Thursday, February 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Poser edition

Following in the footsteps of other people,  here is my .gif-filled Friday Quick Takes.
--- 1 ---
Today I embark on my 34th trip around the sun. What a wild ride it's been so far!

--- 2 ---
When I went to the car this morning, dragging purses and bags and diapers and whatnot, I opened the door and discovered flowers, chocolate, and a card waiting for me.10 years and he's still makes me giddy!

--- 3 ---
Yesterday, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's resignation, I've seen quite a few interesting posts on Facebook and Twitter regarding the church's need to "move into the 21st century." I go all Judge Judy on them.

--- 4 ---
I'm on a major reading kick. I blame Love, Anthony. In it Lisa Genova mentioned the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Well, our library had it available by ebook so I decided to take it out. THEN I got a notice that Defending Jacob was ready for me to read. So I am currently reading three books (forgot to mention A Wrinkle In Time, which I got out for Bebe but decided to read myself since I never had) simultaneously. I love when this happens, though. I feel odd when I'm not reading anything.

--- 5 ---
On at leas three different occasions, Bebe has approached me with a quiet, "Mommy?" and every time I find myself responding

--- 6 ---
I love my children so very much, but lately I've felt a little crazy. Bebe has started giving me preteen attitude, and Dois is engaging in "terrible two" behavior. I want to enjoy them and cherish these days, but more often than not I find myself

--- 7 ---
And despite all these moments, I keep thinking about this
(credit: SugarPlum Studios)
and how I can't wait to do it all over again.

For more Quick Takes head on over to Conversion Diary!

Monday, February 25, 2013

When "whatever works" doesn't work.

Confession: Being a "whatever works mom" doesn't mean I'm totally laid-back. It doesn't make me chill and casual. I wish it did! When I say I'm a "whatever works mom" it's more like, I have no desire to parent my children identically. They're different, and different things work/don't work for them. So I go with whatever works.

But every now and then, I run into a situation where discovering what DOES work is a struggle. I'm at one of those crossroads right now: Dois is such a loving, snuggly child. He has always had an odd tendency toward aggression (as young as 14m if he was frustrated he would smack himself in the head repeatedly), and in the last month or two his aggression has gotten stronger. Granted, he's changed daycares and we moved--so there has been a lot of transition in his little life lately. But we need to get to the bottom of this, and we need to communicate to him that hitting is NOT okay.

"Hands are not for hitting. Hitting hurts." The gentle parenting approach. I want to use it and I want it to work, but it doesn't. Such phrases are spoken and the hitting continues. It means nothing, no matter how often we repeat it.

Walking away from him or putting him down when he hits (after telling him not to hit) causes a tantrum of epic proportions. I have heard that if we keep doing this the tantrums will fade, but they haven't yet. And he bangs his head on the floor and shrieks and kicks and... I don't feel he's SAFE.

Time outs? How do people get their 2-year-olds to STAY in time out? No way is that happening here! I have tried it, but he just gets up and runs off. Then it's a game of chase-the-toddler.

I'm scared. I'm really scared. He's sweet and loving and I DO NOT think these are signs he will grow up to be a serial killer, but I'm scared that if I don't address these behaviors correctly and SOON that it's going to get even worse. And I can't imagine that. There's a lot of hostility in our house lately caused by the stress of his tantrums and aggressiveness.

I just want me sweet boy back.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dressing an 8-year-old.

Bebe is almost 8.5, and I will confess that I still pick out her clothes daily. She does not really have much of an opinion on what she wears, so it has made my life easier to select things for her. I stick to mix-and-match items. She has leggings and yoga pants in a variety of colors, shirts of various brands, etc. As she moves into size 8 clothing, though, I have been feeling a lot more stress in choosing appropriate clothes for her.

I'm not a fan of dayglo colors (and they're ALL the rage). I find a lot of clothing on the racks to be WAY too racy for an 8-year-old. At the same time, I also struggle with not wanting to dress her like she's 5.

I'd say about 70% of her clothing is Jumping Beans brand at Kohl's. But it's size 7, and they don't go up to size 8. Due to this, I've found myself browsing many websites looking for clothes that I thought would work for her. 

Today we went on a little shopping expedition, and I think we made out pretty well! She had a $50 gift card from Macy's to use, so together we selected some tops I thought were appropriate and she loved. Then we finished off our trip with stops at H&M and WalMart.

In the end, it wasn't as traumatic for her (or me!).

She loved putting on a fashion show when we got home, so I thought I'd share some of our findings. 

Before we went shopping, we went to a birthday party. Pardon the laundry pile behind her. This is one of the cute ensembles I managed to put together. Top is from The Children's Place, skirt is from Macy's, and boots are from The Children's Place.

Outfit #1 that we picked up. I had her wear a white tank top under it because the neck is lower than I prefer. Top is from Macy's. Navy blue leggings are from Gymboree.

This cute ruffled sleeveless T we got from Macy's looks great in person! Paired with pink leggings from Gymboree.

Bebe's favorite color is red, and she found this dress on the clearance rack at Macy's. It was only $7 so how could I say no?! It said it was a medium, so it's an 8-10. It's big on her, especially at the neck, but she loves it. Perhaps we'll hang on to it for next Christmas?

 This was the first shirt she picked up at Macy's. The flutter sleeves are really nice, and the 3-D bow on the puppy was definitely her favorite thing. Paired with black Circo leggings from Target.

 This shirt we picked up at Wal-Mart for only $3. It's a lot like what I have in her drawers right now. This outfit is pretty typical of what she wears most days. French terry pants are Circo brand from Target.

This outfit was only $7 at WalMart for both pieces! I was worried an 8 was going to be too big, and it is a little bit, but she has room to grow into it. Our store didn't have many to choose from for these sets, but I've found more online. I think I'm going to pick up one or two more!

This shirt was actually a gift from her Auntie. It's a Gap shirt that has that off-the-shoulder look. We finally picked up a tank top to go under it, so she wanted to try that on, too. Paired with black Circo leggings.

Would you believe that this dress was only $6?! I LOVE H&M! Bebe was excited to find another dress with red in it. This is actually a size 6-8y, which is hit-or-miss for her build. Sometimes I find she needs an 8-10y at H&M, but I'm so glad this dress fit her! I know she will wear it a lot this summer.

As we venture into summer weather I know she'll need more things. My #1 hunt is for nice knit dresses that aren't too pricey. Wish me luck!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Totally Random

— 1 —
Last night Bebe spilled a full glass of strawberry-blueberry-pear smoothie (homemade!) on our brand-new beige carpet. ACK! I did what any quick-thinking mother would do: ran to Pinterest! We patted, we blotted, we diluted with water, and we used a baking soda-vinegar paste to work the stain out. I'm happy to report that this morning D couldn't tell me where the spill happened!
— 2 —
I bought myself a red sweater. I am wearing it as I type. It makes me think of Christmas or Valentine's Day but it's SO soft and cozy. The bonus? It was only $9! I love clearance and 30% off Kohl's coupons!

— 3 —
 I've discovered that I'm in the wrong profession. Last Friday I hit a post in our carport. On Monday I took my car to a few places for quotes. Labor costs are $55-$60/hour?! I need to go become a mechanic.

— 4 —
I signed up for Italian lessons! You would think since D speaks it fluently, he'd teach me... but he's never around enough. And anyway, I'd love to learn Portuguese from him first. The class runs from May through July, and I can't wait! An extra bonus is that a friend I only see every once-every-six-months-or-so-when-the-stars-align is taking it with me, so we'll see each other every week for a while!

— 5 —
Fridays are no longer fun days. I'm stuck not in "Woo-hoo, it's the weekend!" mode but, "ZOMG how am I going to survive without meat today?!" mode. I don't have eggs, nuts, seafood, etc. to fall back on like most. Breakfast was a smoothie & dry cereal. Lunch will be pinto beans and polenta (forgot to make rice). Dinner will probably be pasta with sauce. Only a little under 13 hours to go...

— 6 —
My office started a Biggest Loser challenge. I joined in because my friends were doing it and I have been wanting to shed the last few pounds I'm still hanging on to since having Dois (although I can't blame him--I can blame my insane lack of willpower and distaste for exercise). Week 1s results showed me in 2nd place! OK, don't pay attention to the fact that 1/2 the people in the challenge were out of the office for weigh-in due to the holiday or a conference. 2nd place! I highly doubt I will win, but it's nice to see myself chipping away at the weight I want to lose.

— 7 —

We got a fish. His name is Carl "the Science Fish." He is a veiltail betta, and is very pretty (this picture is proof of my horrible photography skills--he's a beautiful blue and red mix). We haven't killed him yet and it's been 4 days. He seems depressed, though. Hasn't been eating much. I'm already remembering why I'm not a pet person. Kids are high-maintenance enough, thankyouverymuch! 

Head on over to Jen's blog for more 7 Quick Takes!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I wanna be somebody...

I'm going to apologize in advance to any readers who read this and can figure out the conversation that sparked this post. If you were a part of it, please know I didn't write this in response to any one thing, but more because that post got the wheels turning in my head.

I would like to think that if I ever suddenly died, that one of the primary thoughts people would think about me is, "She was a very loving mother. She would do anything for her children." Because, honestly, I would. I love my children so much. Perhaps, some may think, a little too much. For me, they come first and foremost. And then after them comes my husband, my faith (yes I am working on moving that up the list), my home, my job, and maybe, just maybe, if there is anything left, THEN it's me.

The word "selfless" sounds too prideful. A person who is selfless is someone who puts everything and anything before themselves intentionally... but the thing is, you can't be selfless, if you don't truly believe in the core of you that there is a self. I think that's where my issue lies.

I can't say where the root of all of this is... perhaps it developed over time through my rocky childhood, struggles with bullying, failed relationships, etc. I don't put myself first--ever--because I am not confident in who I am. What is there to put first? (If that makes sense.)

I shower every few days. I last wore makeup at my wedding. I only wear dresses to weddings. I dress comfortably, not stylishly, 96% of the time. I don't work out at a gym or exercise at all. I don't eat insanely healthy or care about what I put into my body (besides what I'm allergic to, plus drugs and alcohol).

When I was in high school I went on a retreat where we got this little printout of a girl and the caption says, "I know that I'm SOMEBODY, because God don't make no junk!" Yes, I believe this... but my actions speak louder than my words and my actions say that I don't.

At the same time, I have no clue how I could possibly do all I do in life and also do more to take care of myself. For starters, the motivation isn't there. I can't say I WANT it, but I don't want to DO anything to get it (yes, much like a spoiled child). Secondly, I already feel maxxed to my limits. Stretched too thin. Every single minute accounted for in one way or another. Even finding time to pee is difficult. I know this isn't the way to live, but I don't know what else to do.

I think, honestly, this is why I struggle with my blog at times. Why am I writing? I'm a nobody. A nobody trying to be a somebody. A poser, if you may. 

I want to be a mom, but I also want to be ME. The problem is, I'm going to be turning 33 in a little over a week and I still have no idea who ME is. I'm defined by my children, my husband, my job... strip it all away and what you have is a shell of a person.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Photo edition

--- 1 ---
February 1st we began our move! While the kids sat in a chair watching TV, D and I began loading our cars with boxes to take to the new place...

--- 2 ---
....and boxes, and boxes, and BOXES. Yes, there were a lot of boxes. But this stack of EMPTY boxes were the fruits of our labor by Saturday night. We worked all day Friday and all day Saturday, and by Sunday morning we were about 95% moved in!

--- 3 ---
Which was good, because on Sunday we got to spend time with some very special friends of ours who came ALLLL the way from Alaska to warm up a little bit. Bebe and K are only 2 weeks apart and they are both cut from the same mold. I've never met another child Bebe's age who matches her personality and energy as much as K does. We had a great time with K and her family--we swam at our pool, then we went to Chipotle (on Superbowl Sunday night, so the place was dead). Poor Bebe cried the entire way home after saying goodbye.
--- 4 ---
My silly boy. He's fascinated by all of the doors here. Since we're in a downstairs unit, our apartment is handicap-accessible and the doors have easy-to-open handles. Many doors have been slammed in the last week by this playful little bugger.

--- 5 ---
Combining the kids from 2 rooms into 1 was probably my biggest challenge. I had a floor plan going in, but once I got in there, nothing felt "right" where I had envisioned it. When I came home Monday night, I found this:
D had the morning off and took it upon himself to rearrange the kids' bedroom. And he did a great job! Their toys are all neatly put away and there's a nice large space in the center of the room for them to use for playing.

--- 6 ---
We lost a room when we moved. We went from having separate dining and living room spaces to having one large (but not very large!) space for both. I'm pretty happy with how we set things up. It honestly doesn't feel as small

--- 7 ---
As if moving isn't stressful enough... On Friday D and I took the day off to do some moving ourselves. On Monday D took off the morning to do some moving-related stuff. On Monday, when I picked Dois up from daycare, he was coughing.  Overnight that cough became a HORRIBLE cold. D and I have been rotating days off, but the poor kiddo is miserable. Tonight I was desperate to eat dinner (kids had been fed) but he was too fussy for me to put down. Finally, out of desperation, I swaddled him and put him in the chair to watch TV. 2 minutes later, this is how I found him:

Sweet boy.
He is on the mend, though. Fever-free for 24 hours, so he's heading back to daycare in the morning.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!