Monday, April 30, 2007

Another day, another tantrum and I'm a Greek!

Daughter is showing her 2-year-old colors lately. Yesterday and today have been particularly difficult. The girl yells and cries about EVERYTHING. The smallest thing can set her off -- like not getting her doll's shoes on or not getting to sit in the blue carseat because cousin got there first. It's not a little whine or gentle tears... it's like world war III around here. I've noted before that her volume control is broken and only works on the highest setting. I was so frustrated today that I told her I was going to drop her off at the zoo because she was being a bad little monkey. Well, that didn't go over so well:)
I was half hoping that she might be sick or something... anything to explain this frustrating behavior. But she is sleeping well and eating well, so I don't think a $40 visit to the doctor is warranted. I am trying to help her through her frustrations, but I don't know if I'm doing more harm than good. Husband thinks I should totally ignore her (easy for him to say from the comfort of his office) but I feel that she needs some comfort and extra love to show her that it's OK to be 2 and to feel a bit out of control. God knows I feel out of control about 70% of the time.

In her happier moments, daughter has taken to calling me "Greek". The only explanation I can come up with is that she was trying to call me a geek, but once she said Greek, it sort of stuck. So she'll tell me she's hungry and I'll say, "we'll have a snack in a little while" and she'll reply, "Okay, Greek." She is adding this new nickname for me all the time now. If I tell her something she'll simply reply, "Yes, Greek" or "fine, Greek". I tried to tell her that my grandparents are Irish and husband is most likely of German or Swedish heritiage (he's adopted) and that our family has been American for a two generations. She doesn't seem to care.
Greece is on the top of my list of places to visit if we ever get a chance to leave this continent.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Love our weather

This week we have had unbelievably gorgeous weather here in So. Cal. The kids and I are walking everywhere and they've been having such fun playing with water in the backyard. A few buckets, some cups and water go a long way with preschoolers. Now if I only had the energy to spruce up the backyard a bit....

New day and shirtsleeves

OK... so I promised to post about yesterday's chaos to compare it to the previous day. But I've changed my mind. Why dwell on it? Sure, there are days where everyone is out of control and the house seems trashed, but I think I'd rather pick up and move on.

I think I'll gripe about something else instead -- my husband's shirts.
I love my husband dearly and he is a great father, but I wish the man would freaking unroll his shirtsleeves before he puts his shirts in the hamper! I've mentioned it to him before and he complied for about 5 days before he went back to his old habits. It probably takes me an extra 5 seconds to unroll the sleeves but it's more what those rolled sleeves represent. When I'm having a particularly tough day and feeling overwhelmed with work and then the constant work of caring for the household duties and kids, those sleeves can throw me over the edge. I start thinking to myself, "he doesn't respect my time and all the work I do around here... blah, blah,blah!"
Oh, man, I have have some crazy fights with him in my head. But those feelings have usually subsided by the time he gets home from work and I realize that he could very well be thinking "I can't believe she went out and bought more plants today. I work hard for our money and I need some new shirts."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Serenity and Chaos

Two days. Same set of kids. Two completely different outcomes. Beware... boring play-by-play of day's events.
Yesterday was just about as perfect as it could get. Kids woke up and ate breakfast and complied with getting dressed. We made it to son's preschool on time and daughter and I headed to pick up cousin Ben. Ben seemed a bit pouty, but I just kept joking with him and pushing his buttons until he decided to lighten up. We headed out to my mom's for a visit and to drop off some old baby clothes for a sis-in-law. Took my mom's dog for a walk, grabbed a coffee and had a nice visit. Then Amanda, Ben and I went to get my car washed. Kids were angelic and enjoyed playing near the fountain at the car wash. We then headed to a local Mexican restaurant (I use the term lightly because it is very Americanized Mexican food) and both kids ate their meals and left little mess.
We then dropped by the preschool for Lucas pickup and the kids had fun running around the grassy area. Nap time was up next and even Lucas decided to partake in the nap. We didn't have to get girl cousin because she had a date with her mom.
Kids woke up from nap... they had a somewhat healthy snack outside and then they had a blast playing in the water out back for close to an hour. Sis-in-law came to collect boy cousin about
4 p.m. and then Lucas, Amanda and I walked down to the market to stock up on band-aids. Lucas walked the mile in each direction without even one complaint. We headed home and they got to watch and episode of Scooby-Doo while I made homemade pizza and salad and they ate heartily. Husband appeared about 6:30 and then quickly disappeared for his jog so the kids and I headed out to the library. We picked out some books and videos and checkout was a non-event. Came home, read some books, colored a bit and the kids hit the hay. I cleaned up the kitchen, answered a few emails and then sat and watched Lost with husband and enjoyed an Amstel Light.
How much better can it get. I had high hopes for today.
I'll be back later for the play-by-play and maybe you have some answers as to where I went wrong.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jogging and old friend found Jesus... was he lost?

I'm up to jogging about 3 evenings a week on the treadmill! Thanks Husband!
We trade off nights to jog and it is working out well, so far. My mood has already improved and Husband even said I seem less cranky:)

I recently got in touch with an old friend. We met when we were 11 and when we were about 22 we totally lost touch. She got married and had a child at age 21 and I was off moving around the country. As I've mentioned before, my 15 year high school reunion is coming up and that is how she found me. We finally spoke yesterday for the first time in like 11 years! I won't go into detail about her former self... but she was a "party girl" with a good heart. She is still married to the same man and they have both "found the word" or went back to the Lord... I can't remember what she said exactly because I was knocked to the floor with her constant talk of the Bible and Jesus. I've written briefly here about my own struggles with religion and trying to find my way. I admit I'm confused and often searching for something to believe in. I am so happy that she has found peace and fulfillment with her church but I can't help thinking that we will find little common ground now. She talked about her friends who aren't on the same path as her and said that their problems in life stem from the fact that they aren't following Jesus' teachings. I do have a problem with that. Any religion that I do decide to bring to my children (if I do) would have to be accepting and believing that God doesn't punish those who don't believe a certain way. I am for gay rights, women's rights, and mostly a liberal point of view. I wouldn't teach my children that other kids are suffering because their parents don't read the Bible. Anyway, I hope that this old friendship can become a new friendship because I really need a good friend now. I'm lonely for the friendship women share and at times feel almost desparate to be able to hang out with some girls. But that's for another post.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In-law visit and old stomping grounds

I'll start this post off by saying that I couldn't ask for better in-laws. I've finally started accepting that they really do like me and GD, they love my kids. They are the most accepting, loving people. They are willing to help out in any capacity if only I could learn how to ask for help.
The O.C. Crouses headed up Friday afternoon and the kids were ready -- it's only been a few weeks since their last visit, so not enough time for the kids to have forgotten how much they love the grandparents Crouse. On Saturday afternoon we headed to the local Arbor Day festival and we ran into the kids' pediatrician. We love her! But it was strange seeing her outside her office -- it's like when I was a kid and I saw a teacher in a store or something.... you mean they don't live in the classroom!!!

The grandparents only got on my nerves only a tad and there weren't too many comments like, "didn't mommy bring your sweater" or, during a diaper change where daughter fussses, "is mommy hurting you." Yeah, those sort of things get to me. There are some other little things that irk me, but I'm beginning to realize that these things are my problem -- my pettiness or crankiness -- and nothing I should complain about.

Husband and I got a little time off Saturday and we headed to a restaurant we used to frequent back in pre-kid days. We lingered over a long dinner and a glass of wine. While it seemed like a long dinner at the time, we looked at our watch and it had only been like 45 minutes. We realized the kids wouldn't even be in bed yet and we better find something else to do. It's funny, once you have kids, any mealtime that involves more than 20 minutes of continuous sitting is a long meal. We weren't quite sure what to do in our quiet town and then I suggested heading over to the good 'ole Crown and Anchor. It's a British Pub that we used to go to in our youth:)
It hasn't changed much, even the kids in there are still the same age we were 6 or 7 years ago. Only Husband and I seem to have gotten older. We grabbed a pint and settled into the cozy bar. We mostly enjoyed watching our former selves. It was really creepy and cool. To think that used to be us on many Saturday nights... enjoying one too many pints, heading outside for smoke, acting cool around the guys (me) or seeming nonchalant around the ladies (husband). It now seems so boring and my life with the kids and a quiet evening at home with Husband is so much more exciting and fulfilling. Gawd I'm old!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My birthday and vision test

I can't see what I'm typing right now so we'll see if those high school typing classes paid off.

Along with being the day of my birth, April 19 is also the day the revolutionay war started with the Battle of Lexington. I've always been proud to share my day with such a moment in our nation's history -- ever since I was little I felt like I was somehow special because of my birthday and the birth of our nation. Crazy, I know, but a kid has got to find some reason to feel special.
I am saddened to see where our nation is now more than 130 years later.

Before I turned 30 all birthdays were depressing to me. I didn't want to get older. Once I hit the big one, though, it hasn't seemed like such a big deal. So I'm 33, what's the big deal? Day started off with husband going out for doughnuts. Bless his heart, I can't seem to convince him that I hate eating doughnuts for breakfast. I don't think I've felt good about eating a doughnut since I was a little kid. But he doesn't get it and it's his way of saying he loves me because the man can't cook. So, I ate a doughnut and felt like hell the rest of the morning.
I took the day off work and the kids and I met my mom for lunch. They were well behaved and ate nothing but french fries and canteloupe. We headed over to sis-in-law's house and the wonderwoman had baked me a carrot cake (my fav).. Sis-in-law is an awesome mom, a fabulous cook and baker and she is always doing things for other people. God bless her! But she has such a hard time letting people do things for her.
Anyway, if you ever meet her you'll want to be her friend.

I left my kids with sis-in-law and headed over to my first adult eye appointment. I've been feeling like my vision when driving isn't so great so I thought I better get checked out since I carry precious cargo. Turns out my eyes are perfect and the problem is that I work on the computer all day and my eyes just need a little tlc -- eye drops.
Can't wait to see my doctor bill!
The good doctor (he really is) dilated my eyes and it is freaky.
I don't have the kids this afternoon because sis-in-law is going to watch them so hubby and I can go and have sushi after he gets home from work. So here I am with about 2 hours of time where I could write or read and I can't do either (except write this post, which probably will be filled with errors.)
I can't watch television, not that I'd want to. But what is a person with a mind that doesn't stop supposed to do without vision. I guess I can go and clean the house since mom and dad-in-law are coming for a visit tomorrow.
Not my idea of "me time" but I guess the bathtubs are calling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

They say the strangest things

Husband and I are refinancing our home loan right now (fun!) and the travelling notary came over this evening to have us sign away our lives. The crazy thing is that our son and daughter will be the same age as husband and I, respectively, when we pay off our house. Ack!
Anyway, the woman walked in as we were finishing up dinner and son went to greet her. He turned to me and said, "Mommy, is that grandma?"
I don't think she heard and I quickly shooed him into the other room.
This woman is younger than me -- so she's like 20 -- so I don't have any idea why he would ask such a strange question. She doesn't look anything like either of his grandmas.

We got some bad news today... my younger sister's dog, who has lived with my brother and his wife for the past 6 years (long story) has cancer. I see Sunshine a few times a week and he is a great dog. He loves my brother and gets severly depressed if Tom has to leave for any amount of time. The poor dog has a tumor the size of a bowling ball on his spleen. The vet is thinking that the cancer might not have spread so he's going to remove the spleen and hopefully Sunshine will be with us for a few more years. I hope.
My sister-in-law is now calling Sunshine her "bathroom dog". She had saved up a bit of cash to redo one of her bathrooms and now this surgery will deplete most of those funds. But it's a small price to pay for a loyal friend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Son is starving and lilac splurge

Since day one my son has never been a big eater. He just never seemed to interested in food and even if you gave him some chocolate, he might take a bite and say, "I'll save the rest for later."
Daughter is the exact opposite and has been a hungry girl since day one -- give her a king size candy bar (not that I have) and I'm sure she would try her best to polish it off.
This all changed over the past month or so. The child is hungry from morning until bed -- and often complains of hunger even as we're tucking him in. It is so difficult because he doesn't want to sit down and eat a large amount, he just wants to nibble all day long. I am going out of my mind because I feel like his slave trapped in the kitchen or forced to prepare snacks all day.
I can find healthy things he'll eat, but then that means that the dinner I've planned will only be touched a bit and then 40 minutes later he'll be wanting another snack. He's gone from eating about 5 times a day (3 meals and 2 snacks) to eating about 8 times a day.
Husband is type 1 diabetic, so we were a little worried about this. Although son hasn't been extremely thirsty, hunger is one sign. We took him in to the doc, who said it was probably just a growth spurt but tested him anyway -- blood sugar was good.
In any case, I hope this ends soon. When he is a teenager and tries to eat us out of house and home that will be fine because he can prepare his own snacks and clean up after himself.

I'm writing this while dinner is in the oven and the kids are listening to a book on tape. My son has said that he is hungry about 5 times. I've given him about a cup of cottage cheese to hold him off til dinner comes out and he polished that off quickly. He just said he's still hungry and I swear, it's like nails on a chalkboard when he says that now. I just want to scream, "what do you want me to do about it? Dinner is in the oven!" I'm confused over why I am getting so irritated when he constantly informs me about his hunger. I must be feeling frustrated because I'm constantly preparing food for people in this house and then cleaning up after everyone all day long -- with the addition of neice and nephew three days a week, it can become a bit much. I guess it's just one of those days and I'll be glad when husband gets home and I can go and escape to the treadmill.

Well, shit, I was going to write about the beautiful lilac I bought this afternoon but now I'm too annoyed to write about anything pretty.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Death of the nap and momma can jog

I knew the end was near but I didn't want to admit it. It's been coming for about 6 months now but I tried to ignore it. Yes, son's nap is no more. OK, so my friends tell me I am freaking lucky to have gotten almost 4.5 years of naps out of the kid, but now I have lost about an hour and a half of work that I used to get done during the day. This past week has been difficult because my workload is large and son decided that sleeping during the day is for sissys (that would be sisters). Son is one who usually needs a playmate in order to play. This is so unlike my daughter who I can forget about because she'll go hang out in her room and "read" books, play with her dollhouse or color for long periods at a time. Son prefers that I actively play with him. I do try to do this for a few set blocks of time during the day, but man, I've got to work.
I'm going to have to insist on a hour of quiet time in his room each day, but I feel so guilty about this. But I figure, I already feel guilty about everything else, so what's one more item on my list.

Before I had children I worked out religiously. It was 5 times a week and I really enjoyed being fit and I figured that maybe it was cancelling out some of my vices (wine and smokes). I gave up the vices, along with the exercise. I worked out until I was 8 months pregnant with son. Although I dropped my pg weight quickly, it took a lot longer for me to get back on the fitness track. And then after daughter was conceived, well, let's just say the only exercise I get is running after the kids or walking to the store or park. Husband is good about getting on the treadmill a few times a week but I just can't find the energy or the time. Today I had the time and I did it. Yep, I hopped on that treadmill and it felt good. I walked/ran a 5K and my time was abyssmal but that's OK... it's been almost three years since I did that. My 15 year reunion is in just a month and my goal is to be up to at least 4 days of treadmill time by then.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mommy needs a nap and son likes broccoli

This afternoon I dragged the kiddos to the fancy part of town to leave some papers with our accountant. I was feeling a bit sluggish and my daughter picked up on my yawns from her carseat. She said, "you tired mommy?" I said that I was, to which she replied, "mommy, you need a nap." "Yes, I do," I said, "but who is going to watch you and your brother while I nap." Son said that Dad could watch them, but I reminded him that Dad was still at work. So I asked again who could watch them and son replied, "Well, we could just call 911."
We've been talking with him recently about what to do in emergency situations and showing him how to use the phone if he needs to call someone. I guess we need to do a bit more work.

The accountant has a nice office overlooking a local lake. Husband and I used to go there a lot with son to have lunch and walk around to see the ducks. It was cheap, peaceful fun. The kids had a great time watching the ducks, pretending to fish and trying to break open their heads while rock climbing.

With all of the running around the kids worked up a good appetite. I served up dinner and they ate happily. Son started to eye the broccoli on my plate and he asked for some. I had to surpress the urge to do a flip over the table and I calmly gave him a few pieces. He ate them up and asked for more, saying, "Broccoli is my favorite vegetable."
Um... since when? I used to offer it to him all the time when he was a toddler -- you know, the rule to put something on a kid's plate 15 times and they'll eventually try it. Well, that never worked out so well. But tonight was a success and I'm stoked. I love broccoli and eat it a few times a week. Let's see if daughter follows brother's lead.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A night out with Terry Gross

So last September or October my local public ration station (which I love) was holding its fall membership drive. I have a love/hate relationship with the membership drive. I usually renew my membership early in the drive and then later on they start offering cool gifts to donors and I'm like, "damn, I should have waited because I could really use a bottle of wine, a new book or cool t-shirt."
Last fall, after I had renewed, they said they were giving donors the opportunity at early ticket sales for Terry Gross (host of Fresh Air) who was coming to my town. I was sad that I missed a chance to get a first chance at tickets. I love Fresh Air, so I really thought tickets would sell out quickly. I mentioned this to my husband but he didn't say much about it.
On Christmas '06 he surprised me with tickets to the show. I was like, "what, they didn't sell out? Cool!"
The show was this evening and I was a little dismayed when listening to kclu today to hear that there were still tickets available. Then I remembered that I live in a fairly conservtive city.
Anyway, husband and I were excited for an entertaining night out -- something that doesn't happen much here in the suburbs. Mom came over early to watch the kiddos and husband and I had a chance to enjoy a plastic cup of wine before the show.
It was great. I had heard many of the interviews that she played clips from (like the one where she interviewed Bill O'Reilly) but it was interesting to get more of what she was thinking at the time.
I think part of the reason I really love Terry Gross is that she admits to having been a shy person when she started in radio. I'm a total social-phobe and to hear someone who sort of overcame that and is now an awesome interviewer gives me hope.
The crazy thing is she has been doing Fresh Air since I was still in diapers (I was 1 when the show started as a local program).
Anyway, I'm still feeling high off of an evening out, two cups of wine and seeing someone I admire up close.
To sum up, support your local public radio.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nail biting

In my pre-mom days I was a smoker. Gross, I know, but that's what I was. I loved nothing more than to come home after work and enjoy a glass of wine and a ciggy. The day I found out I was expecting our son was the day I quit smoking. It's crazy because I had tried so many other things to quit and who knew all I had to do was get knocked up?
It wasn't hard at all and I never craved a smoke (even after having been a smoker for 7 years) once I knew I was responsible for the development of another human.
But now I have a problem... since the day I quit smoking I have become a nail biter.
Another yucky habit and one that is on display for others to see.
I have my 15 year high school reunion coming up in 1 month and I have decided that I want to show up with nice hands. Hubby already tells me I have a nice ass (I think he needs glasses) so I don't have to work on that. Even without the nail biting my hands are a wreck. With two young children -- one in diapers -- I wash my hands about a thousand times a day. I mow my own lawn, plant my own flowers, do the dishes, the laundry, scrub the toilets -- you get the idea -- and all of those things takes a toll on a girl's hands. I don't have Madge's Palmolive hands.

I picked a hell of a night to stop biting my nails, though. Lost is on.
Tomorrow I think I'll post a "before" pic of the hands and hopefully my after pic in a month will be an improvement.

goulash night

Just want to write this down. Got home after a busy afternoon with dentist for kids and a few other errands and I thought I had some things in my fridge to make a quick stir-fry. I settled the kids down with a book on tape and took a peek at what I had -- well, there wasn't much in there so I had to think fast. I could hear Luc's voice from the other room repeating one word... "hungry"
This is his newest thing and I've got to break him of it quick! He'll just use one word to try and get me to do something for him in some way. Hungry, thirsty, hot, potty....
It is so unbelievably rude and I don't know where he picked it up. I usually wait until he is in bed before I turn to my husband and say "tea". And dear husband makes the best cup of tea.
Where was I? Oh, yes, my rude son. I know I am supposed to simply ignore him until he gets off his bottom and comes and politely asks me for whatever it is he needs at the time.
I did that tonight and it took quite a while to work.
In any case, I was trying to think about what to throw together for dinner and that little voice was like nails on a chalkboard.
So I threw a bunch of junk together and it turned out alright. Husband totally dug it and son and daughter ate with almost no complaints.
Gotta write it down because someday I'll need a quick recipe and I'll say, now what did I put in that....
Ground beef -- browned, drain, set aside (I use 97% lean)
Clove or two of garlic in pan for a minute. Add a bunch of shredded carrots and frozen corn.
Heat that a few minutes until carrots are getting soft. Add about 1/2 can tomato sauce with italian seasons and 1 can of diced tomatoes with italian seasons. Add beef back to pan and cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Cook a bunch of egg noodles and toss with a little bit of butter if you want and then serve the beef mixture over the noodles.
Added a bit of fresh spinach and carrot salad for hubby and myself. Kids got some blueberries and apple slices and everyone was happy.

Now I've got to go clean the kitchen. Damn, I should have ordered out.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter goodness

This Easter was filled with too much candy, not enough (not any actually) wine and adorable (hyper) kids.
We started off the morning early with two little ones eating peeps -- peeps at 6:30 a.m. for God's sake! The morning continued with homemade waffles (more syrup Mommy!), eggs for husband and I (kids couldn't be talked into eating them) and bacon for everyone. What a healthy start:)
I headed off to church with my mom and Lucas mid-morning. I don't consider myself Catholic any longer, but I do enjoy the rituals at the holidays -- I was raised with this stuff and it's hard to entirely shake it off.
Then it was the long drive to my brother's house for some cousin time and the annual egg hunt.
I won't even go into the hard work my SIL put into the festivities... I'll just say that she is CRAZY!

But this is what it's all about:
I took about 5 pictures and in each one, at least one child was looking away from the camera.