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December 2011

Year In Review (Summary: TIRED)

2011, while ultimately a fabulous year, certainly kicked my rear end all over the place. Just REMEMBERING what this year contained made me tired. 

There was the Baby. We got pregnant in January and I was SUPAH EXCITED and my husband was SUPAH APPREHENSIVE and then it was like we almost FORGOT about it because (see below) 1. House and 2. Business Travel got in the way. I swear, if I hadn't been so freaking TIRED all the time I'm not sure I would have ever thought about it those first several months. I don't think I've ever napped so much in my life. The napping continued the entire nine months - turns out I was anemic! Fun times! What else about being pregnant? Wait, why do I even want to remember anything else? MOVING ON. Then we HAD the baby and I've briefed you on THAT event. We are all recovered, except the part in my brain that is all WTF, BODY? 

And the baby... I just love her. I just LOVE her. I am so happy to get to do this all again, even though it's hard and a slog and tough on my marriage and a bummer for my social life and puts a stop to pretty much everything I want to get done in my house. But I just love that Emma is EMMA, and I don't really know who that IS yet, but I will get to find out and it's all very exciting. Less exciting than the first time, because it's not the first time, but MORE exciting than the first time, because I know what's coming and I know how awesome it is. So very grateful I got a baby out of 2011. 

Then there was The House. We'd always planned to move sometime this year, just not QUITE as quickly as we did. I think the month where 1) we found out the landlord was selling the house and 2) we found a new house and 3) we dealt with people constantly coming to look at the rental house AND the landlord working on the rental house and 4) packing and 5) moving while 6) PHILLIP WAS ON A BUSINESS TRIP... (and also still in school, GAK.) I am not exaggerating when I say I think that was the hardest not-anxious week/month of my entire life. I suppose that goes to show how easy my life has been/is, but managing a house purchase, managing a move, packing every single box myself, managing a real estate agent who is selling a house that is NOT mine, all while solo parenting two children and anemic pregnant with a third... okay, I feel like finding a nice hole, crawling into it, and sobbing right now. 

That said, the new house was/is awesome and I continue to marvel at this huge HUGE answer to prayer. I prayed for "a big enough house in Seattle" for YEARS, people. YEARS. Because there was just no way that we would be able to AFFORD a big enough house in Seattle unless God magically made one appear. AND HE DID. It's not perfect. It's in a weird neighborhood, the layout is weird, it's got hideous 1980s cabinets, there's a hole in the carpet, and I will be waging a war against pine needles until the day I die BUT OH WOW IS IT BIG ENOUGH. So one of the more fun parts of my year has been organizing it, decorating it, fixing it up, and discovering a secret passion for spray paint. If you had told me this time last year that I would purchase a giant buffet with the intention of painting it white I would have laaaaaaughed! HA HA HA. But I am really excited about doing this stuff and investing in this place. 

There was Business Travel - not anything new, but made for a difficult couple of weeks here and there. For me. I still can't find a Perspective to have about this, one that works for me and doesn't make my husband feel bad. Blargh.

There was Preschool. I was unhappy with the decisions I made while realizing that I probably would have made the same choices all over again. I did the best I could with the information I had, basically. Things have worked out by now, but this was a major Sticking Point Of Failure in my head for a long time. That said, the preschool section of this blog post also contains preschool during the first half of the year, back when Jack was at the original school. And that one was awesome and completely perfect in every way and I'm so thankful Jack had that awesome introduction to Life Away From Home. 

There was the Nonexistent Eating Well and Exercising, which I am dealing with NOW. 

There were some pretty awesome times with my family. 

There were some fun trips with my husband. Grad school ended in June - PRAISE THE LORD.

There was that weekend at the end of March when my internet ladies stayed at my house OMG THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN I MISS YOU GUYS WHEN ARE WE DOING THAT AGAIN?

I met some really great new friends this year too, which is awesome because how often does that happen when you're a grown up, hmm?

And to use Tessie's sublime summary system: Happier/Fatter/Poorer (although the fatter and poorer don't really count since I'm fatter because I had a BABY and poorer because we bought a HOUSE, both TOTALLY WORTH IT, right?) 

2011 = Mostly Awesome With A Side of Major Exhaustion And Excruciating Pain (See 9/23/11)

See you in 2012! Next week on the blawg will be The Week Of 2012 Resolutions. You = WHEE!


What to do today?

There's a picture of Emma and me at Parenting today. My mother took this picture and thinks it's great and all I can see is CIRCLED EYES OF TIREDNESS. 

But you know, the waking every two hours at night wouldn't be so awful if I could just get her to take a decent nap during the day, instead of putting her back to sleep every 15 or 20 minutes - WAIT. I already wrote all of this at Parenting. I am stealing my own content. 

We were going to visit my parents today until Phillip remembered we have a his-side-of-the-family dinner tonight and can't go anywhere. (When we visit my parents we stay all day - Phillip takes the commuter train to their town after work, we have dinner together, and HE drives home in the dark instead of me.) SOOOO. Right now Jack and Molly are playing with [torturing] Emma and I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do with ourselves. Because they've already started asking for more things to doooo and I'm already tired of screeching, "LOOK AT ALL THE STUFF YOU GOT TO DO FOR CHRISTMAS!"

These children need to go to SCHOOL is what I'm saying. Even Molly, the preschool dropout. I think ballet lessons will work, don't you?

Oh, that reminds me, I have Deep Thoughts on why we schedule our kids up for all these things - or at least why *I* am thinking of scheduling them up... but I don't feel like writing that now. I feel like eating chocolate cake for breakfast. Of course we don't HAVE any chocolate cake because I am doing stupid WEIGHT WATCHERS HATE. 

(I have lost all the Christmas weight, though. Now I can actually start to lose the baby weight again. HO HUM.)

I am trying to figure out how horrible it would be to drag all three kids to Home Depot to buy the supplies to paint my new craigslist furniture (OH YES WE BOUGHT IT) (GAK). The big kids are actually quite good in stores, and in Home Depot they stand in front of the Disney paint display and pick out colors for their rooms. It's just the car seat hassle and the shopping cart hassle and the not knowing what I really need to buy, so I have to look at everything on the shelf hassle. But then I could START my project instead of sitting around all day wanting to start my project. 

Then I think of the Parenting commenters who tell me that this stage of life is not about MEEEE it's about the CHILLLLDREN and then I get grouchy because they are RIGHT. Well. They are right-ISH. I would tend to take them more seriously if they weren't so sanctimonious about it. Another discussion for another day!

Point being: perhaps I should just be a mom today. For once. MAYBE. Hmm. 


Because I am not yet ready to debrief Christmas...

...let's discuss my all out flaming desire to go back to painting something. 

I think it has to do with the fact that the new couch is way bigger than the old couches, and I had to push it farther back in the room. That meant I gave up a lot of the behind-the-couch space where the kids play. (The room is weird, and it seems like this is really the only way to position the couch: sort of in the middle of the room!) I used to be able to keep (read: hide) a lot of toys back there, but now there's only room for the play house and some of Jack's Trio blocks. And it's just cramped and I don't like it and I'm not sure what to do about it SO LET'S JUST MOVE ON SHALL WE. 

Obvs I need some sort of living room toy storage. I've been hankering for this Hemnes console, since it matches the TV bench/bookshelf/glass cabinet we bought to form an "entertainment center". 

Hemnesconsole

Nothing special, but with some colorful baskets it screams I CAN STORE ALL THE TOYS! Doesn't it? 

But I am not in LOVE with our "entertainment center". We bought those pieces because we desperately needed something to put the television on AND we didn't want to spend a lot of money AND we couldn't really agree on what we wanted. The grand vision for that space actually involves custom built ins to span the whole wall, hopefully with a fireplace and lots of bookshelves and cabinets. Maybe when we win the lottery. Which would be after we win the lottery to remodel (read: totally redesign and rebuild) the bathroom situation. SIGH.

All that to say maybe I don't want to buy another Ikea thing to match the Ikea things with which I am not in love. ???

So I've been trolling craigslist and I am SORT OF in love with this. In a glossy white? Or even a dark teal? A mustard yellow? I am not afraid of color, people! But did you see how it opens with all those DRAWERS? I am loving the drawers. WHAT DO WE THINK, INTERNET? Can I pull it off?

But it's $200 and I've never painted a large piece of furniture and I just don't KNOW. It's kind of OLD and ORNATE for me, but if it were a COLOR I think I would love it. 

This is why I am going out to Goodwill this morning, also St. Vincent DePaul, to see if there's anything else out there. Again I ask: WHO AM I?

This isn't the only project on my mind today. I am very much intrigued by this DIY bar:

 

I have nowhere to put such a thing, but it looks FUN and I'm all "Maybe I could give it to my sister for her birthday!" except I am PRETTY SURE my sister is not into thrift store furniture refinished by an amateur, esp an amateur she is RELATED TO which means she would have to TAKE IT and PUT IT SOMEWHERE lest she hurt my tender wittle feelings so OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A BAD IDEA. 

I also want to paint/redo the long dresser we use for a changing table, because I am RATHER UNHAPPY with the mess that is Emma's new room. The room itself has lots of potential - high ceilings, big windows - but I have a crib, a rocking chair, a twin bed and a huge dresser crammed in there and nothing fits right and I don't love it and I've decided that a dresser/changing table redo will be the Magic Solution. 

But again: HAVE NEVER PAINTED A GIANT PIECE OF FURNITURE. 

Also, I think one of the drawers is kind of permanently warped. What would be the point of refinishing THAT. I should be looking for a new dresser/changing table too, huh!

If I were very brave I would talk Phillip into going to Ikea today, because I want to buy and paint RASTs for our nightstands. This idea is my favorite:

 

Those are the perfect colors for my bedroom, even! 

What else... oh, I'm looking at all the refinished china hutches, because one day I shall have one. I'm looking at lamps and end tables and I'm realizing that I like everything old and refinished in a COLOR than I do everything new and WOOD-colored and I swear, one day I'm going to wake up and realize I live in some sort of primary-colored badly-painted preschool. 


Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Earlier this week I called the childbirth center to find out when my labor nurse was working, then tonight I loaded up the car with Emma, a giant box of gourmet cookies from Costco, and a Christmas card that took me forever to write and headed over to the hospital.

They told me she'd be available around 7:30, but I waited quite a bit longer than that. It never occurred to me to just leave the box of cookies and the card at the nurses' station. I wanted to see My Nurse even though, and this is something I thought about while sitting waiting for her, that I try to avoid most of these situations. I often don't answer the phone, I'll drop by when I know someone isn't there, I almost exclusively email. 

I told myself it was because I didn't really IDENTIFY myself in the card, and if she didn't see me in person and talk to me she'd have no idea who wrote it or what this strange lady was talking about. But I think I'd have wanted to see her anyway. 

She poked her head around the corner and she looked totally different to me. She was wearing street clothes, not scrubs, and she hadn't been up all night working. She didn't recognize me, which I expected. I had prepared a whole introduction. "My name is Maggie," I said, "and you delivered my baby."

She looked at me again and then went, "OHHHH."

So she cooed over Emma, as anyone would, and Emma smiled up a storm and basically did me proud. My Nurse seemed to remember more about Emma's birth the longer I stood there talking to her. She wanted to know how Phillip was ("was he traumatized?") She asked a lot about how I was after I went home, bringing up certain things that happened or things about me she'd observed in the hospital, some of which I don't remember at all and wonder if she might be mixing up with someone else. Kind of graphic scary-ish things that at once were validating and terribly unflattering. 

I told her I just wanted to bring her something and tell her how much I appreciated her presence and that I would never ever forget and she said, "Me either!" 

I thought I might cry - honestly, just driving around to that particular entrance to the hospital was super emotional. I used to feel that way just LOOKING at the hospital where Jack and Molly were born. This was a little different though. It wasn't just The Place Where We Had Emma but also The Place Where This THING Happened. 

I didn't cry. But I do find myself tearing up a lot lately. I never know if this, like, residual hormones or just my innate over-sensitivity to absolutely everything hardly worth crying over. Both? But this entrance of Emma's, this crashing and bursting and loud arrival has really left its mark on me. Now when I pray the Christmas novena the beginning stands out even more: Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born, of the most pure Virgin Mary at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold.

Last year I wrote that praying the Christmas novena was an entirely fresh Advent experience for me, and really drove home the setting of Jesus' birth. In a BARN. In the COLD. Around ANIMALS. And DIRT. It wasn't just Away In The Manger and O Little Town of Bethlehem anymore, it was having a baby in a BARN. 

And this year, it's having a baby in a barn and wondering if Mary screamed, if she went out of her mind, if anyone heard, if she even CARED that it was a barn. I no longer remember what it felt like, only that I never want to feel it again. Each time I pray the novena prayer, a tiny part of me remembers, a tiny part of me clings to Mary in a brand new way. And at the end, when you say through the merits of our Savior, Jesus Christ and of his Blessed Mother, I sometimes tack on his Amazing Blessed Mother. Because, well, come on. She had her baby without an epidural and she had her baby in a BARN. 

I intend to celebrate this event with piles of presents and heaps of chocolate. We have something like fourteen get togethers planned between now and Sunday evening and I am so very thankful I have a new baby to haul around to each of these events. And if there's anything good that came out of those three bewildering hours in the hospital its this new way to... connect? with Mary. Well, besides Emma, of course. She's pretty awesome. 

Photo (43)

Merry Christmas, Internet!


Your standard cop out photo post

Here's my new couch:

Photo (39)

...with a bonus shot of the laundry basket. These are all crappy phone pictures, sorry. But WHAT DO I PUT ON THAT WALL? Behind the couch is a tiny little bit of room where the kids play and make a mess, and to the left is a very small end table and a standing lap (in this picture it's going as The Great Shining Orb.) The back corner of the couch backs up right to the wall (the whole thing is at an angle) and there's not really any room behind that side of the couch for, say, a console table. Unless we shove the couch out farther into the room. I don't know. We have a friend who paints Very Very Large Paintings and I am thisclose to shelling out the $$$ for one of them, just so I don't have to look at that big blank spot anymore. 

THIS would be...

IMG_0272.

...my fashion plate daughter dressed up in all of her aunt's jewelry. I think SIL had a whole separate suitcase for her JEWELS, as Molly calls them. 

This one would be of Molly and her fashion plate cousins. Also a scruffy brother.

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That little one on the end is a hoot, as evidenced by...

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Riiiight. Here we have Mighty Maggie's Dad, the package of fake mustaches he bought at the dollar store, and five of his nine grandchildren (the others being too small or too smart to be caught dead in this photo op.) I'm not sure how my dad is going to feel about his Website Debut, but COME ON. MUSTACHES. I am also dying to call my brother and discuss his son's possible futures in used car sales and other unsavory businesses.

This one is just sweet:

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I think I have this exact same picture with Jack and Molly. Same outfits, even. Also, big thanks to SIL for taking pictures with a REAL camera, lest my children grow up believing they were always fuzzy looking.

We all had to have a Moment today when it was discovered that EJ doesn't quite fit in the baby doll stroller anymore.

Photo (41)

FATTY.

And tonight we went to the local Candy Cane Lane to see the lights.

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Emma slept from 1 to 4:30 today, then she fell asleep in the car when we drove to the lights, then she slept in her stroller, then she slept through our stop for little pink doughnuts at Starbucks, and she is STILL SLEEPING in her car seat in my bedroom. Either this is a wondrous magical miracle OR WE ARE SCREWED TONIGHT. 


Time to make more toffee bars, obvs

Oh you guys are SO NICE TO ME. I should be miserable more often! 

Wait! AM NOT MISERABLE. Am merely struggling to get over one measly roadblock (newbornhood) and one insignificant schedule snafu (the holidays) and then! WORLD DOMINATION.

My brother and his family stayed over last night so I had a house full of people in the morning and you'd THINK this would be stressful, but it was actually pretty awesome. EVEN THOUGH all of my children slept in and I had to get out of bed because I didn't want my guests to feel weird in my living room without me. (Although: this is my brother we're talking about. He's been invading my space since he learned to walk.) But when Jack and Molly finally got up they had a cousin to play with, and I had grown ups to talk to and a reason to not rush around the house trying to Get Stuff Done AND THEN! My sister came over! With my nieces and they were just here to work on a gift for their dad but still, it was really really really super nice to be around People. 

Especially people who hold the baby so I can take a 15 minute nap on my couch. Which turned out to be a lifesaver a little later in my day, when Emma would not take an afternoon nap. WOULD NOT! How dare I even ATTEMPT a nap! WHO DO I THINK I AM?!?!

See, I thought I was being all smart. I declared the big kids would have Quiet Time and we were going to do it RIGHT. Molly was banished to her room with a pile of books. Jack was banished to my room with a pile of books (also the iPad, because I was sure Molly would fall asleep and I'd need some extra Jack ammo to keep him happy). And Emma was down for the count. I plopped onto my couch with a bag of 100 calorie popcorn and the second season of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. BUT HO HO HO! Molly did not fall asleep! She kept yelling upstairs to find out when she could get up! And Jack, he wanted snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Also, did I see how awesome he was at that game? Should he do it again just so I could experience the awesome again? And Emma, she who is lately taking beautiful monster naps in the afternoon, decided to wake up every fifteen minutes. I lost count of how many times I re-napped that baby. I finally put her down on the couch next to me, where she slept, but startled awake every time I so much as moved a finger. GAH!

So, no relaxing afternoon for me, but this was still okay! Because my in-laws were coming up! IT WOULD ALL BE FINE!

And people, I am extra super duper proud of myself because right after I fed the baby, I handed her off to MIL and I went downstairs to run (okay, we are using the word 'run' RATHER LOOSELY) two miles. I knew I would be happier if I ran, much happier than if I napped, AND I AM. I WIN TODAY. 

Still tired though. OBVS.

I have the gift of Lots of People this week. I'm an introvert and lots of people wear me out, but for some reason I need them around to keep my head on straight. If I spend too much time alone I start writing blog posts like yesterday's. I get all Despairing. I talk myself into and out of so many different states of being. And yes, this is going to be a crazy week, but the only thing required of me is my [delightful] presence. Jack and Molly are going to have a blast and a half with all their cousins. Someone else will hold Emma so I can address the four frillion Christmas cards I ordered from Costco. IT WILL ALL BE OKAY. 

The only ONLY thing bumming me out right now? NO MORE FUDGE. Wah.


Is this hard?

Today was another not so great day, Internet. It started out fine, and I think it's going to end all right, but somewhere in the middle I was slamming kitchen cupboards and muttering under my breath and grasping the counter edge and shutting my eyes and trying not to cry. And then I did anyway because MAN, I do not think I am doing very well! 

I am not depressed and I am not anxious, so we are just going to rule out PPD and the baby blues and hormonal imbalances and all that stuff. What we ARE going to take into consideration is the fact that I am TIRED. I'm not pregnant-tired - like, I'm not collapsing in bed every single afternoon and willing Jack to leave me alone for three straight hours. It's more of a manic tired, if that makes any sense... my body is tired, but my BRAIN is tired. 

Phillip being gone last week, the holidays and all the stuff we do to celebrate, all the things I have to get done this week - I don't know why it's so hard for me to say THIS IS HARD. I had a handful of People I Want To Approve Of Me tell me that third babies are easy, that they just slide right into your family. I'm feeling bad because I don't know if I can put myself in that camp. I don't feel like it's been that easy. But I can't bear to say EMMA is hard. I don't think she IS. She's hardly gassy at all anymore! (Although the barfing persists, alas.) Right now she's hanging out on her little mat, kicking the little bells hanging off the toy bar, staring at herself in the little mirror and basically being all out adorable. EMMA is not hard. 

But she is not sleeping through the night, and probably won't for, you know, YEARS. The big kids are not napping anymore - actually, Molly skipping her nap most days makes things a little easier. Not as much Keeping Jack Busy as I usually have to do. But I'm On all day, and when Phillip was gone last week I was On all night and then we had a bunch of stuff going on this weekend which was all GOOD FUN STUFF and I would totally do it all over again, but I am SO TIRED. 

I get angry. My patience with the kids drops to practically nonexistent levels. A pair of socks on the floor turns into this Thing where all I do is pick up after everybody all freaking day long and AAAHHH I CAN'T DO IT ANYMOOOOORE!

I knew it was not anybody's fault, and lashing out at my husband or the children would not be productive no matter HOW good it would feel. So after a couple deep breaths I took myself down the guest room and laid down until I felt like a decent human being again. 

People keep asking me if three kids is hard and I REALLY REALLY WISH they'd stop asking me that question. I hate it. It takes an act of God for me to admit to MYSELF that something is hard and there's no way I'm going to admit it to YOU. At the same time, I strive to be honest and open and so someone asks me and all I do is just stare, blankly, trying to think of an answer that is truthful... and I don't know what the truth is.

I AM having a hard time right now, but is that three kids? Is it the holidays? Is it coping with business trips? Is it the constant beating-up-of-self that I do every time I get dressed in the morning? Is it not having time to exercise? Is it all the stuff we're doing? With family and friends and how I really have to go back to labor and delivery and drop off a gift for the nurses and I want to bake bread for the neighbors and our Christmas cards aren't going to be mailed until January and and and and and...

And right now I'm fine. I'm hanging out on the couch typing this while my brother and his wife and my husband discuss what movie to numb our brains with this evening. Emma is being adorable. I am resisting the siren call of dessert. I found time to take a nap this afternoon! Right now? Three kids is easy! 

What does that even mean? Three kids... I mean, there are so many differnet combinations and layouts and arrangements. I barely remember the first six months of Molly's life - does that mean things were hard with two under two and I just don't remember it? Do you see how hard I am trying to believe that THINGS ARE NOT HARD? 

But I think they are. Right now. Because of everything. Blargh. 


Friday Reads & Recommends

Quick - two things I want to remember from today.

In the car, discussing what we will order in the McDonald's drive through. Jack wants a cheeseburger, Molly wants a hamburger, but just to make sure I say, "Molly, do you want cheese on your hamburger?" And Molly says, "No, just ham."

Jack is showing Phillip (PHILLIP IS HOME!) a big picture of the nativity from preschool. Phillip is asking who all the people are. Jack is pointing all of them out and when he gets to the wise men he says, "These are the wise men, and their last name is Three Kings." 

I AM EXHAUSTED. Anyway!

I find Chelsea Clinton vaguely interesting seeing as how we're the same age and I even MET her once (at The Northern Italian Military Base That Shall Not Be Named - Chelsea, her mom, the secretary of defense, Sheryl Crow, and SINBAD were all making the military base rounds my junior year of high school. The high school band played at some welcome event - I sat directly behind Sinbad and spent the entire time staring at the designs shaved into his giant head. I wonder if his head still looks like that. BUT I DIGRESS.) So I totally read all the Chelsea Clinton Rock Center reviews and this one was kinda funny. I don't think that girl can win. But does that even matter when you are Chelsea Clinton? I'd be all, "Oh, is the internet making fun of me? I guess I'll just go buy myself another vacation home." 

This was interesting AND funny (my favorite kind of article): Why Are American Politicians Always Switching Religions?

I don't really know why I'm linking to this, other than the fact that it contained this: "mandatory pregnancy is an excessive punishment" which... well, I have NO idea what to say about that, other than I sort of think this XX Factor blog on Slate is a little bit ridiculous. Oh wait! Anyone who reads Jen Fulwiler at NC Register would recognize the name on that blog post. AHEM.

Okay, this one is a little ridiculous too (linked on Facebook by another favorite smartypants Catholic named Jen). Why mothers IN GENERAL are not super excited about working full time (and dads are) seems a little bit obvious to me, but whatever. 

MOVING ON! 

A little bit freaky - photos of a half-built abandoned Disneyland-style park in China

Best New Things of 2011 (Spotify FOR SURE.)

ANOTHER Ryan Gosling postcard site - this one called Ryan Gosling Reads YA. And did I show you the one from the crafty Ryan Gosling site, where hey girl, he has a coupon for Jo-Ann? I still like Feminist Ryan Gosling best, but this one from the YA tumblr is pretty cute.

Okay, now your turn. I am determined - DETERMINED! - to see a movie over Christmas and I need to know which one to see. The George Clooney movie? The Margaret Thatcher movie? What is a good mix of Entertaining and I'll Need To Know About It When I Put On An Old Bridesmaid Dress And Watch The Oscars? (Actually I really want to see this Charlize Theron movie where she's trying to get her high school boyfriend back - EVIL CHARLIZE!)

Happy weekend. I'll be hanging out with my super adorable nephews by which I mean trying to survive the Jac + Nephews tornado. 

 


I put on mascara for this

We can now add "The School Christmas Program" to the list of things I don't do well. 

I'll tell you about it, but first I have to go pour myself a glass of wine. A BIG GLASS.

On the offchance I did not beat you over the head with the fact today - Phillip is out of town. This was disappointing - also stressful. (Also the subject of my post at Parenting tomorrow, should you be interested in my kvetching about all my first world problems.) Anyway, it just sounded like a logistical mess to me. Three kids, a baby who demands to eat at inopportune times, getting Jack to his classroom early, a seven pm start time aka BEDTIME. 

I decided to solve this problem with in-laws. They arrived later than they said, but everything was going fine, if not exactly easily - I had all three dressed up and fed and I was attempting another Christmas card picture on OUR NEW COUCH which had been delivered mere hours beforehand. 

Jack was supposed to be there twenty minutes early, and since we are only two blocks from the school I decided I would drop him off, then come back for everyone else. Emma needed to eat again and I thought this would buy me a few more minutes to ensure a happy baby at the concert. 

But the parking lot, even twenty minutes early, was jam packed. It's a SMALL parking lot, but still. I realized that not everyone lives twenty minutes away, that most parents were probably dropping their kids at their classrooms and then heading over to the hall to find a seat. And I was going to have to book it back to the house and herd everyone outside to WALK, since 1) there would obviously be nowhere left to park by the time we came back and 2) WE WERE SOOO LATE! 

But it was more like herding cats? And I mean, it's my own fault too. We had to gather hats, mittens, cameras, strollers, coats, I had to... well, you know, I should probably stop thinking and/or wishing that people could just read my mind because they're just NOT going to do what I want at the proper speed, ie: NOW NOW NOW LET'S GET OUT OF HERE.

And you guys, there was NOWHERE TO SIT. The first two rows were supposedly reserved for Pre-K and Kindergarten parents, but there was no space left. No space ANYWHERE. I felt horrible. My first kid's first concert and I can't even manage to find a SEAT. How would he even know I was there? We found an empty spot along the wall and I parked Emma and picked up Molly and tried to sort of sneak my way into the front where the Pre-K kids were sitting on the floor - no dice. Such a stickler, that Pre-K teacher! And seriously, any time I asked anyone about an extra seat, it was taken or not to be used or SOMETHING OMG I FELT SO STUPID.

So whatever. I just decided we would stand near the wall with my MIL and Emma (FIL was bouncing around looking for the best picture-taking angle.) We did that for the opening act (the beginning band and HOW I REMEMBER BEGINNING BAND) and then it was the little kids' turn to sing their two songs.

I did not expect to feel so proud, people. I mean, it's a CHRISTMAS PROGRAM. He's singing TWO SONGS. Two DUMB songs! But he was so cute. I swear he was the cutest kid on stage - DARE TO DISAGREE WITH ME, INTERNET. He looked so small and uncertain and ADORABLE and I just stood there willing him to see me where Molly and I had sneaked back into the front. We were off to the side, but he was on the same side (thank goodness) and he finally caught sight. His whole round little face lit up, it really did light up. He waved! I DIED! He was just the CUTEST THING. And then the singing - ugh, I am tearing up. COME ON, ME! Gah. But whatever, I was just SO proud of him and SO happy and relieved he knew I was there and knew where I was. I didn't take my eyes off him the entire time and I'm incredibly bummed out about not being in any position to take any type of picture whatsoever. I'm hoping FIL will come through on that!

But then the two songs were over and the kids filed off the stage. The little kids were supposed to find and sit with their parents. Except Jack's parent did not have a place for him to sit. I wasn't sure what to do. None of us really wanted to watch the rest of the show, but I also felt pretty conspicuous. There weren't too many people standing like us and NONE of them had kids. NONE. I asked Jack if he wanted to watch the other kids and he said, quite clearly, "I want to see one song and then I want to go home." Fine by me!

Getting out of there was SO awkward, though. Even though I'd told both MIL and FIL that we were leaving after the next song, it was like... WELL. AGAIN. I don't know why I go around expecting people to read my mind. PERSONAL PROBLEM. NOTED. Anyhow, our exit just wasn't as smooth as I would have liked. The kids want to go with me and not their grandfather, I'm not sure MIL is going to wheel Emma out or not, I'm not sure where the door is, I don't know if we're blocking the view, I'm trying to do this quietly but Molly is yammering on about something. I herded everyone out the nearest door and threw coats at the kids before FIL could burst into BUT THE CHILDREN WILL TURN INTO KIDSICLES! panic.

And then I almost cried on the way home. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I felt bad for leaving early - remember, I have teacher parents and I hear a LOT about parent behavior and I've always wanted to be the parent that ENJOYS the school programs and claps and laughs in the right places. I felt bad for leaving early, even though I didn't know anyone else in the school! I felt bad that people SAW us leave, especially Jack's teacher, whose eyes I could feel the entire time I was maneuvering everyone out. I felt bad that I didn't get there on time, that I didn't realize it would be so crowded, that Jack didn't have anywhere to SIT and experience the rest of HIS concert. I feel STUPID. 

I think I'm just tired. Emma's night wasn't so great, and she hardly slept at all today. (I blame my aunt, who visited right when everyone was sort of down for the afternoon. She did bring cookies, however, also pajamas she'd sewn herself AND thought Jack was a hoot when he was CLEARLY being a bratty show off, so I forgive her.)  

All that said, my new couch is pretty awesome. It's got one of those chaise things and ooh, typing your blog post with your legs kicked out on the chaise end is a really great way to write a blog post. 

Phillip comes home tomorrow! Also: does anyone have a good suggestion for something-edible-to-put-in-a-jar for Jack's teacher present? The only thing I can think of is granola (I know, my brain is about wiped out) and Mrs. Pre-K does not seem like the granola type... 


On track to eat all the fudge

It hasn't been the greatest day. One of those, "Gee, what do I do with all of us TODAY?" kind of days, with the added bonus of doing bedtime and night wakings on my own. Also the added bonus of three Potty Incidents (one tub related) and incessant requests for "what project can we do NOW, Mommy?" 

I have coped by yelling a lot, also eating whatever looks good in the freezer - mostly leftover chocolate things from the party. This helps until, in the case of the first coping method, one child starts to bawl, therefore making it abundantly clear that I'm Losing It. Or, in the case of the second method, I happen to walk in front of the bathroom mirror and notice, for the millionth time, the rounded face, muffin top, and love handles. 

Perhaps this is why I've parked the children in front of Dora's Christmas Carol and I am perusing the internet for something obscenely expensive. (Note: at least the internet got turned back on!)

The only grown up I've talked to today is The Therapist, who is just lovely, and today she said it was really fun to see what Jack and Molly can do, because she works with that age group and they're not... up to the Cheung kiddos' speed, shall we say. Not because the Cheung kiddos are brilliant - The Therapist, of course, works with an entirely different group of preschoolers, the ones who've already been through more than I will ever know. While this does make me feel grateful - that I've been given the responsibility (gift?) of decently parenting at least three children in the world - it doesn't really make me feel better about a bummer day. My averageness does not cheer me up.

I've been looking at jobs online, not because I want to go back to work, but because the idea of Doing Something Else sounds appealing. A paycheck, even a paltry one. Responsibility for other things. Feedback. Gold stars. Making a difference in a much more visible way. 

I know I'm feeling this way because Phillip is on a business trip. At least he's not also in school.

AND I don't know why I'm sabotaging myself by eating all the fudge. My size depresses me, but right now, skinny does not taste nearly as good as fudge. At first I was going to get back on track the week of the party, now the week after the party, now I'm thinking after Christmas, maybe in time for my trip to Palm Springs. Even if I honestly don't have time or space to exercise on my own, even if it's going to take a lot longer than it did with Molly, I can still NOT EAT THE FUDGE. But I do! Because it's there! And it DOES MAKE ME FEEL BETTER! 

Let's think about good things, shall we? 

My new couch is being delivered tomorrow. In a time frame that borders Jack's Christmas concert, which is slightly distressing, but we're just going to think positive vibes about it all working out, right? 

My family is all getting together at my house this Saturday - ALL of us - and I'm REALLY excited about it. I plan to set up the hot chocolate bar again, chocolate spoons and all. 

The kids were super cute picking out presents for each other at the dollar store today. 

I talked my MIL into having Christmas Day at our house this year which means I get to plan a brunch. A simple, FIL-friendly brunch, but there WILL be some sort of baked French toast. 

Last night with Emma wasn't awesome (ie: she did not sleep through the night) but it wasn't horrible and scary (ie: she was up all night with only me to hold her) so I'm not SO nervous about tonight. 

My in-laws will be up tomorrow to see Jack's Christmas concert, which means I have help around dinnertime, which is great. 

Phillip will be home in time to put the kids to bed on Thursday. 

I've been rocking the baby chair with my foot the entire time I've been writing this post and Emma is asleep. Also my leg.