Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mom Enough for Two?

For the most part, I am pretty confident in my mothering abilities.  
When my HootOwl was born, Garrett and I went into parenting with very few expectations of ourselves – all we expected was to love her and keep her safe, and do the best we could for her.  When you enter situations with few expectations, you are less likely to be disappointed when you can’t live up to them – turns out that the only place that the Clark Griswold Effect hasn’t plagued my life is in the parenting department.
But lately, in my hormonal state, with Carly’s due date looming down on me (9 weeks and 1 day – but who is counting?) my confidence is wavering some.  I have moments of panic and total anxiety, where I am thinking to myself, “How can I do this with TWO?” and even (I have so much mommy guilt over this one) “What if I can’t love a second one as much as I love the first?”
Honestly, how can everyone get what they need?  Hoot is used to being the center of my world, and Carly will never be afforded the undivided attention that Hoot has had. 
I feel like I am drowning in laundry and dishes with one kid here – what will happen with a toddler and a newborn?  My husband and I argue about the state of affairs in the housekeeping area often these days, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time/energy/attention to cover everything, and if I have to choose something to suffer, I will choose the house every time – I know that someday when I kids are grown I will not wish that I played with them less so that I had had a neater house. 
I am already running behind on time everywhere I go with just myself one kid to get ready.  I am going to have to camp out at places like hair appointments and story hour and other places where I want to be on time (or even close) when there are two kids! LOL
I feel like if it is this way with one, am I really qualified for two?  There is no on-the-job training for nursing a newborn while wrangling a defiant toddler whose new favorite phrase is, “NO, NO, MAMA!!” or rinsing poop out of  tiny onesies with one hand and supervising a big girl on the potty with the other – or for the million other scenarios that will no doubt come up in just the first two days alone. LOL
Most concerning to me is the worries I have over loving them enough.  I love Hayden so fiercely it hurts – how can I feel that times two?  Is it even possible to have that much going on in your heart and not just implode?  Or does someone have to get less from me?  Will I look at my sweet little Carly Kate and feel the same way that I felt the first time I saw Hootie?  Will she just join her sister in the center of my world and my love will just double?  I like to think that love isn’t a finite thing – that there isn’t just X-amount of it and it has to divide between my kids, that it will multiply two-fold – but at this time I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around it even being possible.
Don’t get me wrong – I am excited to start this adventure, I can’t wait to meet CarlyBug and I have faith in the fact that this family will find a new normal and that everyone will grow and blossom.  But right now it feels so overwhelming.  It feels like my two girls under two are going to bring on a world of chaos that I cannot prepare myself for.
For now, I am trying to get back to that place of lower expectations, faith that things work out as they should. 
Mostly, I have to remember one thing – dirty dishes in the sink, mountain of laundry aside,  I AM MOM ENOUGH FOR MY KIDS.  I am mom enough becasue I am doing my best and giving this family everything that I have.  That alone is enough for now.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Curious Tale Of The Potty Seat Meltdown

Don’t you just love when you are in Wal-Mart and you hear someone’s kid, freaking out, having a screaming fit? 
Today that was my kid.
Thankfully, Hootie’s fits always seem worse to her embarrassed mother than they are to the people around us because she is generally a pretty easy going kid, but in the moment it feels like all eyes are on you and you are putting out a wildfire with a garden hose.
In honesty, today’s fit was a little bit funny to me.
We were there to buy diapers (you will see the irony in this in a minute LOL) and we headed for the back of the store.  You know they do that on purpose, right?  They put the diapers at the back of the store so thatif,  in a moment of insanity, you try to run into Wal-Mart just a little too close to naptime, you will have to parade a tired and cranky (really cranky) toddler through the entire store. 
We got to the back wall where the diapers are relatively unscathed, although I could see by the look in my daughter’s eyes that we were headed toward nuclear meltdown and it was going to happen fast.
I paused (big mistake) in the baby section to look at those cups that you use to wash a kids hair, wondering if I should buy one, when Hayden spotted the catalyst for her meltdown – an Elmo potty seat, similar to this one.

She reached over and grabbed the seat off the shelf, saying, “Oooo – Elmo! BiBir! Nur-nee! Cookie!” and I replied, “Oh, that is a great potty seat.  Someday soon we will buy one just like that if you want that kind, but not today.” And I went to put the potty seat back on the shelf.
And Hayden began to WAIL.
I looked around, frantic to see if anyone was watching us.  A couple of other moms with small kids lurked around the area, and while it was not many and they probably had more sympathy than judgment running through their minds, I wish that they would disappear.  Or maybe that I could.
At this point, I was prying the potty seat from my daughter’s hands.  She was tearfully exclaiming, “No no, Mama! Elmo!”
“Sister, it is a potty.  You are not potty trained.  We came here to buy diapers. Say bye-bye to the Elmo potty,” I said, trying to say calm.  The crying continued.  We walked away.  I picked up our diapers, and in an attempt to distract her from her broken heart, I handed off to Hootie.
“Look at the baby on the package, Haydie.  See the baby? How cute!!” I said, pointing  at the baby on the diaper package.  She looked, grabbed the diapers from my hand and threw them into the cart. 
The pouting commenced.
Sure, she was quieter now, thank God, but still not very tearful and clearly upset over her new obsession – the Elmo potty seat. We started to walk away, Hayden still crying, “Potty!! No no, Mama! Elmo potty! BiBir! Nur-nee! Potty!”
Now, in retrospect, I guess that I should have just bought the stupid potty.  I am not sure she is actually ready to USE a potty, but she has surprised me before.  The other lurking mothers probably thought, “Good lord, woman! Buy that child a potty!” because she of course chose this as the perfect time to (through her tears) speak clearly and appear much older than 17 months - and here I am arguing with her that she is too little for a potty, that we are getting diapers.
Like I said, I am trying to decide if I should have given in and bought the damn thing.  And, like I said, I am not convinced that she is ready to actually use a potty seat, but this is not the first time that she has shown some interest in the potty situation.  She loves to watch us go potty, and loves to point at the toilet and say say, “Mama! Pew!” (charming, I know) and she when she poops in her diaper (or even toots) she has started crying, “Pew! Pew! Pew!” until we change her. 
She even gave her Dada a specialy gift yesterday morning (Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! LOL) as he was making her some eggs – she ran over to him, saying, “Pew! Dada! Pew!” and when he turned around, he discovered that she had gotten a head start on the changing her own crappy diaper, which she had removed herself and was handing to him, poop and all.  (Again, charming, I know.)
At any rate, we are headed toward potty training someday one way or another.  I am thinking that it should wait until after CarlyBug is born, but we will see how it plays out.  For now, I will log in my memory bank that Hayden would like an Elmo potty seat and to avoid that aisle until we are ready to get one – and most of all, I will log into my memory bank that from now until forever, it is wise to avoid Wal-Mart like the plague too close to naptime!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there - especially my own Dad and my husband, Garrett. 

Sorry, world - my girls and I lucked out.  They really are the two best dads in the world.  :)  It's okay - your husband doesn't have to take off his brand new #1 Dad Tshirt - I won't tell him.

Here is a little video tribute to my husband that Hayden and I put together for him. 

Enjoy your day, Dads!! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The New Night-time Routine

Three weeks ago when Hayden started sleeping upstairs in her own room, I pictured it being a huge mess that would leave us all exhausted and would surely become a battle of the wills – but I have been pleasantly surprised.  She has only woke up in the middle of the night and required her big fat pregnant Mama to waddle upstairs twice in the last three weeks.
That’s right, my child, the terrible sleeper, sleeps through the night.  She has even been taking 2 hour naps during the day.  She hasn’t done that since she was new.  It is amazing.  In 17 months, this family has not slept all night for three nights in row, much less three weeks.  And the added bonus of two hours in the middle of the day?  Like I said, AMAZING.
I am enjoying my sleep and a little bit of time to take a nap or sit idle do housework (haha) but there is something about all of this that I am enjoying even more.
Hoots has made the cutest little bedtime routine for herself.
At around 8:30 or so, she starts losing her patience and getting a little sleepy.  We give her a glass of milk and a graham cracker or a banana as a little snack before bed and when that is gone, she is ready.
She gathers up “Mow” (a grey stuffed kitten), “Baby” (the little soft princess dolly that we brought her from Italy), and her “bopby” (one of her white muslin swaddling blankets from her babyhood) – these three items always travel together at all times.  Like a little Bedtime Trifecta.
She toddles over to her daddy and says, “Nigh-night, Dada.” And the do a regular kiss, eskimo kisses, and “beeps” (pressing noses together and saying, in the cutest little squeaky voice Hootie says, “BeeEEEeeep!”  I love this part!!) 
Next she says nigh-night to each dog, showering them with as many kisses as each will sit still for, and then she hands me the Bedtime Trifecta, one at a time, carefully saying each of their names in her tiny, squeaky little voice: “Mowwww. Bay-beee. Bopby…. Nigh-night!” and toddles off up the stairs. I follow.
We sit in the rocking chair together and we snuggle.  Since she moved to her own room, she has become very interested  in the concept of nigh-night and the fact that everyone goes nigh-night.  And every kid needs a stall tactic at bedtime, right? 
Our conversation goes like this:
Me: Nigh-night, tiny angel. I love you.
Her: Yub yoo.  (pause) Mama?
Me: Yes, baby?
Her: Nigh-night?
Me: Yes.  Close your eyes and go night-night.
Her: Dada?  Nigh-night?
Me: Yes, he is downstairs.  He will go night-night soon.  Now close your eyes.
Her: Pampa nigh-night?
Me: Yes, Grampa is night-night at his house.
Her:  And Amma?
Me: Yes, Gramma, too.
Her: Gunkle?
Me: Uncle is also night-night. At his house.  Close your eyes.
(At this point I think she is getting sleepy because there is a long pause.  Suddenly, and a little too loudly, she is talking again.)
Her: MAMA!?
Me: Hayden.
Her: Piper nigh-night?
Me: Yes. Shhh. (Good thing it is dark, because it makes me smile.)
Her: And Yoy-ya?
Me: Sawyer too.
Her: Ry-ree? (Riley is my brother’s dog, she lives at my parents’ house – not even our dog. LOL)
Me: She is night-night, too.  Everyone is night-night except Haydie.
(This is where she goes through all of my parents’ dogs, our friends’ dogs, and usually repeats Piper and Sawyer, too.  And now, even though her eyes are heavy and hard for her to keep open, things get silly.)
Her: And Elmo nigh-night?
Me: Yes.
Her: (in a monster voice) COOKIE!!?
Me: Cookie Monster is nigh-night on Sesame Street.
Her: BidBir?
Me: Big Bird sleeps in a nest.
Her: Nur-neeee, no no. No no, Nur-Neee!
Me: Yeah, you are right. (After all, Ernie never sleeps.  He is too busy bothering Burt.)
Her: Bur?
(I do not answer, thinking that maybe ignoring her will make stop.  Again, good thing it is dark or she would see that I actually think it is cute and funny.)
Her: Mama? Bur?
Me: (Still ignoring.)
Her: MAMA!! BUR?!
Me: (sigh) Yes, Burt is sleeping. Night-night Burt.  Night-night, Hayden.
This goes on through every man, woman, child, dog, and muppet she can think of.  It is so cute and funny, and she doesn’t realize it, but it actually makes her sleepy to lie in my arms and talk about all of the people (and animals and monsters and whatever else) that are important to my little girl and she dozes off.
I kiss her little head and whisper some mama-love into her ear and lay her down for the night.  I arrange the Mow/Baby/Bopby Trifecta just so on the pillow next to her sleepy head.  She looks like a tiny little angel, sleeping there. 
And as I walk down the stairs, smiling to myself about her bedtime routine, I count my blessings again.  Man, I am lucky to have such a sweet, smart, funny little girl to call mine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Fearless Fish

We are finally seeing the heat here!  We have some wonderful friends who happen to have a  swimming pool,and when the days are hot, we can all be found enjoying eachother around the pool.

Last summer, Hootie was just a wee little thing at the pool.  Here is some Vintage Hoots to warm your heart:

Isn't she adorable??  And tiny??

Well, those days are gone - well, the tiny - not the adorable.  LOL  The adorable is never ending, but she isn't a a baby anymore!

She wasn't afraid for one minute.  She is fearless.  I called her my Fearless Fish.  She is a swimmer.

So, c'mon, Summer - BRING IT.  ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It Ain't Easy Bein' P.

This is my best friend.

The trouble with her is (as is the trouble with so many women’s best friends) she is a hot mess.
In the six years that Piper Penelope has been on Earth, she has been proving to us that she is the worst dog ever. 
For starters, she is the bossiest and most demanding dog on Earth.  Seriously.  If she was a person, no one would like her.  She woofs at us whenever she thinks we should be feeding her (which is all the time), and she does not take no for an answer.  She has no respect for people’s personal space AT ALL.  She will force her way onto a lap, or under the covers of our bed, or wherever else she thinks a pug belongs (like under the Boppy pillow while you nurse a baby) – usually uninvited, not that she cares. LOL
She has some kind of dog eating disorder, I think.  She will eat anything.  ANYTHING.
She nearly died when she was 16 weeks old because she ate two boxes of rat poison. We didn’t know that she had gotten into anything until it was almost too late, and she was on the brink of death.  We were really lucky, and our last ditch effort to save her (huge doses of vitamin K and an emergency blood transfusion from my mom’s chocolate lab, Lottie, who happens to be my lab, Sawyer Brown's, mother) worked and she lived to eat many more things she wasn’t supposed to.
She loves to get in the trash, and once ate an entire carcass of a rotisserie chicken, bones and all, not a scrap of it left.  She has eaten a million diapers (I know, so gross) and even knows how to empty a Diaper Genie.  WTH?  What other 18 pound dog can drag a full (30 pound) Diaper Genie into the next room and empty it?  Aren’t those supposed to be impenetrable to dogs?
 I can’t tell you how many times we have come home to find that she has been on the dining room table and emptied my purse, to eat some  mints or a pack of gum – and thousands or Chap Sticks and lip balms have been eaten.  Her favorite – Burt’s Bees.  It is like peppermint flavored crack to Piper.

She has stolen and (consumed in their entirety) steaks and apples and boxes of uncooked macaroni and cheese from the grocery bags.  She is so fast at this, it happens in the blink of an eye.  And I can’t even begin to tell you what she has stolen off of unattended plates or from the hand of a kid whose guard was down. 
She once ate a 1 pound bag of cocoa mix – in my car.  Talk about a MESS.  There was cocoa EVERYWHERE – and she made sure to lick it so that it became a gross brown paste on the upholstery.   Lovely.
When I was 38 weeks pregnant with Hayden, she ate an entire package of Golden Oreos, which she pilfered off of the kitchen counter during some crazy covert operation which involved jumping from furniture to furniture and pulling a giant cardboard box on the floor and  opening the sealed package of cookies before she could gorge herself.  The results of this were a late night, weekend, emergency trip to the vet and an overnight stay for acute pancreatitis from eating too much.  Oh, Piper, why that didn’t send me into labor, I will never know.
Through all of this, I maintain an undying love for this dog.  Hot mess or not, she is my baby.  I have a socially unacceptable love for a socially unacceptable dog.  She drives Garrett crazy, and I defend her every action and try to remind him how cute this face is.

How can you stay mad at that?  She is  just so cute and sweet and pathetic.  I just love her.
Aside from just having bad behavior and bad eating habits, about a year ago, my girl started having seizures.  This is truly heart breaking.  There is nothing worse than watching your best friend/first baby having a seizure and being able to do nothing about it but be there, comforting her and keeping her safe until she comes back to you.  Well, nothing worse except maybe the knowledge that sometimes it happens when no one is here to be with her. :(
When we came back from Rome, Piper was acting really weird and not like herself.  So yet another emergency, weekend trip  to the vet was made (Of the one million times that Piper has been to the vet, only one or two have not been an afterhours visit – read: twice as much money owed to said vet… oh, Piper. LOL) and we assumed that she hurt herself during a seizure and she got a shot of muscle relaxer, an antibiotic, and some anti-inflammatory for us to take home. 
*cha-ching* That will be $300, please.
Well, she got better, but had two relapses of this mystery ailment in the last month, so I started to get concerned again.  The more I watched her, the less I belived it was her back or neck or something having to do with her body.  Part od what made me second guess the injured back was that she was still able to get up on the table or into the trash to eat things she wasn’t supposed to the second I stepped foot into the garage.  Again, oh, Piper.
Well, I took her back to the vet yesterday and he did some blood tests.  Her full blood/chem panel came back totally normal – no infection, poison, liver or kidney issues.  In fact, other than the Seizures, she is as healthy as a puppy.  We are waiting on the results of her phenobarbital levels – we think that maybe her meds need upped.  The too low levels are making her have more seizures, and they must be happening in a part of her brain that affects balance or gives her head aches.  Poor little thing.  I hope it all gets figured out soon, with no more trips to the vet.
Yesterday cost us another $204.  That means that we have spent more than $500 on Piper in the last month.  LOL Honestly, this feels like nothing – if we were to add up all of the costs we have incurred at the vet’s office over the last six years of having Piper in our family, it would be enough to make you sick.  We try not to think about it.
We try to look on the bright side.  As I type, she is cuddled up next to me, snoring her sweet little puggy snore, happy as can be. She is always here to snuggle, she is like a hilarious little clown, and Hayden loves her beyond words – she is a huge part of this family.  We chose to bring Piper into this family - badness, seizures, insatiable appetite, vet bills and all.  Some people may have given her away or taken her to a shelter or the pound by now.  But that is not how we work around here – we don’t just discard family members when they are not what we thought they were going to be.  We made a commitment to Piper – we committed to loving her and taking care of her for her whole life, no matter how many times she nearly ends that life with her antics.
And the way I see it, as I look at the smooshed little face resting on my baby bump, I am the one who is getting the sweet end of the deal. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

try this - I'll bet that even your kids will eat it!

It has been a while since I wrote out a recipe for all of you out there in Blog Land - I will try to be better.  I promise.  Consider this easy little gem an offering of repentance.  It is so easy, so cheap, and so tasty, you will forget all about how negligent i have been in the cooking department.  :)  And I bet your kids will eat it, too.
Sorry - no pictures - we ate it all before I had a chance to snap any.  Naughty me.  :)

Spaghetti with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Onions

1 1lb box of spaghetti
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
1 package of diced butternut squash (You can buy a whole winter squash and dice it yourself – it is cheaper but it is hard and time consuming.  It will make this 15 minute dinner take longer, but that is up to you.)
4-5 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
4 tbsp of olive oil
A pat (or three) of butter
A drizzle of honey
¾ cup of whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for serving

Start a big pot of salted water boiling for your pasta. 
In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, butter, onion, garlic, salt pepper, and honey.  Cook until golden and caramelized – the squash will be pretty squishy at this point, which is good.   It gets sweeter and yummier as you let it get brown and caramelized, as do the onions, so let it go.  The mixture will cook to a deep orangey brown, but keep the heat a little lower so that it doesn’t burn.  That would taste gross.
When your water boils, drop your pasta in there.  Let it cook to al dente.
When the squash is sufficiently brown, add milk and let the sauce thicken over the heat, stirring the whole time. 
Toss sauce and pasta together and sprinkle with Parmesan to serve.  Enjoy!  Hoot scarfs this one down like it is candy! LOL
Also: if you wanted to add some meat to this dish, I would suggest Italian sweet sausage removed from it’s casing and browned, added to the sauce.  Sausage and orange veg = a match made in heaven. J