Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions For the New Year And A New Me

So. We're all supposed to be making resolutions for the new year, right? Planning out the improvements we want to make, opening ourselves to the possibilities hidden in the beginning of a new decade. And I want me some of that, but I'm having a hard time really verbalizing the changes I want to make. I feel on a precipice, like I am truly ready to make significant changes in myself, but those changes feel as though they will be more profound than the words used to describe them.

So my only goal this year is to be better.

A better mother. One who is patient and fun and lets go of the little things. I will prepare more meals from scratch. I will keep my kids' rooms and playroom tidier and better organized. I will bestow more responsibilities on them to help me do so.

A better wife. One who is kind and thankful and lets go of the little things. I will help my husband achieve his goals, and I will work to achieve the goals we set together.

A better housekeeper. I will maintain the house in a state of cleanliness rather than a state of not-quite-completely-gross-ness.

A better blogger. I would really like to increase the traffic my blog gets. I will do this by increasing the quality of the writing.

A better writer. I started writing a novel 5 years ago. So far it is 9 pages long. This year I will continue work on that project, or start new ones in order to explore my love of the written word as an outlet and form of expression.

A better photographer. I got a great new camera for my birthday, and this year I will learn to use it to take beautiful pictures of my family, and to dress up the look of this blog with photographs rather than snapshots.

A better me. Thinner, healthier, happier, more put together. Closer to the ideal I have dreamt of attaining. More complete.

As you can see, I do not have a 12 step plan, all ready for implementation on Friday. But I also don't plan on failing at these tasks. These goals are all year-long, gradual improvements and I think it is okay to learn and adapt as I go. As long as the goal remains in sight I can reach it.

Falling down just gives you a new perspective.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! What are your goals for 2010?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let Sleeping Moms Lie

I wrote this last week. It was never posted yeah. no clue.

We do not do the whole "family bed" thing. The kids all have their own beds, in their own rooms, and we all sleep separately unless travel conditions necessitate sharing. This works best for us, especially me, because I am a very light sleeper and having kids in my room or bed would pretty much guarantee I never got any sleep. But Friday night (last week) Isabelle was crying in her room, and when I went to check on her she asked to sleep with me. It was only 8:30pm, but she was so upset and insistent (and it was the first time she had ever asked to do this) so I let her go in my room anyway. I was concerned she would be excited about being in a new place and stay up making a mess of my closet (shoes!), but she fell right back to sleep. She stayed with me the whole night, and only woke up briefly when I came to bed, waking up only briefly to say "thanks for joining me!" So cute.

I have long wondered about parents who co-sleep. Not in a "omigod they're are such crazy hippies" type of way, but more of a "how can does that actually work?" kind of way. Because let me tell you, co-sleeping, even if I had been so inclined, would NEVER have worked for us. When Izzy was a baby, (or a toddler, or preschooler, etc) if you were with her she was UP. Awake, moving kicking, rolling, poking, and eventually talking to you. There were so many days when I wished that I could just take her into my room with me a naptime and we could nap together, but it was just impossible - she wouldn't have slept a wink. On the few times we were forced to share a bed when traveling, it was like the dance on eggshells to try and go to bed without waking her up because if you woke her up there would be all manner of discussions and jumping and playing involved.

And then there is all the stress involved with never wanting to change positions so I wouldn't jostle her, thus resulting in all manner of discussions and jumping and playing. I remember one trip to my aunt's house when Izzy and I had to share an air mattress. Seeing as I am slightly (ahem) heavier than she is, every night she would roll right into me, pressing me over further and further until I was clinging to the very edge of the bed with all manner of feet and elbows and knees butting and pushing at me for more room. Several times I just got up and moved to the other side of the bed, only to have that bastard gravity roll her little body back into my giant divot. Fun.

Which brings me to another point - how do you deal with all that moving and poking and pushing? Even if I managed the transfer into bed without waking her up, she is inevitably sideways or something (tangent, when did my baby get as long as the width of a queen mattress
? Gah!), and her feet or hands are always squirming and poking at you. Not exactly conducive to rest. Plus, the biggest benefit I could see about sleeping with your child would be all the extra snuggles made possible. But Izzy is NOT a cuddled, and won't let me touch her when we sleep together, so there's no extra hugs going on here.

The final hurdle to peaceful co-sleeping has got to be the crack of dawn, or more accurately, way BEFORE the crack of dawn, wake ups she has always maintained. I am not a morning person. 7am is seriously a stretch for me no matter how early I go to bed. I am a night owl, and I always have been - can't change it now (and I've tried). But Izzy likes to get up when it is still dark. I am the luckiest mother on earth because she will play quietly in her room for at least an hour every morning before finally maing enough noise to wake me up. She has done this since birth basically (no joke - feel free to hate me). But that sweet perk is rendered useless when co-sleeping. If she's up at the crack of dawn, so am I, because she's talking to me, kissing me, sitting on me, etc.

Now, all that having been said it was still pretty nice having her in my room with me. I may not have gotten a lot of rest, and I may have been poked and pushed and hotter than all get out, but it was really nice to wake up seeing that sweet little face and hearing " thanks for letting me sleep with you, I love you Mommy" first thing in the morning.

update: Last week I had the singularly special experience of sleeping in HER room, because my parents were in town, therefore my husband couldn't sleep in the "guest room" (read: basement) where he usually sleeps so I had to move out of the master bedroom because I CANNOT sleep with him due to the horrible snoring. And despite the ever wonderful comfort involved with airmattresses, I surprisingly didn't get much sleep. Because Izzy entertains a sort of Broadway notion of nighttime, in which the sleeping is broken up by an intermission that involves playing with toys, singing, and in the case of new roommates, face patting. Every night at some point she would crawl down off her bed and pat my face telling me she loves me. Repeatedly. There were also requests to "sit in the boat" which meant sitting in between my legs at the bottom of my bed and playing or singing to herself. Did I mention the singing? And the face patting? That makes for some good night's sleep let me tell you. So that comment up there about how nice and wonderful it is to wake up to her sweet little smile? Still true. But a little less so when the waking up is at 2am.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow Day

I was planning on just posting a bunch of pictures of the kids playing in the snow of the Great Blizzard of 2009. but then I watched as they uploaded onto the computer, and they kind of looked good all stop motion video, so I just made them into a quick slide show. Took me about 5 minutes. An hour later, I figured out there was no possible way** to convert any of my music from itunes into a compatible form to accompany my video, so it is a silent movie. One more reason to be irritated at the limitations of Apple. Grrr. Anyway, enjoy the shots*

*yes, I realize the kids are eating in most of the pictures. It's the only way to catch them sitting still long enough to snap a photo. I'm like a nature photographer lurking near the waterhole. Except I'm in my living room rather than the jungle.

**update 12-31-9: there is TOTALLY a way to put itunes music into Wondows movie maker. AND I ACTUALLY FIGURED IT OUT!! Duh. So I have upgraded the movie so it hs sound. yay. Of course, I couldn't find a song with the right length so it fades out before the end, but whatver. Music!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine. Today I plan to get out the Wii Fit and play until I fall down.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is Some New Decor

And I got it.

My mom spent the past three days repainting the entire first floor of my house. The hideous, overpowering mustard yellow? Gone. In it's place? A delightful cool blue which lightens the room and brings a lovely sense of calm and peace. Or maybe that's the rum in my eggnog. Either way, the room looks loads better. See?

To refresh, here is the old color:

And the new:

Aahhhhh. Isn't that so much nicer?

We also got some new artwork courtesy of my aunt and uncle who drove out. These are all pieces that used to hang in my grandparent's house, and along with brightening up my walls and making the house more of a home, they bring sentimental value in teh form of all the great memories I have of spending time with my grandparents and family at their house. Good times.

Now all I need are new cutains, a new carpet, re-upholstery for the couches...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forget The Tree, Trim The Kid

Yesterday Isabelle got her very first professional haircut. And stupid mommy totally forgot to bring her camera. So you get some lousy camera phone shots of this ever so critical once in a lifetime milestone (haha).

She cried at first, but everything is tolerable with a lollypop

she even started enjoying herself, and was trying not to smile...

until Mommy helped her back into scowlling by taking too many annoying pictures.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Deck The Halls And Lock Up Grandma

Yesterday my mom came to town for Christmas. Since she has been here I have left her at home to paint the kitchen while I went to the movies* with my husband, left her at home to scrub wallpaper off the walls while I went to the gym, and sat around blogging while she washes walls in preparation for painting my living room. What? The house has to be ready for the REAL guests coming to visit.

I kid. In actuality, my mom WANTS to do all these things, and has been itching to get back here and paint it up ever since Thanksgiving.

One thing she didn't plan on, however, was getting locked in my daughter's room. You heard me right folks, after I kissed Izzy goodnight and skipped out on singing my oldest child to sleep so I could jaunt off to the cinema while GeeGee did the lullaby shift, I locked the door behind me.

With GeeGee inside.

And then left the house.

On my way to A THREE HOUR MOVIE.


Fortunately GeeGee is wicked crafty and managed to fashion a makeshift lock pick out of the ring from a keychain my daughter had in her room and escape. After only about 30 minutes of working on it while Izzy completely freaked out screaming.

It takes practice to be Mother of the Year AND Daughter of the Year on one fell swoop, ya'll. I gots mad skillz.

*We went to see Avatar. Want to know what I thought about it?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy 4th Annual 29th* Birthday To Me!

Today was a wonderful day. I got to sleep in (a bit), was greeted downstairs by children singing, roses on the table and a certificate for a massage at 1pm. My husband made me french toast with strawberry syrup, fresh berries and sausage. Which Izzy ate most of, but that's ok, I still got plenty and I was happy to share. From my parents I got this killer new camera with all these groovy accessories:

and we picked up a Wii, on which I proceeded to trounce my husband at boxing (after he whupped me in golf, tennis, bowling and baseball). AND I found out my auntie is coming for Christmas! YAY!

Pretty much today was all about how I have the bestest family ever. Oh, and me. It was definitely a bit about me too.

My gift to myself is the promise to be better. A better wife, mother, person, exerciser, eater, blogger, writer, reader. Everything. This year is the year I begin actually WORKING on this work in progress. Until know I've just been standing around staring at the orange cones. This year stuff is getting done! And while I know the project may never be finished, this is the year I finally get started. Move beyond plans and blue prints, and break ground.

*or, if you are a stickler for numbers, 32nd. Whatever

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snap, Snap, Oh

Sometimes I wish I could make the pictures in my head real. That when I take a mental snapshot of my kids, it could be uploaded, downloaded or printed out; saved forever and shared with everyone. Those images and moments when the light is just perfect, their expression so angelic or mischievious. Moments where a camera is never available. When all I have is my eyes and my mind an dmy heart. I want to share those images with the world. Those perfect pictures, tinted by the rose colored glasses of a mother's love.

Having said that, I figured my new camera would get me one step closer. Better equipment = better pictures right? Not so much. Let's just say the inaugural photos left something to be desired, and were deleted post haste. I have some major learning to do. Turns out the equipment is only so good as the monkey holding it. Dang.

Saturday Say What

trying to stall before bedtime: "I was hoping I was going to have a problem"

after asking me several questions in a row: "mommy, I'm going to bring you one more question."

pretending to take my picture: "Say Chinese food!"

To Jack, after coming upstairs, taking one look at me and then going back down (it refers to lunch): "She's not making it yet. What should we do now?"

and, a Friday Fashion late entry:

he did not win the ugly sweater contest at work:

But it looks like the race for regional used car salesman of the quarter is still open

Friday, December 18, 2009

When Tragedy Strikes

You do not criticize. You do not insult. You do not capitalize on cruelty for personal gain.

You pray. You empathize. And you show support, love and hope.

You do this:

Love for Anissa! from Undomestic Diva on Vimeo.

Thanks to Undomestic Diva for compiling the 120 photos (!) sent in by bloggers everywhere who wish Anissa Mayhew a swift and full recovery.

*Anissa loves Glee, Ralph Maccio and bewbs, in case you were curious about some of the shots.

Friday Fashion Show

as you can see skirts (one in particular) were popular this week.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jolly Holidays

Today was the holiday party at Izzy's preschool. The twenty minutes or so before hand were great fun: nothing to wear because I'm too fat for even my LEGGINGS, starting to get a little close to the time we have to leave, throwing outfits on and off, discovering jack has pooped and needs a diaper change, necessitating running upstairs carrying 30 lbs of toddler, quick change then race to the car where we are now officially running late, discovering the baby has pooped, sweating like a hog because all of the stress of running late and running around carrying large uncooperative children, discovering I've neglected to apply deoderant... It was all truly awesome. The best part was when I realized that I couldn't even tweet all my admittedly humorous frustration bceause I had left my phone at home. Yeehaw. But we made it on time (that place NEVER opens their doors on time, much less early), and it was very nice. The kids all sang some songs for us, and despite the cluster f*** that was my preparing to go I actually remembered the camera. I will not subject you to each song, but here are two. And yes, the kid next to Izzy was seriously that big of a dud the entire performance. I think his hands were in his mouth 80% of the time. Not the next American Idol. Also, if you can understand the lyrics, you may hear "if it's Hannukah and you know it tap the sticks" - can any of my Jewish friends explain that to me? I'm certainly extremely unfamiliar with most Jewish traditions, but I've never heard anything about tapping sticks and I'm curious what that means. Thanks

song one

song two

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Because I Am Nothing If Not Crafty. And Narcissistic

You know how when you were little and greatly concerned with always being bigger and taller and how much did I grow Mommy? And your mom would have you stand up against the wall and mark a line so you could measure your height and compare it against how tall you were last year or last week? And then you moved away, but you couldn't take the wall with you so you lost all those precious memories? Me niether. At least on that last part. I think I saw it on tv once. Anyway, I wanted to make a height chart for each of my kids, and because I am always thinking forward and hope that I'm not in my forever house yet, I wanted to make something that we can take with us when we move. And I finally did it!! I took three pieces of wood, painted them up all pretty with each kid's name and marked it up with real live measurements so we never have to get a ruler. I have saved every sheet from their checkups since burth, so I applied all of those old measurements to make sure they are truly complete. We haven't hung them up yet, but I thought I'd share the fruits of all that hunching over.

each one measures over 6 ft. Just in case

the names at the top. I loaded this photo 4 times and never once was it straight up. No clue why

my favorite thing is that now we can really compare their heights at each age - I can't believe Jack was taller than Izzy at 1 year, and they are exactly the same at age 2! She has always seemed so much taller than him

I also applied my mad skillz to my hair, curling it up the other day. Surprisingly it looked pretty good, so I entered in to one of my periodic self-portrait frenzies. Behold, the wonder that is me*!!

I swear it loooked good. Seriously. It was much fuller and less stringy looking in person

okay, the hair doesn't show as much in this one. But my face looks thinner than usual. Therefore it must be immortalized on the blog

frankly, I like this one because my nail polish shows. Why I need to see my nail polish in a photo when I can just look at my hands instead, I have no idea

oooh, the overhead camera halo effect. Sweeeet

oh, how mysterious I can be, not looking at the camera!

Tyra taught me to smile with my eyes

here, I smile with my whole face

And finally, here is a snapshot of our Christmas card. I would have sent you one, but I don't know your address

Happy Holidays!!

*This is my blog, if I want to cram it up with shoddy self(indulgent) portraiture I totally can. Also, one of these will most likely become my new profile pic - so if you have a preference let me know!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

You Can Take The Girl Out Of Colorado, But The Weather Will Follow Her

Whoever said it hardly ever snows in Omaha is a fucking liar.

Because it is snowing, AGAIN. What the hell? Everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and the serious lack of timely plowing leads me to believe that, yes, in fact they are ill equipt to handle all this snow. At least our garbage was picked up today. Those nancy boys had better not cancel school again tomorrow or there will be hell to the form of me bitching and moaning since I have no other recourse. Seriously though, it's looking like she'll only have two days of school in December. Nothing like paying $135 for 4 hours of preschool. January should be prorated.

I have done nothing today except for clean the house and shovel snow. I feel like a pioneer. In terms of unending chores, not in the sense that I'm doing anything first. Although, come to think of it, the fact that I've done work around the house all day is probably a first. Ba Dum Bum!

Anway, in more cheerful topics, here are my kids with Santa. Sophie cried as would be expected, Jack didn't have the slightest clue what was going on, and Izzy was seriously non plussed. When we told her we were going to go see Santa her exact words were:

"Santa? He'll be so excited to see me!"

way to know your worth, kid.

ps: the beard was totally real. Yay for authenticity. Also? Ew.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dragon Girl And Her Bicycle Of Justice

What? Like you never dress your kid up for your own amusement.