Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow babies

The boys are adjusting to Wisconsin winter, and so is their mama. I grew up in Wisconsin of course, and lived in Iowa for a couple years, but I have never been a fan of cold weather. I would live in Arizona or Miami if I could. But weather isn't the most imporant factor, and a good job, a fun city, and close family are winning out.

My mom comments on my thin coat and lack of socks. In the mild Southern Oregon weather we just didn't need the multitudes of warm clothing. The boys were unprepared. Yesterday we went on an expedition and found snow pants, boots, hats, mittens and coats. This morning after breakfast, we methodically dressed the boys head to toe until they resembled brightly-colored miniature Pillsbury doughboys. Then Papa took them out into the snow. R held his breath and looked alarmed in his light-blue, fur-trimmed snow suit. Q screamed to be picked up and walked cautiously in the several inches of snow. He eventually took to it and enjoyed throwing snowballs with Papa. I quickly ventured outside to snap a few pictures and then watched from the windows. It is truly a whole new adventure.

My sister G lives an hour away with her husband and four sons ages six and under. Three of her boys came over yesterday, and Q found a buddy. One cousin is about nine months older. They were attached at the hip the rest of the afternoon and held toddler conversations about going up high on planes and making dinner. It was wonderful and made me happy we are here.
I am starting to get a little bored though. I just feel weird. It feels like I am on vacation, but I won't be returning to Oregon. I have very little looming responsibility so I feel sort of lost. I don't have a car of my own here, and I am trying to figure out my routine in the midst of my parents'. It's strange. I feel self-conscious when Q throws a tantrum in front of my mom or when I take a nap in the afternoon. I have to ask to borrow the computer or car. This afternoon I was going a little stir crazy, so I borrowed my dad's Cadillac and went in search of coffee. I got lost on the way home, and when texting my husband didn't work, I called my parents and got directions.
It will be nice when T gets here, and we can take advantage of built-in babysitters. For now, I am trying to enjoy the stocked wine cellar, excellent meals, and complete workout room. At least there are perks in this limbo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On solid ground

I did it. Now I believe I can do anything. I flew by myself cross-country with a baby and a two year old. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

It was tricky packing because we will stay with my parents for a few months and then move to a temporary place. I had to pack short term and long term. And I didn't exactly plan ahead. I did it here and there and finished up last night.

This morning, I got up at 4:00 a.m. and finished up a few things, and then we woke up the boys at 4:45. They were groggy and confused. We got them changed and packed up and in the car. T got a gate pass to accompany us through security and to the gate. We had our giant double stroller, three suitcases, two car seats, and two carry-ons. Not to mention myself and the two little ones.

Things started off badly. Some airport workers taxied us out to the plane with a little golf cart. Q was adamant about getting on the plane immediately. He screamed and cried and collapsed in his classic toddler way. I dragged him into the golf cart and put R on my other knee. I had a bad feeling.

Things improved though. They boys were far from perfect, but they could have been much worse. We had two flights with a short layover in Denver. T had his own seat and R wriggled on my lap. Q only had one major meltdown right before we landed in Wisconsin. He screamed "No!" repeatedly for what felt like an hour when I tried to put his cars away and close his tray table. He was just so tired. I felt relatively calm and in control though. I figured what is the worst that can happen? And I knew I could handle even that.

It was interesting to see people's reactions. Many people gave me odd looks, as I wheeled the giant double stroller around the airport, though it folds down into a manageable size. I depended on people to help when I got the boys out and collapsed the stroller, and only men about my dad's age offered their assistance. I always handed them baby R as I did what I needed to do. Other people walked right by or even shot me a strange look. It was an interesting cultural experiment. Older men wanted to help, women didn't. When T traveled alone with just one child, people were falling all over themselves to help.

So now I am in Wisconsin. It is very snowy here but not as painfully cold as I expected. Q is in heaven with his Grandma and Papa. I am still figuring out exactly how my life will be here, but so far I am comfortable. T is back in Oregon for several weeks.

And so begins our next chapter...


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I like not far

Today was my first day not going to work, and I must say, it was nice. I did have my childcare provider take the boys for five hours, so it wasn't exactly an accurate representation of stay-at-home motherhood, but nonetheless, it was enjoyable.It was a nice feeling on Sunday night to know I didn't have to go to work the next day.

Today I had lunch with a friend, did some half-hearted packing, and ran some errands. It was nice planning dinner and lingering over it with my husband instead of rushing so I could get back to work.

I spent an hour on the treadmill tonight, and T got to run outside. I plan to go to bed (relatively) early tonight. I am sure I will have many doubts and struggles in the next several months, but so far, I like it.


T and I went out to dinner Saturday night to use a gift certificate to a ritzy restaurant. We lived it up! The gift certificate only covered half of the $100 total, but it was worth it. The highlight was an appetizer we got of Rogue Creamery bleu cheese creme brulee with pear caviar and pumpernickel toasts. It was amazing.


Friday, January 23, 2009

This is the end

It is weird when things come to an end. I am writing this an hour and a half before my final show.

It has been a strange last day. There were times when I loved this job and times when I hated it. The last six months there has been a lot more of the negative, but I am trying to focus on the days that I was energized and passionate about what I was doing.

I have been touched by the emails and phone calls from viewers. You don't realize that you reach a lot of people until you leave. It will be strange to go from that to the complete anonymity of stay-at-home motherhood. They say such kind things, and I wonder how can they feel so close to me and say they like me so much when they don't really know me? Would they think so highly of me if they did really know me? I'm trying to not over think it and just accept the compliments, but it plays on my insecurities.

Mostly, I am just ready to step into the next stage. Long goodbyes make me feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. This feels like an incredibly long goodbye since I have known I was leaving for several months.

This five and a half years has been a challenging, interesting and rewarding time, but I am ready for the next chapter. Next week my life will be drastically different. The prospect scares me and excites me, but I am ready.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New old car

One thing of many I will miss about Oregon is the lack of sales tax. Another thing I will miss is attendants filling up your gas tank, but that's a different story. I know you end up paying elsewhere, but avoiding that tax when you make a purchase feels like you are saving money. When the price tag says $0.99, it really is $0.99.

For this reason, we decided it would be wise for us to purchase a car before we left to save at least $1,000. We will also need more seating when we add to our family, so we figured now was a good time to do it. Plus, SUVs aren't exactly flying off the lots these days, so now seems to be the time to buy.

T has been looking lately, but time was running out, so this past weekend we went on a serious search. After one fruitless stop, we found a promising car at the second lot. It was a 2006 Ford Explorer. We strapped the boys in the back alongside the car salesman and took it for a test drive.

Later that evening, the car was ours. T had to do a lot of the obnoxious back and forth with the salesman and the finance guy, but we traded in our Honda CR-V and ended up actually lowering our monthly payments slightly.

We love the new (used) car. There is just something exciting about a new vehicle. Q thinks it is a truck and likes the extra step to climb into it and how it makes a beeping sound when you back up if you get too close to something.

So now we have one decent car and my car from college. I got my little red Pontiac two-door 11 years ago. It has served us well, but we are both anxious to get rid of it. T would like something a little more professional-looking when he drives to work rather than the car I had as a sorority girl. That will have to wait, since we do not want to take on another car payment. In the meantime, I'm just glad I get the nice new (used) car most of the time.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ready for flight

In just over a week, I will get on a plane alone with two small children. I am scared. Q is over two, so he requires his own seat. I will hold R in my lap. I am nervous about the entire situation. Q on the other hand is thrilled.

He knows he is going on a plane and constantly asks when it will happen. He knows he is going to "Sconsin" and will see "Gamma and Papa." I am excited to get there, but not thrilled about the trip. I won't be shy about asking for help. I am more than willing to hand R over to a flight attendant while I get Q settled. In fact, I might even negotiate an upgrade to first class and leave the boys in coach. I'm not kidding.


The plane that crashed into the Hudson River last week is of great interest to Q. I find it fascinating and the pilot's actions amazing, but it is not something I ever want to experience. Q however tells us he wants his plane to land on the water. Let's hope he doesn't get his wish.


Monday, January 19, 2009

New look

So what do you think? With much help from my husband, Musings of a Modern Mama is evolving. I thought it was time for some redecorating.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Attack of the butterflies

Q said he was attacked by a butterfly on the stairs the other day, and he had to step on it. Brave little guy.

Beware of killer butterflies!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lame duck

Not the president. Me. I feel weird. This is such a strange limbo. I am still in my current job and house and life, but it is almost over. It is an odd feeling, and I don't like it.

I announced on air this week that I would be leaving. It was a little strange and awkward, especially doing it repeatedly. I got several kind emails from viewers, but that made me feel weird too. They asked me to keep in touch and keep writing my blog for the website, but that's just not how it works. Things keep chugging along without you, and the last thing my station wants to do is hang onto to images or blogs of mine. They want to start promoting the next person. I understand that and am fine with it, and too much attention to my departure makes me self-conscious and unsure of myself.

I just want to be in our next step already. The problem is, we will be slowed by our pit stop at my parents' house. I worry I will be miserable and lonely stuck in a house that's not mine without a job and with two small children stressing me out. I am not a glass half-full kind of girl. I steel myself to be unhappy. Not exactly healthy, huh?

I have about two weeks left here before we get on a plane and fly out of Oregon and half way across the country. I should try to enjoy these remaining days, but I can't help but feel frustrated, impatient, and useless.

I know how President Bush feels. Sorta.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Rowdy nights

Q is having a hard time lately, and it is painful for all of us. Usually only T has to deal with the nightly frustration, but on the weekends I get to partake. Q has no interest in going to sleep in his bed, and the best we can hope for is for him to doze off on the ground. Lately, he hasn't even wanted to do that. He screams and cries and almost seems to panic. T usually caves and lets him come downstairs and lie on the couch or get in our bed. We have spent several nights crammed into our full-size bed with at least one cat at the foot of it. We really need to get at least a queen-size bed.

I feel we need to nip it in the bud, because right now he knows if he carries on enough, he will get his way. I was determined to stick to my guns, but last night it was tough. We got him all ready for bed, and then gated him in to his room. He started crying and screaming and pleading to be let out. He looked so sad and angry, and I just wanted to rescue him. It was actually almost physically painful. He stopped crying temporarily but started up again. I read him a book over the gates and tried to soothe him. He finally relaxed, and so did I. Tonight was much quicker and smoother. Sometimes doing what you know is right feels awful.


This weekend I had two goodbye gatherings. One was a breakfast with a few girls from work and the other was a dinner with the people I teach group exercise classes with. They were so enjoyable and touching. I always feel a little shy and awkward at gatherings like that. I question what makes me deserve them. Still it meant a lot and brought home our pending departure.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Countdown begins

Just two more weeks, thirty more shows. Craziness.

I am taking next Friday off for working New Year's Day. I felt strange taking a day off when I have so few left, but I earned it for working on a holiday! Anyway, I decided to go all out for my day of freedom. I am going to get a hot stone massage and a manicure and pedicure and then am going out for dinner and drinks with some girlfriends. Heaven.

We are starting to figure out details of our move. Slowly. People keep asking if we are all packed and ready. That could not be further from the truth. That's just not how we roll. We are mercifully having the movers pack though.

I will be flying out with the boys in three weeks, and T will follow in the car with all the beasts. I'm not sure who has it worse. The moving truck will arrive afterward, and we will put our stuff in storage while we temporarily stay with my parents. Our house is still on the market with no signs of selling, and our asking price is already less than what we bought it for. It's frightening. I know some people owe twice as much as their house is worth, so we could be worse off, but I just feel stuck. I want to turn the page and start the next chapter of our lives, but we have this anchor in Oregon. We likely will end up renting the house because we are not able to just write a check to the bank for the difference. We were so excited to buy our first house five years ago, but now I kind of wish we had just rented this whole time!

Things will work out, and I am trying to be flexible and patient, but that is just not in my nature. I want things to be decided and settled, and I want it NOW. But that is just not how it is, and I have to live with it.

Mostly, I am excited. I will be able to see my family and have them over for dinner. I will be able to stay with my boys and go to the grocery store in anonymity. It will be a nice life.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New year, new state

We will end 2008 in Oregon, and spend 2009 in Wisconsin. Our changes have changed. A few weeks ago, we thought we were headed to Napa, California. Now we know we are heading to Madison, Wisconsin.

Most people I tell this to say, "What? That's too bad." But Wisconsin is where I grew up. It's where my mom and dad and sister and brother-in-law and four nephews and best friend live. And Madison is a cool town. I am excited about the change. For once we can spend a weekend with family and invite relatives to R's first birthday party rather than bored but kind friends. Q and R will get to play and grow up with their four little cousins. It's great!

I haven't lived in Wisconsin in 12 years. I went away to college, moved farther away for my first job, and then across the country for my second. This will be a drastic change, but a welcome one.

We still have our house here in Oregon, and I am not optimistic it will sell any time soon. We plan to move in with my parents temporarily and then maybe rent in Madison for awhile. I am still not sure where my future will take me. I can easily stay in TV news in Madison, or I could try staying home with the kidlings, or try something else. So much freedom actually makes me a little uneasy. What do I want to do? What if I make the wrong decision? Will I pull my hair out staying with my parents? Do I clean their house for them? Do I make meals for all of us?

I am planning on flying solo to Wisconsin with the boys at the end of January. T will follow driving with the two cats and dog. My poor parents will go from their peaceful existence as a couple in their spotless house, to a ramshackle existence with four adults, two young children, two cats, and a semi-potty-trained dachshund. My poor meticulous mother.

2008 was filled with excitement and frustration. A new baby set my heart soaring but work often had me dragging. 2009 holds a lot of unknown and a lot of promise. I guess that's all you can ask for.

Happy New Year!