31 January 2016

House: Week 1

We're settled in our new house! It took us an entire week to get the Internet hooked up - it was a very interested week for me having three kids and no Internet outlet to connect to the outside world; reading Matt's Wall Street Journal became a daily addiction for me - but the chaos of late wouldn't have provided me many opportunities for blogging anyway.

I finished unpacking the very last box on Monday evening at about 10pm. Then, on Tuesday evening at about 9:15pm, Abigail came down with the stomach flu. Almost exactly 24 hours after we moved in. Of course, the flu made its rounds, saving only Theodore its wrath. Then, on the second 24 hours of my 48 hour flu, I came down with another dreaded sickness. Drum roll, please...Mastitis. Yes, my fourth case of mastitis among two children. The cherry on top was the milk bleb that formed on that side as well. In laymen's terms, I had an infection in my milk ducts and a milk blister on the nipple. And milk blebs/blisters are excruciatingly painful to nurse through. And I don't use that term - excruciatingly - lightly; this coming from the woman who checked into the hospital at 7cm dilated and was later told by the nurses they didn't think I could be that far along because I didn't look like I was in enough pain. For Goodness-freakin'-sake. So every 2-3 hours all night last night, I got up, nursed Theodore on the good side, apply a hot compress to the affected side, pumped, cleaned the equipment, fed Theodore the bottle of pumped milk, set an alarm, and fell back asleep.

AGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

In the last two months, I've given birth, moved five people from an apartment to a house, contracted the stomach flu, and gotten mastitis.

In the last 12 months, I've been in a car accident, bought two cars, bought a house, had my husband have a job change, had a baby, and moved five people into a house.

I really, really, really want my life to be incredibly boring for the next six months.

Anyway.

The girls love House, as they call it, running across the floor from their bedrooms to the living room, losing a hour or two a day to the way fun basement. When, of course, they aren't vomiting their guts up. I love cooking in my new kitchen and I've been practicing making donuts in the donut pans I got for Christmas in hopes of finding the perfect recipes to impress my sister-in-law for our big Friday party we're throwing ourselves.

I love House too. It's cute curb appeal, the subway tile backsplash in the kitchen, the oversized fireplace, the Chicago-esque hardwood floors and thick molding. Even the BLUE bathroom is starting to grow on me, its 1950s charm overshadowing its dated look. I have lots, lots more to show you with regard to house, but here are a few shots I snapped this morning (Matt and the girls are at Mass) - please excuse the mess.






Nothing like a few outdoor toys (hand-me-downs from their cousins, cleaned up to go in our basement) and 250 ballpit balls to make a basement appealing to a couple of energy-filled little girls.


18 January 2016

5 Days until House: How We're Holding Up

I think the process of moving to House is going really un-traumatically for the girls. They ask me constantly, every. single. day. if we can go to House. When we pull in the driveway, Abigail shouts, "House!" with great enthusiasm. They run crazily across the living room and down the hallway, they gleefully do high-knee dances in the basement. When they get agitated that their toys are disappearing into boxes, I just tell them, "We are taking the toys to House," and they calm right down. I am trying to involve them in the process as much as I can while keeping it positive. When I take them with me to lug boxes or do some work before we move in, I make the trip a big deal.
"We're going to House, Foxy Man!" (Always start with the baby, kids want the spotlight more when they have to fight for it).
Abigail: "Mommy? House!"
"Yes, we're going to House! Let's get Foxy's coat and shoes on so we can go to House!"
"Kegcorn!" how she pronounces her sister's name now, "House! Boot shoes! Coat! Keggggggcorrrrrrnnnnnn!"
The basement has a few dozen ball pit balls and a basket full of stuffed animals that they are allowed to throw against walls, doors, whatever they want down there. And when they start to get fussy-bored, I wrap up what I'm doing and we leave. When we arrived at the house on our first day as homeowners, I took each girl into the house one at a time and told them, "Daddy's House, Mommy's House, Abigail's House, Eleanor's House, Theodore's House, Cat's House!"
"Car?"
"Yes! Car's House too!"

For the most part, I am really like our slow-move technique. By moving day, the books, china, glassware, bathrooms, laundry room, and most of the kitchen should be unpacked and organized. I do have to say, though, that I don't think moving would be going so smoothly if it weren't for my anti-depressants. Depression and anxiety are two sides of the same coin, and while I knew I struggled with depression, I never realized how deeply rooted the anxiety was until it was gone.

My life now:
Pack a few things, entertain the girls. Pack a few things, feed Theodore. Eventually get a carload's worth of the stuff ready. Load up boxes and kids into the car. Drive to the house. Unload Abigail and Eleanor, take them inside, take off their coats and shoes. Unload Theodore. He's usually still sleeping, so I leave him in his carseat in the house until he wakes up. Unload boxes. Unpack and put away as much as I can until the kids let me know they are done. Coats, shoes, load kids, drive back to the apartment. Figure I'll return either tomorrow or after everyone goes to bed, whatever I feel like doing.

How it would have gone without medication:
Set a very high goal: I will pack this cupboard, all the china, and all the little things in the kitchen. Secretly hope I will also get that other cupboard done too. Pack a few things. Freak out when the girls want Mommy time. Continue to pack while fending off the girls. Loose my temper. Yell at them. Go back to packing, feeling guilty, but determined to finish packing. Get hungry Theodore, sit in the rocking chair to nurse. Feel anxious and frustrated the entire time. Repeat over and over again my head the list of things left to do. Plan out exactly how I'll pack them and where I'll put them when I unpack them. Run over these thoughts again and again until Theodore is finally done. Put him down and finish packing. Load up the boxes and kids into the car, frustrated that it's already so late in the afternoon. Unload the kids and the boxes. Start unpacking. Freak out when the girls want Mommy time. Continue to unpack while fending off the girls. Loose my temper. Yell at them. Go back to unpacking, feeling guilty, but determined to empty these boxes. Get hungry Theodore, sit on the floor to nurse. Feel anxious and frustrated the entire time. Envision myself unpacking the rest of the boxes and putting the items away over and over again until Theodore is finally done. Finish unpacking the frickin' #@*$&@#%& boxes while various children cry and/or yell. Load everyone into the car. Drive home while making lists of what I'll pack next and when I'll come out to the house next. Feel so completely drained that I don't make dinner or finish the girls' laundry. Rant and rave to Matt when he gets home. Spend the evening collapsed on the couch because I am too sore and exhausted to do anything for the rest of the night.

I don't repeat lists over and over in my head anymore, I don't set impossibly high goals, I roll with the punches when my goals aren't met, I don't freak out when the girls come between me and my to do list, I can lower my expectations without feeling like a failure, I don't push myself to the point of exhaustion, I ask for help, I am more patient. I feel like a whole different person when I'm on these meds. I still feel things - I don't have zombie-like side effects - but I can still function in a healthy way. Before the anxiety would drive me to do everything exactly perfectly how I planned it in my head, no matter what the cost. If I couldn't do it exactly perfectly, I would have to recite these lists over and over again until they "felt perfect" to feel normal again. I had no idea how stressful and exhausting it was until a magic little pill silenced the craziness.

I'm not trying to say anything about what anyone else should or should not do. I've just been reflecting lately on how much anti-depressants have improved my quality of life. I'm watching myself move again and it's almost like I'm a different person. I keep waiting for the "freak out" switch to get flipped, but it never does. It's mesmerizing, testing myself and watching myself succeed: Can I leave this box in the house and return tomorrow to finish it? What? I can? I'm okay with the imperfection of a failed goal? Yes! Sweet! Let's do it; I'm tired.

I like this me. Once I no longer need the medicine for postpartum depression, I'm going to see a psychiatrist about how best to make this new me the permanent me.


*Side note/post script
I am of the very strong opinion that while some disorders may be over-diagnosed or be curable by lifestyle changes, there is always a base of people who truly have a disorder and can only treat it by medication.

For example, I definitely believe lots of kids are incorrectly diagnosed with ADD when they are simply bored at school or don't spend enough time outdoors. But I also definitely believe that ADD really exists and those mis-diagnosed kids don't take away from the kids who genuinely struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder.

There are other people who have disorders or diseases that can be treated by lifestyle changes. I have one of these too, I have an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Doctors wanted me on medication for the rest of my life, but I found a nutritionist who believed meds weren't necessary. I worked with her for a year and I now control it completely through diet.

In sum, I believe there are people out there who are mis-diagnosed as depressed when they are really just lazy. I think there are people out there who are correctly diagnosed as depressed, but could treat it through exercise and a healthy diet. Then there are people out there who are correctly diagnosed as depressed, but are not helped by lifestyle changes, and need medication in order to achieve a normal life. I really want to discern where I fall on that chart, because I never knew separate my personality was from my anxiety before now.

15 January 2016

Sneak Peaks

What do you like to do seven weeks after giving birth? I like to shovel my driveway!


Nothing like a good workout high to...leave you incredibly sore the next day. I go out to the house nearly every day with a load to unpack. As much as I'm incredibly tired and sore, standing in the living room of my very own house is a pretty intense natural mood booster. I always take a man with me to help me with the heavy lifting. And by that, I mean, be the heavy thing I need to lift.


I've got a few more pictures today! I'll post photos as we bring in and unpack things. No house picture is more boring than a big, empty room. First up: the living room! A large wood burning fireplace overlooks big, open area with huge picture window and not much wall space, although I did find a place to put the bookshelves. It took a few trips, but I did finally get them all unpacked and organized. We could have used a sixth shelf.




The kitchen is my favorite room in the house with its subway tile backsplash, granite countertops, white cabinetry, and high-contrast floor and door handles.



Whenever I go out to the house, I take a few moments to plan out how I'd like to organize my counter space. My ideal kitchen needs four "stations:" a cooking prep area, where you put the spices, chop veggies, that sort of thing; a baking prep area, where you measure and mix ingredients; a place to put dirty dishes; and a space for hot items to cool.


I wouldn't normally go for open cabinetry, but since I have it, I decided to use it to show off some of my favorite pieces. We also have a large built-in in the back of the kitchen, a feature Matt really loved.


Off that little hallway is the door to the screen porch (!), a half bathroom, a pantry, and the basement stairs. I have big plans to use the pantry as an appliance pantry: a place to store the blender, George Forman, the slow cooker - things that are large and awkward and don't belong in the cabinet. That basket on the floor? It's a laundry shoot that leads directly to the laundry room in the basement.


So the house was built in the 1950s, and just the right amount of stuff was updated: the kitchen, the windows, the roof; and just the right amount of stuff was left original: the fireplaces, the wood floors. Except, my friends, the bathrooms. The tile work in the bathrooms is original.


Blue cast-iron tub, anyone? And the half bath? It's just so fabulous that I can't show it all to you at once. I might overwhelm you with its amazing '50s-ness...


The inspector noted that the tile and - yes, original - floors are in amazing shape and after a few visits, the quirky bathrooms are really starting to grow on me. I'm actually thinking that when the time comes to redo the bathrooms, I might leave the floors and tile the way they are! Sinks, cabinetry, and paintwork can be done to complement the epicness that is 1950s milky blue and 1950s butter yellow.

Okay, I have just one room left for you today: the finished half of the basement. Right now that half is the Kid Crazy Zone where a few dozen ballpit balls and a basket of stuffed animals keeps the girls entertained while I work upstairs.



Oh! Swoon, swoon swoon! I could talk about this house for pages and pages, I love it so! For now, I shall leave it at this. Our weekend projects include touching up paint, installing kid-railing on the open side of the stairs, and turning one of the bedrooms back into a bedroom (the homeowners used it as a huge walk-in closet). I've never been so excited to "lose" a weekend to housework : )

13 January 2016

Homeownership

I have owned a house for three days now. That's right! We closed on our first-ever home on Monday! Yay! Here are some pictures I stole off my Realtor's Facebook page, because that's where we are in life right now.



I am incredibly overjoyed - the peace, security, and comfort I feel; I can barely keep it together for excitement of wanting to tuck my little brood in, all cozy and secure, to their new little home.

Taken in our apartment.

My sister- and brother-in-law (so, Matt's sister and her husband) watched the girls for us during closing, then we loaded up our bookshelves and as many books as we could fit and drove them over to our new house. We gave them a grand tour and celebrated over pizza. I want to move in, like, right this second, but we are going to try out a new moving method for us. Over the course of the next two weeks, I'll pack and move things over one car load at a time. Sometimes I'll have someone watch the girls at the apartment while I unload and unpack. Sometimes I'll take them with me. (I always take Theodore since I'm nursing him). This method has two big advantages: 1. Packing is easier. I don't have to pack as securely, or even tape the top of the boxes shut, since the boxes won't be stacked or loaded in a big truck with lousy shocks or handled roughly by an assembly line of people in the snow. 2. When we finally do move ourselves and the furniture, we will already be largely unpacked. I think it'll make the transition smoother for everyone.

The books, my friends, were intense. Four bookshelves (one of which had a double row of books on all five of its shelves) all packed up in boxes, bags, milk crates, and laundry baskets looks something like this:


It took four carloads to get the shelves and books all to the new house. Matt and I bought a fifth shelf to handle the overload. Our new living room looked like it was hosting a used book sale. I'm organizing the books as I re-shelved them, and heading out tonight after the girls go to bed to finish up. (Matt will stay home with them. Obviously.)

The sellers have been incredibly awesome to work with. It's almost like we were friendly acquaintances before we bought their house. They offered us first dibs on all the furniture they weren't planning to take with them, bought us a gift card for paint when their headboard damaged the paint job in the bedroom, and even left rolls of toilet paper in the bathrooms for us. They also left us their stash of firewood for the two fireplace, a page of notes on the house's quirks, and told us the story behind this incredible castle-like door they handmade. I took my camera out yesterday to snap some photos, but the battery died after just a few shots. One of the pieces we purchased from the homeowners were their dining room table. It seats eight (eight!) and included two matching barstools.


I'll take some more pictures this week for a much more exciting post this weekend. In the meantime, I have a cabinet of china that needs packing!

08 January 2016

A Day in the Life

I thought it might be amusing to do an "A Day in the Life" post, being as it's one of the last day in an apartment! I love these posts, seeing what other people's days are like, and using mine to respond to the question: "What do you do all day?!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2:11am - Theodore starts his "I'm hungry" grunts in his little Rock n' Sleeper next to the bed. I lay perfectly still, hoping he'll forget and fall back asleep (he never does) until he is about to cross the threshold into angry squawks. I get up and start nursing, but he falls asleep after a few sucks. Refusing to look a gift horse in the mouth, I put him back in his Rock n' Sleeper and crawl back into bed. Putting him down wakes him up. I decide to just do this the right way. I change his diaper, reswaddle him, and keep him awake until he's full. I fall back into bed somewhere around 3am.

6:45am - The alarm sounds. I shut it off.

6:50am - Matt gets up. I ask him to wake me up when he gets out of the shower.

7:05am - He's out of the shower. I continue to lay in bed.

7:10am - I get up, make the bed, and hop in the shower myself.

7:25am - I'm dressed and ready enough, so I let Abigail out of the girls' room, get her dressed, brush her hair, and get her settled at the table with breakfast. Theodore starts wailing because he skipped his 6am feeding. Matt picks him up and makes lunch one-handed. I would normally let Eleanor eat breakfast in her pajamas, but she's got a poopy diaper, so I change her out of her pajamas and brush her hair too. When she realizes that all her Frozen shirts are dirty, she starts a temper tantrum. I search through the girls' jewelry box and find a Frozen charm bracelet her great-grandmother got her for Christmas. She deems it sufficient.

7:50am - With everyone settled at the table, I take Theodore from Matt and settle in the living room to nurse him. I bring the tablet with me and check the weather and CNN to see if anything happened overnight.

7:58am - The "the bus is coming in five minutes" alarm goes off on my phone. I put Theodore in the Rock n' Sleeper in the living room - he instantly starts protesting, I get Abigail's shoes, coat, and backpack on. Matt gets his shoes on and gathers up his lunch and briefcase.

8:05am - Matt gets Abigail on the bus and leaves for work. I make myself oatmeal, move Theodore in his rocker into the dining area and eat while rocking him with my foot and reviewing my to-do list in my planner.

8:20am - Theodore is still hungry, so I nurse him and say a Rosary aloud. Eleanor says "Yay" after each decade.

8:33am - Theodore is full and Eleanor is content to play independently, so I straighten up the apartment. I do this every morning - it involves going into every room (except the closets) and picking up anything that was left out overnight, any messes that were made that morning, turning off lights, opening up curtains, babyproofing anything we un-proofed the night before. Today takes a little longer because I have a bit of folded laundry to put away. When I finish, everyone is still content, so I dab on a little make up, deodorant, and use the flat iron on my bangs. I feel pretty.


Clean slates are crucial for good mornings around here.

8:50am - Time for chores. Today that involves doing the dishes, cleaning the liter pan, sweeping the tile floors, starting the laundry, and roasting a chicken. Theodore stays his in rocker and watches me while Eleanor plays in the living room. When I pull the chicken out of the fridge, I realize there was a hole in the bag and it leaked raw chicken juice all over the bottom shelf of the fridge. I figure this is as good a time as any to wipe the fridge out (since I'll have to in two weeks when we move). Eleanor joins me in the kitchen, takes a square of paper towel and gets to work on the cabinet door next to me. After every wipe, she says, "I did it!" and I have to respond with "Good job!" After I get the bulk of the mess up, I realize the mysterious grime in the back isn't going to come out easily. I give up, put the food back in the fridge, and figure I'll do a better job when I clean up after we move out.

9:20am - I refresh my coffee and the three of us move into the living room. Theodore is content to watch me do puzzles with Eleanor from his Rock n' Sleeper.


Cat, excited to find my lap empty, sprints (almost literally) across the living room to stake her claim.


Theodore falls asleep, and Eleanor requests coloring. I'm pretty excited as I haven't yet transferred our hodgepodge of crayons to the new crayon box I finally remembered to buy. I tear out a few pages from a Frozen coloring book and we settle in. But Eleanor finds the crayons more exciting than coloring, so I color while Eleanor hands me random crayons. After a while, she just takes the crayon box and walks away.


My legs are sore from yesterday's attempt at lunges and squats, so I do some stretching until Eleanor gets distracted, then I sneak the crayons back into the locked cabinet.

10:05am - Theodore spent all of yesterday fussing unless he was in my arms (or in a carrier), but today he appears to be back to normal. Confident that he is down for the count, I slide the Rock n' Sleeper down the hallway and into my bedroom and quietly close the door. I switch the laundry, then plop down on the floor in the living room and continue crocheting the blanket I'm making him. It took a while, but the girls are finally content to let me crochet on the floor while they play around me. They used to tangle my yarn and pull out my rows - sometimes in a bid to help me, sometimes while feeling oppositional. But I make sure to put the work down when they want me to play with them or read a book to them, so they've agreed to compromise.


While I work, Eleanor plays with a smart pad. It's one of those toys I'd never buy her, but she got from either her grandma or her great-grandma for Christmas. I didn't protest because it doesn't have an electronic screen; it has static buttons designed to look like a real screen, so I don't really consider it an "electronic device." I marvel at her teenager-like behavior and wonder what the future will hold.


Cat, who is giddy for attention, is again in my lap. Every time I get up, she waits patiently by where I was sitting until I return, then resumes her spot on my lap. I don't let her sit on my lap when I crochet for other people, but I do when making something for us. After all, cat hair is going to end up on it anyway.


10:30am - Snack time. In my bid to loose the baby weight and wean the kids off our "cookies for breakfast" Christmas break, our morning snack is now seasonal fruit. Today that looks like grapefruit. My kids actually love grapefruit and it is one of my favorite fruits, so it's a win-win. Especially since the in-season price is less than $1 per pound.


10:45am - After we finish the snack, Eleanor suddenly has a serious need to find Cat. She walks around asking, "Cat, where are you?" then comes running back to me: "Uh oh! Cat!" I finally show Eleanor that cat is sleeping under the couch. Content, she heads to the bookshelf and and says in her cute little voice, "I want Jesus, please!"


She means my Saint Gerard chaplet. She loves my chaplet, which was a gift from a friend when I was pregnant with her. She's watched me say it many times and wants to do what Mommy does. I am loathe to hand it to her, but you can't exactly say "no" to a request for Jesus. I also hand her a "How to Say A Rosary" pamphlet for maximum cuteness. While she's praying, I fold and put away the cloth diapers from the dryer. After she's done "praying," she brings me back the chaplet and pamphlet and says, "All done," very politely. Impressed, I put the chaplet away where she can't see it as easily.

11:23am - The "the bus should be arriving any minute" alarm sounds on my phone. Eleanor shouts, "Bus!" in such a high-pitched voice that Cat, who has wandered out from under the couch, jumps into the air. I slip on my coat and shoes, convince Eleanor to wait inside, and walk out into the foyer area of the apartment building. When the bus arrives, I chat with the driver for a minute. Abigail is switching to the afternoon session tomorrow and no one has called me to let me know the pick up/drop off times yet.

We head back inside the apartment, where Eleanor is stoked to have her playmate back. But Abigail has a very hard time transitioning to being back at home. Eleanor tries to hug her and Abigail shoves her to the ground. Eleanor lets out an over-reactive scream and begins to sob. I comfort Eleanor while Abigail hides out in her room for about 10 minutes. When she rejoins us, she is back to her usual self. I read a few books to the girls. They don't like to sit in front of me while I read like a teacher, so they take turns sitting in my lap while the other sits next to me. But if Abigail is sitting next to me, she doesn't consider that I've read those books to her. So if I read, A Big Guy Took My Ball to both girls while Eleanor is in my lap, even though she is sitting right next to me seeing every page and hearing every word, when it's Abigail turn to sit in my lap, she wants me to re-read A Big Guy Took My Ball.

11:50am - Eleanor and Abigail take the stack of books we just read (and re-read) to their room. They read together and then play nicely with their toys. I pull the chicken out of the oven and use this kid-free time to check my voicemail, email, Facebook, and blog.


12:15pm - Theodore is awake. I change his diaper and his sleeper and hold him while making lunch. It is tricky to make three lunches one handed, but I manage. I prop up Theodore in front of the girls' door and then knock, so when the open the door, they think Theodore is coming to fetch them for lunch. The whole thing is really cute. All four of us eat together and no one throws their plates or cups on the floor, which is a nice break for me. Theodore is a bit cold, so I make him wear the foxy hat I made him. He looks cutely ridiculous.


After lunch, we clean up and put most of the toys away, keeping a few out for Abigail to play with when Eleanor naps.

1pm - We finish cleaning up right at 1pm, which is Eleanor's nap time. I put her down and Abigail, Theodore, and I return to the living room. I nurse Theodore and do puzzles with Abigail until Theodore falls back asleep.

1:20pm - I slip Theodore back into the bedroom and break out a sticker book that Abigail got as Christmas/Congrats you have a brother present from a family friend. It keeps her occupied for a solid 40 minutes, which is a long time for her.


2pm - Theodore wakes up and I'm exhuasted. I bring Theodore, Abigail, and a few books into our bed and we snuggle up under the down comforter. I nurse Theodore, who instantly falls back asleep, and read to Abigail, but after one book, she's done. She walks around the bedroom and gets into things that aren't baby proof, like our lock-less dresser drawers and our bathroom with the door that doesn't latch. Finally she gives up on rousing Mommy and returns to the living room. I hear her reading to herself as I start to fall asleep. She jars me awake when she returns with a page ripped out of one of her favorite books. I sigh and get up.

2:30pm - Happy with her victory, Abigail contentedly munches some pita chips while I strip the now cooled chicken. I like to buy whole, free range, cage free chickens that did yoga and had regular massages, then roast the bird and shred the cooked meat. It's a very affordable way to get higher quality meat, plus I then have cooked chicken ready-to-go for recipes. Like tonight's chicken bacon ranch quesadillas. While I work, we practice singing "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer." I leave out the last line and she fills it in.
"Rudolph the red-nosed..."
"Reindeer!"
"Had a very shiny..."
"Nose!"
After a few renditions, she begs me to watch the "Reindeer movie," which I agree to because she's been asking for days, plus I can use the free time to do some more chores. I set her up then unload the dishwasher and wash the dishes I put to soak that morning.

3pm - Eleanor wakes up, so I bring her out to watch the movie too. While they watch, I fold and put away the last load of laundry for the day. I have a few phone calls to make, but when I finish the laundry, I just lay down on the couch and rest until the movie ends.


3:35pm - The movie ends and Theodore wakes up at the same time. I sit down to nurse Theodore, and after a battle over whose milk cup is whose (at one point, both girls were in tears. Over cups of milk), Abigail heads to her room for some alone time, and Eleanor floats around between the living room and the girls' room, sometimes playing alone, sometimes playing with me.


Theodore falls asleep in my arms, so I break out the tablet. I put it down when Eleanor wants my attention, but for the most part, I get a solid hour to myself to chill in the rocking chair, read articles, and browse for a recipe for a new dish I want to try.

4:35pm - Eleanor wants to do something physically active, so I put Theodore in his Rock n' Sleeper in the living room and we play a little game Eleanor invented where we jump off her step stool. After a while, I go to get a few balls out of the girls' room for us to play with when I realize that I forgot to replace the baby proofer thing that keeps the door from latching shut. So she was stuck in her room. I hold my breath (literally) when I open the door. Abigail is naked from the waste down, but thankfully hasn't pooped. I re-clothe her and check the room for wet spots, but it appears to be okay. I spray hand sanitizer on her hands and the three of us head to the living room for a game of catch/kick/hurl the ball. Theodore wakes up and watches us run around the living room.

5pm - The girls are getting tired and it's time to start dinner. I throw together some quesadillas and gather up things we'll need for later tonight. We have a 6pm appointment with our mortgage lender and I'm planning to set the girls up in their stroller with a movie in the sitting area of the bank while we go over paperwork. The girls are impatient while dinner is cooking. There is banging and coaster throwing. Whenever Abigail does something and I tell her no, Eleanor does it and calls my name, asking me to tell her "no" too. Things get worse, so I break into rousing renditions of this cheer Abigail learned in school for every member of the family, the car, cheese, and Eleanor's milk while they wait. They are content to watch my dramatic performance, complete with jazz hands between shredding the cheese and chopping up the bacon. When dinner is finally served, Abigail refuses to eat her plain, cheese quesadilla and Eleanor only eats the bites of her chicken bacon ranch quesadilla that have lots of ranch on them. I scarf my food and change the girls into their pajamas.

5:40pm - Matt gets home and gets the girls loaded in the car while I get Theodore in his carseat and lug everything out to the car.

6pm - Somehow we make it to the meeting on time, and our two fleece-jammied girls are perfect angels as they watch the movie. I brought the rest of their quesadillas, which they eat without complaint because they are distracted by the movie. This is actually really exciting for Abigail because normally she can't be distracted out of food hatred. I leave Theodore in his carseat and rock him until he falls asleep. The meeting is supposed to be short, but Matt likes to read every word of the paperwork and have indepth discussions with the banker. She thinks the discussions are fun and her and Matt's personalities totally click. I don't fully understand everything that's going on because I'm not very smart about this sort of stuff, but Matt is really smart, so I just trust him and sign what he tells me to sign. I leave the meeting feeling kinda stupid, and confess to Matt that I've felt this way the entire time. Matt insists that he is going to explain everything to me so that I fully understand all the details. I am half dreading and half anticipating the discussion.

7pm - We arrive at home just in time for the girls' regular bedtime. We read some stories and they fall asleep quickly. I leave Theodore in his carseat as he is still asleep. Matt and I browse through some of the mortgage paperwork. There was a fee our Realtor put into the closing costs that he didn't tell us about. We can't find the paperwork saying we approved this fee, so Matt sends out a "polite lawyer" email. He then starts in on some work on the finances while I type up this blog post.

8:23pm - The Realtor (for once) responds promptly and tells us the fee was in error and will not be on the paperwork at the closing on Monday. Crisis averted. The fee was a hefty one and he did such a terrible job for us that I am loathe to pay him a single dime.

9:15pm - I put the finishing touches on this blog post. I will probably get ready for bed after this, then maybe dink around online a bit or read a chapter from my book (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) until 10pm, hopefully Matt will have done enough work and will come to bed too. I'll bring Theodore but leave him in his carseat until he wakes up hungry. I predict it'll be around midnight, 3am, and 6am. Ah, another long, tiring, but good, day.

05 January 2016

Whirlwinds

If only all the blog posts I write in my head could be teleported to my computer without my fingers.

My days are long, good, and productive, but busy. Very busy. My scattered minutes throughout the day do not translate well to a blog post. My writing is better when I can dedicate a chunk of time to it. Perhaps I should do Five Minute Friday posts a few times a week, eh?

An Eleanor at rest...tends to never stay at rest for long.

I have lots of good news to report. After two weeks of a really, terrible cold, Theodore has finally recovered. We are closing on our house this coming Monday. Abigail is switching to the afternoon session of preschool, which runs right over the two little ones' naptimes. Which means I'll get two hours of kid-free time Monday-Thursday in which to make dinner and/or take a nap myself. I am quite delighted.

Hey look, he actually looks kind of happy about his...doting...sisters in this picture!

I am very excited about the new house. I will be packing up, moving car loads over, and unpacking over the course of two weeks, then we'll have family and friends with large vehicles out on the 23rd to help us move all the furniture. This will save us money (we can reuse boxes and don't have to rent a uHaul), will me easier on me (packing the entire apartment with three little ones would be...difficult), we won't have to live among boxes, and the girls will get to see their stuff slowly transition over which will hopefully make the move easier for them.

Yay, our own house! With backyard! And basement!

I am absolutely aching to be in my own house! I keep thinking of how awesome it will be to make dinner in my new kitchen, how I'll remember to switch the laundry when the washer and dryer are in the basement, when I want to separate the girls into their own rooms (their sleep schedules are too different to keep in the same room right now), where we can score a cheap couch for the basement, where I can put my crafting stuff, how I'm going to organize my for-real pantry (eak!), how fun it'll be to shovel my very own sidewalk among the softly falling white powder. Ugh - it's so hard to wait!

Cat will finally have space to hide!
This will be my 20th move. 20 moves in 29 years. At least I finally settled down before I hit my 30s. I graduated college, wrote a book, had three kids, and bought a house in my 20s. I'm good with that.

 It was 20-something degrees outside and I wore a tank top. Because one never stops moving when one has three kids.
I really, really, really feel like I'm living out my vocation. Raising a family. In a house. I feel so fulfilled. And exhausted. But at peace.

And like a bad-ass. Because I managed three kids at the doctor's office today.