 months old now! So hopefully I will start doing more. And do Facebook less. And actually have something to blog about!

Friday, February 6, 2009

On the plus side

Kate just spelled her name out on the floor with the little plastic magnetic letters. No coaching, no prodding. I was sitting here blogging and she came to get me so I could see it.

How cool is that?

(Oh... and clearly, Elizabeth is screwed. We need a nickname.)

I think I'll go eat worms

One of the more surprising things I've discovered about being a SAHM in a rather private neighborhood is that it's a LOT like high school...

...except for the big group of friends I had.

There are two other girls Kate's age in the neighborhood. A couple weeks ago one of their moms emailed me and said they were going to trade off at their houses each week for playdates (drop-your-kid-off playdates, not come-in-for-a-cuppa playdates). She said Kate was welcome to stop in whenever we wanted. Kindof a backhanded invite, but I thought I'd take it, for Kate's sake. Kate has swimming lessons which would keep her from being able to stay the whole time, but I said I'd be happy to join in on the hosting rotation once those were done. Kind of got brushed off, but didn't let it get to me.

Yesterday, I dropped Kate off there for a little bit and mentioned to the other mom that I'd be happy to reciprocate on a rotation. Blank stare. Followed by some mumbling and a sort of "well, we can see about that." I know a brush off when I get one.

I must admit myself a bit stung. I mean, do they not trust me with their kids? True, I don't know them super well, but I've lived 4 houses away for 7 years. If I was truly psycho, perhaps they'd have figured that out by now? I haven't screwed Kate up too much yet, doesn't that indicate that maybe I'm an OK mom?

Then today, I drive by one of their houses (since I'm on a cul-de-sac, I can't help but drive past everyone) and see the cars of pretty much ALL the SAHMs in the neighborhood in front of her house. Now, true, perhaps there was some perfectly sensible reason they were all together and I was not included. But that's far too forgiving an attitude for how I'm feeling this week.

I give up. I am SO OVER trying to "fit in" with these women, when I clearly do not. Most of them seem very nice on their own, but I am pretty obviously the square peg, as I have almost always been in my life. So I'm done. I won't avoid them, I'll be happy to see them and chat with them, but I'm letting go of caring whether or not they like me.

I feel so liberated.