Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nice List

Superstar

The sticker chart prevailed! Well, not on its own mind you. I kept thinking "it takes twenty one days to break a habit." For the first two weeks we were fit free about every other day. I think what finally penetrated was when I told her to think about Cinderella, The Stepsisters were selfish and mean and had a fit tearing her dress to shreds! No happy ending for them. Cinderella was kind and generous. That's why she deserved the magic that took her to the ball. Honestly, that was the one I saw register. I guess I shouldn't be to surprised, it would have had an impact on five-year-old me.

Sticker charts, Cinderella and identifying a serious growth spurt were what she needed. With Disney princesses cheering her on and a jam packed lunch box we soon had a perfect week! The next one was even better she earned smiley faces every day. She even had a day with the elusive gold star! Her teacher and I were so proud! We still check her chart every day before we leave school, but it's been a long time since we had a fit. I can honestly say I can't remember the last one. Thank Goodness!

She was beaming when her video message from Santa revealed her nice list status. She's a superstar! Don't get me wrong every now and then we have a bedtime fit or some mean words, but for the most part my Riley is back. Take heed parents, light at the end of the tunnel. I've heard the odd years are rougher for kids. The beginning of 3 and 5 certainly were for Miss Roo. Gold stars for both of us!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

Turkey Prep Turkey Neck
Turkey

I am so grateful I was well enough to participate (and grateful I went to the doctor soon after). Grateful we didn't have to travel to see our loved ones. Grateful that at least I got to listen to the parade while I cleaned. Grateful there was laughter! Grateful the food was done on time. Grateful for everyone who came. Grateful everything was delicious! Grateful for left overs. Grateful for some quiet moments snuggling with the kids while we digested. Grateful no one had to leave the house the next day. Grateful for traditions. Grateful for family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cleaning Sucks

Dirty Dishes

I have two kids, an extremely messy husband and pets...and oh yeah a physical disability. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming cause back pain and hip dislocation. Bath tub scrubbing makes my knees swell. Dish washing hurts my ankles. You get the idea. Don't worry this is not a complain/vent. It's another post in which I attempt to cut myself some slack. Before kids I did all the necessary cleaning and then I was "done for the day". Now, I recover from cleaning the way I recover from illness...I don't.

That is a REAL picture of the actual sink/counter/kitchen full of dirty dishes I woke up to on my 28th birthday (aka first birthday after I had Riley). I'll leave the condition of the rest of house to your imagination. Yes, I woke up on that post-partum birthday and wept at the massive mess. Then I whipped out my camera and documented it like an insane person. I think I wanted proof of what I'd done all day on my birthday while tending to a 7yr old and 5mo old. Truth is I can never be sure with all the hormones and sleep deprivation why I took 20+ pictures of my trashed house. As I started trying to deal with the situation I got mad, I mean really! Today?!? So, I decided I needed professional help (Yes, probably that kind too). I called a cleaning service. It would be Mike's birthday present to me, I'd inform him of his generous birthday gift later.

That was the first time I asked for help, but not the last. Like most moms keeping the house clean is a constant source of stress. Soon after that birthday I had a major back surgery and I started paying my friend to come once a week and help me. I was essentially stationary on the couch. A stack of diapers and a drink beside me, a baby gate encircling a patch of living room floor, and Riley climbing on and off my lap. I got up to use the bathroom and make our lunch. It was some rough times. $20 for someone to come run the vacuum and clean my bathrooms was well worth it. As time passed and different surgeries and recoveries happened the person helping, rates and tasks I needed them for changed, but I had weekly help whenever we could swing it.

Since our move it went from weekly to once a month. For awhile now I've been going it completely alone sending up the bat signal on special occasions. Before you get all "cry me a river" you have to clean your own house all the time. I live with an amazing slob (I love him and he's great at many things, but being aware of the wreckage of his presence is not one of them), a fused spine, two kids, pets and unpredictable physicality. I do my best, I ask the kids for help and I try to remember how much better things are now than in the old days. I feel like I'm pretty on the ball, but I'm not a miracle worker and I can only do so much. Recently I stumbled on this post: What Normal Looks Like. Some of it was accurate, some of it didn't apply, but the spirit of it gave me a moment of relief. I forgot that it's not just me struggling.

I hate it when the house gets out of control, it is literally hard for me to get around in it. I am doing my best at any given moment to keep things pleasant and functional. Note: I did not say "to impress people." I just want to be comfortable and relaxed in my house. If my physical abilities ever caught up with my expectations of myself this place would be immaculate! Short of the nano technology my husband swears will be the end of all my orthopedic issues someday I don't really see that happening.

Imagine if cleaning didn't just exhaust and frustrate you, but actually caused you physical pain. Are you sympathizing? Good! Now with that in mind, call before you drop by so I have time to tidy up.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Judgey Wudgey Bear

Katie Ballerina

As we approach the holiday season, I'd love to clear the air as much as a lowly little mommy blogger like myself could ever clear the air. Here's the thing, one of those teeth brushing epiphanies, I don't judge other moms even a tenth as much as I perceive them to be judging me. I'm definitely weird on many fronts, but I have to assume, after some reflection, I'm not being judged as much as I think I am. Obviously, there is judgement, let's be honest it's just human nature. I'm just saying we may project our fear of being judged more often than we actually are judged. A+ if you're still with me, phew.

When you don't feed your kid an 100% organic locally sourced diet not only do I not judge you, I don't care. Same goes for what kind of diapers you use. Let's just be perfectly clear, unless your reading reviews as a new mom, no one in the history of humanity even cared what anyone else's baby poops in. Especially when your own kids are potty trained, just saying. As long as your kids seems happy and functional your parenting is okay by me. If they're alive/growing I'm not going to tsk, tsk over what you fed them for lunch or whether it was presented in a themed bento box. Lord knows, it's a small miracle to get food in them AT ALL some days. I do look at your lunch meat panda munching a celery bamboo stick picture on Facebook and think "that's cute." That is not however the same as judging other moms, my self included, for not embarking on an around the world Pinterest worthy lunch adventure. Although, I probably will judge myself momentarily for the uncrustable I threw in the lunchbox this morning, I'll get over it.

We're all doing our best in an incredibly challenging situation. Don't worry about flack from me because you allow your kids to watch television. I grew up in the 80's we watched a lot of great, at least when viewed through a nostalgic filter, children's programming. I don't talk about my kids viewing habits with other moms for fear of judgement. I'm not raising couch potatoes, I monitor what and how much they watch. I know how wildly different kids personalities can be and I allow entertainment suited to them. Guess what? I trust that most parents are doing the same. Call me crazy, but I'm fairly certain in this technical age most of us figured out what worked for our lifestyles and our children pretty quick. So, the end, right? I still avoid the subjects of politics, religion and screen time in unfamiliar (and sometimes familiar) company.

Everyone's got their hot button issues about parenting. I personally, see one of my hot button issues every now and then. I immediately vent to my bestie or spouse for a bit. After that, I have more of a feeling that we're "different kinds of moms" more than a condemnation of anyone's lifestyle. I probably file certain moms in this category to avoid them judging me for our differences than anything else. I'm not an insecure person in general, but there's nothing like pouring your heart and soul into something and then receiving harsh criticism. There's no harder job than raising tiny humans.

I also understand that it is so easy to take things out of context. I don't know a lot...scratch that ANYONE in my exact parenting situation. Peeking in from the outside at someone else it's likely that what I perceive may be entirely incorrect.

When do I judge? When I see a happy kid having a good time. A kid in mismatched clothes, in a cardboard fort in the backyard beaming up at the camera with a chocolate milk mustache. That's when I think "Wow there's some good parenting." It's all about those happy childhood memories. It's about feeling loved intensely, because you are. It's all about growing up knowing who you are because it was always ok to be yourself.

I don't know many people who go to therapy to discuss what their mom packed in their lunch, how their mom decorated their room or any of the other nonsense that seems so important since social media. Oh Boy! If I'm wrong and we're raising that generation they'll have proof of everything!

Keep doing your best for the smaller humans Moms & Dads and don't worry about what I think (because most of the time I think you're doing better than me!).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

You Don't LOOK Like a Ballerina...

Here is some of what Miss Roo has learned in ballet so far this year. I love it. I think starting her at two was fun, but not...productive. I would have totally held off until five knowing what I know now. She loves it now and I'm not surprised. I adore ballet too, but she's a much better dancer than I ever was (duh).

I took ballet at about the age she is now and didn't last more than a few classes. When I was in college it was required course. I remember shopping for ballet slippers at twenty years old. The middle aged lady at the dance store eyed me as I came in. No doubt she thought that the lady with strange unbalanced gait must have taken a wrong turn on the way to the Gap. She watched me approach the ballet slippers shelf in total silence and then her smile appeared. She walked over briskly and asked "Who are you shopping for?" She obviously thought she's cleverly figured out the mystery of the gimp in the dance store. I couldn't help but enjoy her momentary surprised expression when I said me.

She was professional enough as I selected my ballet slippers and purchased them. I wonder if she ever thought about it again? If she imagined me correcting my gait as I left the store ala Kevin Spacey in Usual Suspects. Maybe she imaged me sadly attempting proper technique only to shatter my delusion that I wasn't in fact ever gong to be a professional dancer. All that, I think, is a bit of ego on my part. She certainly thought "how odd" and went back to selling leotards to the graceful people.

Katie Ballerina

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Girls Make the Prettiest Pirates

First Time Front Side

Riley's eye doctor prescribed three hours a day of an eye patch for at least six months to strengthen her weak eye. Back when I wore one (at about the same age) I had to have a big bandage over my weak eye. It was big and brown and ugly. Worst of all it hurt coming off. I found Eyepatch.me on Etsy. I showed Riley all the wonderful choices and she picked pink and purple butterfly with jewels. I also ordered an eye patch for her cuddly friends with a blue flower pattern and a My Little Pony elastic to hold it on. I love them both! I wish I could go back in time and wear pretty patches too! Riley loves it too and I can totally see ordering some special occasion patches too. Riley was excited to wear it.

Puzzles

Eye patch time has become a special time because it means some serious one on one with Mommy. We play play dough, watch movies, do puzzles and all kinds of fun stuff. She only wears her patch at home because it's super important that she was it three consecutive hours. No peeking. I have to keep an eye on her. She doesn't cheat on purpose, but little Miss loves to change her clothes. She just rips her shirt off to put on dress up clothes and knocks her glasses off. We made a new rule that she can change one time before eye patch time and then again when eye patch time is over if she wants. They helped a lot.

Elsa Barbies

The only thing I haven't figured out is dance nights. We don't have three hours between school and dance class or between dance and bed. It's already our rush around night. I'm just not sure how to work it in, but I figure at least for now 6 days a week isn't bad. I really hope six months is all the time her weak eye needs. She's so beautiful, glasses and an eye patches just make her more beautiful.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

It FINALLY came! Costume-wise it was more of the same: Roo's request was easy and ready by September and Isaac's was complicated and we were working on it up until the last second. That being said, I think we super nailed it. I'm proud of the teamwork that produced that amazing, one of a kind costume. Go team! I dressed up, of course. Mike bought all the fabric and even hair dye to be the Kristoff to my Anna, but work got crazy so he never even started working on it. I was 100% fine with that. It was a nice thought, but I told him many times the kids costumes were highest priority. We had to hand make Isaac's enormous hat so it would be accurate and fit on a giant squid head. I also made all the barnacles out of paper mache. I even printed an image of carvings that look like tentacles surrounding a heart to put on Isaac's treasure chest. If you haven't seen the movie Davy Jones is so heartbroken he tears his heart from his chest and locks it away in a chest to keep it safe. It all came together so well!

Rapunzel
Davy Jones Anna
Rapunzel meets Davy Jones Cuteness
All of Us

I stocked up on way to much candy. I enlisted the kids for help with some last minute huge spiderwebs and a few other decorations, but costumes (mostly Isaac's) were the first priority. I didn't feel up to trick-or-treating with the kids this time. It's weird because Mike and I usually fight over who is going to go around with kids and this year we both felt less than enthusiastic about it. Even with my wheelchair it's a serious workout. My neighborhood doesn't have sidewalks so it's up and down driveways and rolling along the gutters. A workout that I have never minded paying for the next couple days, but I opted to pass out candy with my mom. After pictures, they were off! We didn't get even half the trick-or-treaters we got last year, but I had fun looking at the costumes and making stupid jokes ("Oh you better eat some candy, you're bones are showing, etc). Mike and the kids were back after a couple hours and there were so few trick-or treaters it was safe to go inside and wait for the doorbell.

This year, as is tradition, everyone potty-ed and shed unwanted costume pieces and then we took pictures of their haul. I turned on Monster House and since it was a Friday and they're older I gave them a time limit for candy eating instead telling them how many pieces they could pick out. It worked out great and no one got sick. In a perfect world Mike would have finished his costume enough to at least take a picture with me and his beautiful (lit with animated lightening) Ursula pumpkin wouldn't have been to rotten to lift off the table, but it was a fun Halloween. I am totally ready to get back out into the neighborhood with the kids next year! It figures the year I stayed home to hand our candy was slow trick-or-treat-wise and no family of friends dropped by. I hope both kids still come out next year. I've already told Isaac he's old enough to be taking a much more active role in his costume next year!