Monday, February 19, 2018

He's SEVEN! A Year in Review

What a year it has been.  Today my boy is seven.  Let's take a minute and let that sink in.  SEVEN.

Guys, he is such a kid.  I know that sounds weird, because of course he's a kid.  But I have spent so many years in a haze of babies and toddlers that a real kid is new territory to me.
Gabe has always been quiet and shy, and that still holds true at times.  But he has come out of his shell so much in the past year.  School has done him so many favors!  At a recent conference with his teacher, she mentioned that he is so social.  J and I just shared a shocked look- you could have knocked us over with a feather.  Never in a million years would we have expected to hear this from a teacher.
Aside from being social, Gabe has really honed in on some of his interests this year.  He started the year off being obsessed with art.  He loves to draw, paint, and sculpt.  He has quite a collection of original canvases.  He is never more excited than when he gets to work on a cool project in art class at school.  He has taken several after school drawing and painting classes.  He loves to create.
He also LOVES music.  We gave him an old, first generation original iPod (thanks, Mimi!).  He's obsessed with it.  If he's in his room (which he is frequently, because, big kid), he is playing his music through a speaker.  If he's in the car, he's listening to his music on his headphones.  He can't get enough.  And he likes really cool music.  He's a fan of Foo Fighters, AC/DC, Boston, Def Leppard, The Who, and lots of others.  He wants to learn how to play (he's going to DIE when he opens the guitar from his grandparents tonight!).  The boy loves rock.
He's decided to give soccer a try.  He is definitely not the most coordinated kid on the block, but he really seems to think soccer is fun.  He plays on the playground at school and kicks the ball around the yard at home.  I'm so excited to watch him play this season, and hope that it continues to bring him joy.

He also loves sharks, Minecraft, building with Legos, playing Rock Band (on the X-Box or pretending to rock out in his room), swimming, hoarding everything (he's a bit sentimental), doing tricks on his scooter, and pretending to race obstacle courses à la American Ninja Warrior.  
Gabe is such a unique soul.  He is sensitive, smart, kind, and handsome.  He is as empathetic as they come.  I know I'm 100% biased, but all of these things are so, so true.  As much as I hate to see my babies growing up, I feel like it's a real privilege to be watching this boy develop into such an amazing human being.

Gabriel, my first born, I love you more than you'll ever know.  I hope seven is your happiest year yet.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Classic Honey Badger

One of those milestones in kids lives is the first loose tooth.  I feel like most kids- especially those with older siblings- get super excited at the first sign of a wiggly tooth.  They are constantly putting their fingers in their mouths, pushing and pulling on the tooth, checking to see if maybe it moves a little bit more today than it did yesterday.  Basically, counting the days until the Tooth Fairy arrives.

Not my kid.

The other day, Margot said, with her deadpan, expressionless voice: "I used to have this tooth I could chew with, but now, it's gonna fall out."

I was so excited!  I assumed that she had just realized she has a loose tooth.  I asked her to show me.

Guys, it was barely hanging on by a thread.  That tooth had to have been loose for weeks.  She never thought it was worth mentioning!

I told her that the tooth was certainly going to fall out that day, and after thinking about it for a minute, also told her that she should be sure to tell me when that happened.

I was totally surprised when she went to bed that night, teeth still intact.

The next morning, I greeted the kids at the breakfast table.  I made the coffee, packed the lunches, and went about my morning business.  About a half hour later, Margot says "Mom!  Look what I found on the table!"

The tooth, of course.

I asked "Did your tooth just fall out?!?"

Margot says "No, it fell out in my bed."

She explained to me that she was pushing it around with her tongue, and it just fell out onto her bed.  And she brought it downstairs with her. 

And she didn't think that was immediately worth mentioning.

Honey badger just don't give a shit.


Monday, February 12, 2018

She's Three!

**Better late than never.  My sweet child, please don't take my tardiness as I sign that I love you any less than your siblings, whose birthday posts have been on time.  Just take it as a sign that you three munchkins keep Mama super busy.**
 Oh, Miss Charlotte.  How can it be possible that three whole years have passed since you came into our lives?  It seems like only yesterday we brought you home from the hospital, a tiny little smooshy bundle of snuggle.
My how you have grown over the past year.  You have developed such a personality!  I think you may be a bit like your mama.  You are social!  You have never met a stranger.  You'll play with any kid, anywhere.  You smile and wave at everyone as we walk by.  And if someone wants to pick you up and hold you, they are immediately your best friend. 

You are so affectionate, especially with your parents.  I always hoped I'd have a baby that just wanted to snuggle her mama, and you are that baby!  You are constantly climbing into bed with me, giving hugs and kisses, and saying "I love you, Mama."  You are so anxious to greet me in the morning, in fact, that a couple of weeks ago, you came into my room in the morning.  When I told you that I was still sleeping, you whispered "That's okay, I still coming up."
You adore your siblings.  I love to hear your laughs when you are playing with them.  They have taught you how to use your imagination, and you create characters and use little voices.  You can whinny like a horse while you gallop around the house better than any 3-year old I've ever met.  Whatever Gabe and Margot are doing, you want to do.  They are teaching you all about independence.  One of your most repeated phrases these days is "I just doing it myself."
You are so girly.  The first thing you do in the morning is put on your "princess" shoes.  Pink, sparkly high heels that you run around in ( mother, like daughter).  You'd prefer to wear a floral dress or better yet, a tutu each day.  You like to have a bow in your hair, or maybe a braid like Elsa.  You were thrilled to receive a little purse for your birthday.      
You are growing up into a little person, but you still say words like skideddi and reindadeer.  And yes, my heart will break when you stop these adorable mispronunciations.  Just like it breaks every day when you tell me "I'm not a baby anymore, I a tobbler."

My baby, you were the PERFECT addition to our family, and you really do complete us.  I love you with every bit of my heart.  I know you must grow up, but I'm begging you- please keep snuggling your Mama forever and ever.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Like a Boss

For the past couple of years, emptying the garbage cans around the house on trash night has been Gabe's job. 

Just like any slave driver responsible mother, I start 'em young when it comes to chores.  After all, the more responsibilities they have, the fewer left for me, no?  Why else do people have children?  J is already counting the days until he never has to mow the lawn again.

I kid.  Except for the part about J never wanting to mow the lawn.  That part is totally true.  

Now that birthdays are upon us, it's time to reevaluate the chore list of each child.  Gabe is turning seven, so he can handle some higher level stuff.  And since Margot just turned five, she can take over some of Gabe's old chores.  Like the garbage.

For several weeks leading up to M's birthday, I had her help Gabe empty the trash cans.  You know, to learn the ropes.  I told her that when she turned five, she'd have to handle it without Gabe's help.

Her birthday came.  She turned five.  She became eligible for solo garbage handling.  And so I set her to work.

I was already upstairs beginning the bedtime prep when I remembered it was trash night.  I reminded Margot about her job, and she ran right downstairs to grab a garbage bag and handle it.  A few minutes later, she came running back upstairs, empty handed.

"You forgot about the upstairs trash!" I told her.

"No, I didn't!  I'm getting it!"

"Where is the garbage bag?" I asked.

Her reply killed me.  "Charlotte's bringing it up.  She holds the garbage bag while I dump the trash in."  Sure enough, here comes Charlotte, walking up the stairs, dragging a half-full garbage bag behind her.

So on the very first night that Margot was supposed to handle this particular chore on her own, she took it upon herself to delegate half of the job to her little sister.

Like a boss.

This girl is going places.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Back to the Gym!


Today I made it back to the gym for the first time in eight weeks!  And let me tell you, it was some kinda special.

I have been DYING to get back into the gym.  I NEED some calorie burn in my life, since I've filled it with nothing but food and beer for many weeks now.  But there really isn't much I can do in the way of cardio.  Before now, I've only gotten the ok for a few seated upper body exercises, and although I did this some, it hardly felt worth the effort.

But I was finally given a new option: water aerobics.

I know what you're thinking.  That is a class meant for oldsters.  And you know what?  YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHT.

I was actually nervous to show up this morning.  It's a new gym, new class, new people.  I didn't know the protocol.  I left the house extra early to make sure I had plenty of time to get Charlotte settled in the childcare center, plenty of time to find a locker, plenty of time to meet the instructor and get the scoop on what to expect.

Side note- as I was getting ready to head out, I told Charlotte to get in the car.  Since my surgery, she has become accustomed to not leaving the house in the mornings.  When I told her to get in the car, she yelled "WE GOING TO THE GYM??"  She was seriously so excited.  She has missed it, too.  Adorbs.

Anywho, I got there with plenty of time and headed to the pool.

There was a literal sea of old ladies, with a few old men sprinkled in here and there.  The pool was packed.  There were at least sixty geezers bobbing up and down, waiting for class to start.

The instructor saw me hobble in, leaning on my cane, and immediately came over to chat with me about modifications and fill me in on what to expect.  She then helped me into the pool and lined my cane up with about 20 others against the walls.

She lined my cane up with the others.  How is this my life right now?!?

The people watching was amazing.  Half of the ladies are there for the exercise, but the other half are clearly there for social hour.  They waded from one end of the pool to the other, greeting each other, kissing cheeks, and catching up on oldster life.  Several of the ladies introduced themselves to me, as I obviously stuck out like a sore thumb and everyone knew I was a newbie.  I heard about Pat's knee replacement, Jeannie's husband's hip replacement, and how loud the music was today (it was all Beatles tunes, pumped up with some aerobics beat).  One lady mentioned that I must feel like I was in my mother's class.  I didn't have the heart to say what I was really thinking- "More like my grandmother's!"- so I just smiled and agreed.

The workout was ok- not as pain free as I was hoping, and definitely not as intense as I'd like.  But at the end of the day, I GOT A WORKOUT.

Also, I think I have a gaggle of new old lady friends.  They can't wait to see me back on Wednesday.
Just imagine me plopped right in the middle of these grandmas, trying desperately to fit in.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Exceptional Eats: Taco Soup

I love it when I try out a new recipe, and it's not only easy, but delicious.

This recipe popped up in my life at such a good time.  I've been struggling to cook meals while tied to these crutches, so we've been relying on easy meals and carry out.  Any recipe that is easy enough for J to handle is a winner in my book!

Plus, tacos.  Who doesn't love tacos?  Only these are tacos in soup form.  Which is perfect on these cold winter nights.

And did I mention how easy this is to make?  Seriously, guys.  It's a matter of opening cans and jars and dumping them into a pot of deliciousness.

This one's a winner!  Thanks, Pinterest, for throwing this into my life.  Check out the recipe here.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

And Just Like That, She's Five

I remember the moment when I knew she was coming.

On January 12, 2013, we'd spent the afternoon at our Goddaughter's birthday party.  People kept asking when the baby was coming, to which I'd reply "tomorrow!"  I was scheduled to be induced bright and early the following morning.

Very late that night, I got up to use the bathroom.  I laid back in bed, but couldn't fall back to sleep.  I was obviously anxious, nervous, excited, scared, and all of the emotions one feels when they're about to give birth.  As I lay there, willing myself to sleep just a little longer, I felt a pop.

I thought about how funny it would be if that were my water breaking.  I didn't really know what that would feel like, since I was in the throes of intense contractions when my water broke with Gabe.  I wasn't having any contractions, I didn't feel weird, I'd just felt a pop.  The more I wondered about it, the more I thought that perhaps that's exactly what it had been.

I oh so carefully sat up, and walked to my bathroom with my thighs glued together, only moving my legs below the knees.  I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked, trying so hard to save my bedroom carpet from a mess that no one would ever want to clean up.

I made it to the bathroom. still wondering if it could be, and stood straight up over a small bathroom rug.

Definitely broken water.

I woke J up and told him what had happened.  He had been planning to wake up early and shower before we headed to the hospital the next morning, and worried that his plan had been shot.

"Go ahead and take a shower!" I told him.  "I'm going to curl my hair before we leave."  Yes, I curled my hair so as to not look like death in any post-baby photographs.  I wasn't having any contractions yet.  I was totally easy breezy about the situation.

I called the doctor and told her what had happened.  "Pop and a gush?" she asked.  "Pop and a gush," I replied.  A neighbor arrived to stay with Gabe until J's mom could get there, and off we went to the hospital.

When we arrived, I told the nurse to go ahead and get the ball rolling for the epidural.  I knew what to expect.  Labor got super hard, super fast.  The wonderful, sweet doctor who had her nice, neat induction plan thrown out the window by my impatient baby got me settled in then went home for a rest.  Labor got faster.

I will never forget the nurse, upon realizing that the baby was coming NOW, yelling out into the hall.  "Will somebody call Dr. Bonpain and tell her to STEP ON THE GAS??"

And just like that, Margot was here.  She had the most perfect bowed lips and, I kid you not, gorgeous highlights in her full head of hair.

I simply cannot fathom that all of this happened five years ago.

I look back on her birth and think about how she just couldn't follow the plan and wait for the next morning when I was to be induced.  She did it her own way.  This is just so indicitive of her personality.

Margot does was she wants, and doesn't care what anyone else thinks about it.  I don't even necessarily mean this is a bad way.  It's not like she's some terror who bucks authority and constantly causes trouble.  I used to worry that she would be exactly that, but she has proven me wrong.  She's good and kind, and almost always does the right thing.

But she's not out to impress you.  She does what makes her happy, and if that happens to make you happy as well, that's just gravy.  She's brutally honest, and will tell it to you exactly as it is.  She is positively the most self-aware being that I've ever known, able to pinpoint how she's feeling and why and what she should do about it.

Basically, Margot is what I want to be when I grow up.

My goals are to only do the things that make me happy.  To not be such a "yes girl."  To stop worrying so much about what other people think.  I've been making some progress with this, and think that I might just have it down by the time I turn 40 in a couple of years.

How wonderful for Margot that she's already got it.

Margot is the dark horse of the family.  You didn't see her coming, but here she is, coming out ahead.  And I predict big things for her future. 

Margot, my strong, beautiful, smart and wonderful daughter, I couldn't possibly love you more. 


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