Monday, February 27, 2006

House of Sick

Me and the Babe are sick.  I was up at 2:30 this morning hugging the toilet (I wish I wouldn't have had mexican last night).  I finally fell back asleep at 6:00, called in to tell them I would be late to work, slept another hour and then got up and dragged myself in.  All day long I was able to keep it under check. S comes and picks me up with the kids in tow he tells me that Aly has been really tired all day.  She seems full of energy in the car.  We all go home and eat a rather bland dinner.  I am still keeping things in check.  Then as I am about to take Aly to the bathroom for their bubbles she loses lunch, afternoon snack and dinner all over the couch.  All of a sudden I can't keep it in check anymore.  I yell for S to get back in the house, he was on his way to rehearsal.  He comes down to the family room and does his husbandly duty of cleaning the pukey couch since I am about to finally lose it again after staying dry all day.

Things are settled now.  The kids are clean and asleep.  I am about to crawl into bed with some soothing peppermint team and we will hopefully call it a day at the house of sick.  Fun times have been had by all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day (1 week late)

Since I do most stuff late (both my kids were late). I figured I would wish everyone a "Happy Valentine's Day" late as well. To my two little cuties thank you for my card, balloon and hearts and to my sweet S thank you for my locket. I love having the girls with me all the time. To all my friends and family I love you very much and you are always in my heart.

Brief recap of our Valentine's day. Kids had some yummy mac&cheese, carrots and cupcakes for dessert. We decided to wait until the kids were in bed to order some takeout from the hawaiian cafe by our house but they were closed (boohoo!). So we checked out the other places by our house that S could walk to and we found Chaba Thai. Let me just quote my kids here, it was "yummy in the tummy". I have now decided that if i win the lottery we will eat from Chaba Thai every night, well at least once or twice a week. Then we rented a movie "Just Like Heaven" with Reece Witherspoon. It was cute and filmed in San Francisco which I loved. I think SF is one of the best movie locations ever. Then we just hung out and talked about us. Where we have been in the past 8 years, where we want to be in the next 8, we drank wine and had some cupcakes courtesy of the kiddos. I stayed up too late and was way tired the next day, but it was a nice, happy evening.

Mama, Mommy or Mom?

What do your kids call you? For me it used to be mama, but now mommy has slowly been phased in, or should I say mommeeeeeeeeeee. Now the dreaded mom has entered into my 3 1/2 year olds vocabulary. I say dreaded because that was a bad word in our house growing up. I was not allowed to call my Mom and Dad those names except when I was using them as titles. So what do I call them now? I still call them Mama and Papa and I am fine with that. It was a little embarrassing in high school when my friends would often make fun of me and ask me if I was three. Now though, maybe because I want to always be a Mama, I find it endearing. I try to use mama all the time with my kids. I tell them my name is not mom or mommy but mama, I am hoping that their new ways will revert back and I will soon only be known as Mama. Maybe there is a point in most kids lives where they stop calling their mom Mama, but I am not ready to accept defeat just yet.

A Mama's Body

Did anyone ever fully explain to you that your body would sag after you had kids? I mean, I kind of realized but I don’t think I could have comprehended it before hand. I really think it is the stomach area more than anything and the saggy skin that bothers me most of all. It is just different and I really don’t like it. I walk everywhere, I do crunches, I am trying to eat healthier, but I think I need to kick my butt in gear and get a real routine going.

What has worked for other mamas? I see the ads for the baby boot camp, but since I work during the day I don’t really have time. They have a health club on site but since I am a contract employee I do not have privileges. I could always do some tapes after the kids go to bed but then that would wake me up when I need to be getting ready for bed. I already have to get up at 5:00, the thought getting up at 4:00am is just depressing. So what do I do? I have thought about walking even more. Doing some power walks at lunch, trying to squeeze in some yoga before bed. I know just a bunch of excuses, but they are good ones aren't they?

Do you ever just feel like life as a mama consists of a giant “To Do” list of all the things you had time for before kids. I now seem to only have time for work, eat, sleep and kids. Where can I find a little time for me?

Friday, February 17, 2006

I heart MAX

I will pick on Portland for a second. Everyone has heard of snow and ice bringing things to a stand still. Well today in Portland the MAX train broke down because it was cold. Yes, no ice, no snow, no sleet, no rain, just some cold winds. Cold weather caused my trip home from work to take me almost 3 hours using public transportation. Portland, shouldn't cold temperatures be something you test your lightrail system on before putting it to use?

Being a working mama I treasure those few hours after work to hang out with the kids, eat some dinner, give them baths, read stories and snuggle with them before bed. Instead of spending time with them I got to listen to the crazy guy who sang songs when he picked up litter, or the guy who was afraid he might lose his job at an athletic footwear store because he might go to jail for robbery, or the tweaked out couple who made out the whole time and smelled like they had pissed on themselves. Yes, this is why I heart MAX on a crappy Friday night.

I really do love Portland and I think their public transportation system is pretty good, not to mention the fact it doesn't cost me $10 a day like some cities (SF), there are just some days where I want to me home cuddled up with my family and today MAX kept me from that.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

4am

Yes, I said it 4am and I am awake. Insomnia has hit me hard tonight, there are so many things rolling around in my brain. So since this is my mama journal afterl all, I will try and list them all out here and then maybe I can get a little sleep before my 3yo comes crawling into bed with me which usually happens around 6:30.

1. List of house projects - there are so many, everywhere I look there is a project that is half done. I don't know where we will find the time with two kids running around. We need to just have my parents come visit for a few weekends in a row to watch the kids so we can get this place in shape. Things to do: paint trim in bathroom, paint bedroom, build new bed, sew window coverings for Aly's room, paint trim in her room and Cat's room, put up molding in kitchen, paint basement, finish stripping wallpaper off basement bathroom and upstairs hallway & paint both, clear out garage, clean and fix gutters, paint the house, landscape, replace the fireplace mantel and screen in the living room.

2. Things we have been needing to sell since we move up here - Old baby things (some need to just be donated and some we can sell), S' car (it has been sitting in our driveway for a while now), our dresser (once we sell it we can buy our new one), the rocker and crib (I am going to transition Aly to her toddler bed and I just want to get rid of the crib, the rocker just takes up room in her already small bedroom), I would love to sell the gigantic recliner aka "man chair" in the living room (S loves it so, he thinks it is such a great chair but he doesn't realize that I agreed to that purchase only because I knew he liked it so much, it is comfy but I think pretty ugly).

3. We need more money to do all of the projects above, which if we sold the items, also listed above it might solve our money problem. I have started working overtime, work is getting busy so at least that will give us a little extra each month.

4. I want to start my own business, creating stuffed creatures, I don't want to call them animals. I have been calling them Aly Cats after Aly and Cat. Yes, one of them is a cat, but I have also done fish and dinosaurs. The kids love them and I think it is fun to create them and try out new fabrics, but since we have all of these other things to do I feel guilty for spending time doing this when I could be working on another project.

5. I would love to only work part-time but I don't know if I have patience for these kids. Seriously, I think S has way more patience then me, I just get so stressed sometimes. But I think it would be so great if S went back to teaching and I worked mornings somewhere, then at least we would both be home in the afternoons together when naps are all done.

6. I miss my friends back in California. I am slowly starting to meet some new friends but when you are working so much and getting home with barely enough time to spend with your family let alone have a little meditation time for yourself it is hard to find time to hang out with the girls. Plus a lot of the moms that I know aren't working outside of the home, they have time during the week to take the kids to playgroups and get together. I don't have that right now. I miss my friends J & A especially. It just is not the same talking on the phone or sending emails. I miss lunchtime pedicures or the early days we would plan to go catch the latest chick flick or just bitch about our kids or husband or job. A will be visiting soon with the hubby and kids in tow. We are going to leave the kids with the guys on Saturday and go out. We actually first met in Portland as roommates at UP. We both only went there for one semester (it's a great school just not for us, Go PILOTS!) but we have stayed best friends ever since. We have had ups and downs but we have remained friends and I am so happy they are coming to visit. Now how do I convince them to move here?

7. My parents might be moving to Portland from Seattle - My mom and dad want to be closer to us. They want to be able to see the kids more. They also want to be able to retire and start their own business. I would love for them to move to Portland, I am really close to my parents and I would love for Cat and Aly to grow up with them around. I never had grandparents that I was close to and so I really want that for my girls. But if it doesn't happen I don't want to be letdown. I don't want to make plans in my head and then feel let down because it didn't pan out.

Well, I think that is everything that I have been lying here thinking about. Boy what a ramble, but it sure feels good to get it all out.

One good thing with being up at 4am, you can do some great shopping. I found some danskos on sale in my size only for $55.00 bucks, plus a valentine's present for S. At least I am being productive in some ways.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A roof to cover our heads

There was a time in my life where I would not have gotten excited by a new roof, but today I love stuff like this.  There is something so satisfying to have a large project done on your home.  Today, the first day in a week without rain, our new roof was put on, and it is a beautiful sight to behold.  Maybe not for all of you but for myself and S it is one large box that we can now check off on our "To do" list.  So it may not be the most romantic gift but this year we gave each other a roof for Valentine's Day.

I love my family (at least today while i have happy hormones running through my body)

As I was about to go into a meeting today I glanced at the pictures of my family that line my cubicle walls. How things have changed over the last few years, and how precious they all are to me. Cat is such a little pain in the ass sometimes but she is also the sweetest little girl. She tells me many times a day that she loves me and that I am the best. I take heart in that because it must mean that we are saying the same thing to her on a regular basis. Aly is a little whirlwind of activity. She loves to get into everything and she has this little triumphant giggle that she does when she accomplishes whatever mischievous tasks she is up to. I sometimes forget that she is a little kid now, not just a baby. She will be potty training in the next year and she can do so much by herself. She loves to stand on the steps at the sink to wash her hands and help me brush her teeth. She also loves to cuddle again which a few weeks ago went out the door. So much time has gone by since she was a newborn and I was weeping over how precious she was as my post-natal hormone waves crashed over me. My sweet dear S is now Mr. Mom. He says he has no patience but I think that is only for things like putting together Ikea furniture or dealing with telemarketers. He has such a wealth of patience with the kids. He is sweet, loving, caring, warm and thoughtful with them. They love their daddy and their daddy loves them and me so much. I love the fact that he can now be a full time musician. He hasn’t been able to concentrate on playing over the past few years and now he able to play again. We have dreams of creating a studio in the garage where he can practice, record and teach, but right now it is a dream because the funds needs to increase just a bit before that happens. But I so want to make it happen for him.

In the last three years we went from living in Sacramento to moving to Portland. I love Portland so much. Many people don’t know this but I lived here for a short period of time when I attended University of Portland for a semester. I had to leave because I couldn’t afford private school tuition and ventured back up to Washington where the inexpensive state resident tuition beckoned. I always knew I would come back because Portland has everything that I grew up with in Seattle. A place for my kids to call home. Real neighborhoods, kid friendly restaurants and stores, tons of parks and great classes. Whoever said that everyone is leaving city for the suburbs hasn’t visited our street. We have a bunch of kids here all around the same age as Cat and Aly. They will all walk to school together and hope they never leave so that they all can all grow together, like I did with my friends growing up.

So I sat in my meeting and was having a hard time concentrating because I was just sitting their thinking about my little family. How great they are, and how lucky I am to have them. I wish I was there with them right now, but only a few hours to go and I will be home. Maybe I will enjoy that weekend I was lamenting about in an earlier post afterall.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why do I do this to myself?

Why must I make stupid bets with my husband? Why do I do these things to myself? Growing up in Seattle and dealing with the Seahawks being more or less a crappy football team, I was excited by the fact that they were going to be in the Superbowl. Have I watched a game this whole year? Yes, but only a minute here and there walking through our family room. So why would I make a bet with my husband that the Seahawks would win this great game. Isn't it enough for them to just make it to the biggest game of the year. Why do I have to push my luck and make a wager on them winning everything? Why? Because I am stupid!

So now that the wonderful Seahawks have lost, I get to have kid duty on an appointed weekend and Saxman gets to go off and do whatever he wants, camping, travel, whatever. He might just go off to a hotel and get away for a few days. Sure maybe the Seahawks could have won and then the tables would have been turned, but no my dream of a weekend all to myself was completely dashed.

I should look at the bright side of this. I work all week long and see the kids afterwork and on weekends and I always talk about how much I miss them, and I do. I love spending time with them. But I am so burnt out right now that the thought of 48 hours of peaceful, do whatever the f*ck I want time sounds so incredibly blissful that I just put all my chips in, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. To rub salt into my wound this loss also happened to occur on the same night that Cat refused to go to sleep. She was still awake just an hour ago. She had to go pee, or get a drink of water, or pile her bed high with books. She was driving both of us crazy, so the thought of a weekend of defiant little 3yo behaviour just made me a little sad.

So what should I do to turn my frown upside down? Well, I think this calls for a trip to Seattle to drop the kids off at my folks house, I will check myself into a nice little hotel. Hook up the free Wifi, do some shopping, work on the look of Mama Land (possibly change locations) and relax. Because after all is said and done, a relaxed, happy mama is a much nicer mama to have around.

Fabric Depot

I went to Fabric Depot today for their monthly 40% off sale. I didn't go crazy like I often do, because I promised Saxman that I would finish the projects I currently have on my to do list before I buy a bunch more. But we were able to buy some fabric that we need to finish our bedroom makeover (I will report on that in a future entry). To anyone that has not had the pleasure of visiting this fabric store let me just tell you it is huge. And when they have their 40% off fabric sale it is packed. The ratio of women to men had to be about 50:1, and almost everyone of those guys was packed into the little TV room they have at the front of the store.

Tomorrow they are having a Super Bowl sale, Bali Cotton are 50%. If you haven't been go check them out, or at least go to their website. Their sales are good online too, but they don't have the selection on line like they do in the store.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Feeding the kiddos

I read a recent post on Blogging Baby about feeding kids and what a hated task it is. I have to agree I can't stand this aspect of parenting. My kids will love something one week and then the next time you try to serve it they treat it like it is the most disgusting thing they have ever seen. Aly in her independent way will pitch a fit if you even try to help her eat. She will scream and throw her food at you. Cat will whine and say that she wants peanut butter and jelly instead of whatever else she is eating. I also hate cleaning up the kids after they eat. Dinner is the best because we can just peel off their food covered clothes and stick the kiddos in the bath. But breakfast or lunch we just stick with feeding them something that hopefully will not get all over them before we need to head out the door. Also could someone please explain to me if there is an easy way for cleaning kinderzeat straps when you can't remove them from the seat. The more I scrub the straps the more food particles get imbedded in the fabric.

As I write this Cat is sitting at the table eating her afternoon snack (her favorite meal of the day), blowing bubbles in her juice and pretending to burp. Then she laughs as if it is the funniest thing in the world. The mama in me tells her to not make those noises, but the kid in me just has to laugh, she is pretty cute. I guess if she wasn't all these little things would drive me crazy.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?  When I ask that of my daughter Cat her typical answer is a ballerina princess dentist teacher.  At three years old she feels as if she can be all those things.  When do we stop wanting to be ballerinas?  Sometimes as a working mama I feel like it is hard enough for me to just find enough time in the day for my husband and kids, let alone time for myself.    

So what would I do if I had time, if I could do whatever I wanted to do?  My education background is in public policy, which I love and find incredibly interesting.  My love growing up was architecture and design (although you can't really tell by looking at our house).  I love being a mama and teaching my girls about the world.  I would love to find a partner and help start a business.  So how would I do all these things?  I would find a job where I could work part time on public policy issues, specifically water resources which is what I worked on in California.  Then I might be able to carve out some time during the week to work on fixing up our home and making it a cute little hybrid mid-century modern/craftsman house.  Spend some time each week showing my girls all the great things in Portland, taking them to classes, to the library, running around our fabulous neighborhood.  Last but not least helping my mom start her own garden design consulting company, this would only be fitting for the world's best gardener/nana.

However, right now I can't be all those things, reality knocks me on the head to remind me that I am the primary bread winner at the moment.  I work and my husband stays home with the kids.  That is what we do.  At night when the kids go to bed he rehearses and I try to have a little time by myself.   He promises me that when his band finishes recording their album and sells millions of copies I can quit my job, and do whatever I want to do but that hasn't happened yet.  But when it does I will have a plan. 


Two is enough, I think

How do you know how many kids are enough?  When Cat was born she was such a high maintenance babe that Saxman and I were sure we didn't want anymore kids.  But then she grew out of that phase and we realized maybe we could handle a second.  When our second daughter was born she was a fairly "easy" baby (as easy as babies can really be).  We decided at that point that we were happy with two.  But every so often I start to wonder, what would it be like to have one more?  Could we handle it?  My husband definitely does not want more kids.  I am pretty sure I don't but sometimes when I see a pregnant mama or a mama with a newborn I get a little case of baby fever.  Is this just me grieving the fact that my babies aren't really babies anymore?  Do I really want another child or do I just feel a little sad that that stage of our lives is completely over?  How do you know when you are done birthing babes?

Hippie Sensibilities

Hippie Sensibilities is a term a dear friend uses to describe things that I like.  My dansko clogs, my choice of bags, the colors that I choose for pedicures, my REI raincoats.  She would always say that certain things speak to my hippie sensibilities.  She is much more stylish than I am and I think she often tries to help me be more with it and cool.  It is hard to take the hippie out of the girl.  Maybe that is why I like Portland so much.  I can wear my dansko clogs with my dress trousers and feel dressed up and yet comfortable at the same time.  In Portland comfortable is not a dirty word.  You will never find me wearing pointy toed shoes or cutting my hair in a style that requires more than 10 minutes of work to make it look cute or purchasing clothes for my kids that say "dry clean only".  Why you ask?  Because those things just do not speak to my hippie sensibilities.

Why Barbie?

Do we ever stop imposing our own likes and dislikes on our children? I was thinking about this the other day as I was arguing with my three year old over why I wouldn't purchase her a Barbie. After all she doesn't know who Barbie is, she just thinks she is a blond princess ballerina. I remember being little and wanting all the Barbies that my friends had, but my mom's reasoning to me when I was five was that they promoted a bad body image for girls. Now that didn't mean crap to me at five, but it does now. I eventually got a whole group of Barbies and I don't ever remember thinking I want to be Barbie. In fact my friend and I ended up turning all of our Barbies into punk rockers with green mohawks and safety pin clothes, but I digress.

The whole point I am trying to make is that I don't remember caring why I couldn't have Barbies, I just remember them being so fun to play with at my friends house and that my mom, the meanie, wouldn't let me have some too. Now I have this great dislike for Barbie, I just don't want Cat to have them. So I try to introduce other dolls, Groovy Girls for instance, they don't have huge breast sans nipples like Barbie.

I want my daughters to discover on their own what they like and what they don't. I just need to stop grimacing when they spot a Barbie. And so help me God if my mom buys them Barbies I will be beyond pissed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Happy Birthday to Theo!

Monday was a very special person's birthday. Theo turned 6 years old! Theo is my best friends little boy. I was there when his mom and dad got married (and where I met Saxman) and I was there when he was born. He was at our wedding just 6 months later in a cute little suit just for the occasion. I remember him sitting next to me happily chewing on my veil as we ate dinner. He has turned into such a sweet, intelligent, funny little man. I think that Cat is going to have a huge crush on him when she gets older. She loves playing with him now and can't wait for his family to come visit us at the end of this month.

So Happy Birthday Theo, I hope all your wishes came true!