Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bye bye breasts

R is officially weaned. It took a good month to get him completely off the breast, but now he is strictly guzzling from sippy cups, and I am ambivalent.

I am so dedicated to breastfeeding. I think it is one of the very best things I can do for my babies, and I have battled pumping, bleeding nipples, infected milk ducts, and bites from tiny, sharp baby teeth all for the cause. Both boys breastfed for more than 13 months, and we never bought any formula. By the end of that year, I am ready to have my breasts back. I am tired of leaking and anxious to fit back in my clothes again. I am anxious to hand over more of the feeding duties to T and more than ready to stop nursing in public places.

So there are many bonuses, but there are also some drawbacks. First my monthly visitor rears its ugly head after being dormant for a solid year. Also, my breasts shrink back to their old size and suddenly seem nonexistent compared to my breastfeeding bounty. And lastly, and most heart-wrenching, R (and Q two years ago) no longer needs me as much. Of course he needs his mom to dress him and bathe him and change him and warm up his oatmeal. But anyone can do that. Nursing was something just between the two of us. He would reach for me, and follow me with his eyes. He would light up when I came into the room and demand to be handed over. I could instantly make him utterly content. Nothing beats that.

He is still a mama's boy and never fails to give me a dazzling smile. But I miss the shared closeness of breastfeeding. Somewhat.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Jon and Kate Fascinate

I mentioned the television show Jon and Kate Plus Eight in my previous post and a friend commented on how she shared my fascination with it. I have never watched the show much and actually avoided it. I found it sort of dull and didn't feel it was necessary to hear other children throw tantrums when I had the real-life experience at home. Lately though, I find myself sort of intrigued by the program, and I'm not sure why.

Now the family is flawed. Now they are struggling with possible infidelity and a crack in their happy exterior. And their hardship is played out for all the world to see. Maybe it is the voyeurism of watching an imperfect marriage straining at the seams. Maybe it is because watching them makes me feel like I am better off and superior in some way. I am not entirely sure, and I am not exactly proud of being fascinated about their situation.

My husband finds the program irritating and does not remotely understand my interest. He also doesn't get why I look forward to receiving my Us Weekly and curiously page through recent celebrity meltdowns and indiscretions.

I don't dedicate vast amounts of time to following the latest exploits of Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie. Mostly, I find that sort of news vapid and dull. I like to think of myself as a (mostly) intellectual person. But perusing a few Us Weekly articles while watching the season premiere of a reality TV show is like a good gossip session. It is candy for the brain. You don't want to overindulge, but a little taste now and then can't hurt. Right?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pre-dawn boot camp

I have not had to get up at 4:15 a.m. in awhile, but now that will be part of my life. At least two days a week. I taught my first boot camp class this morning. I only had one participant as it was the very first class of any at this new gym, but we still had a good workout. In fact, this woman was the picture of fitness. I was really pulling out tricks to make sure she broke a sweat. She seemed satisfied though, and I was feeling energized for my day. I did crash in mid-afternoon from my sleep-deprived night. I only had about five hours of sleep as it was, and those few hours were filled with dreams of exercise routines and Jon and Kate Plus Eight.


T had off today because he worked Saturday, so we tried to cross a few things off our to-do list. I was fresh from a nap with my hair still unshowered and now askew from the couch cushions. We gathered up papers and documents and headed out. We finalized our accounts at a new bank and then hit the DMV. For some reason I had forgotten you actually need to take a picture for your license. I tried to brush my greasy bangs to the side, but it is still a pretty hideous picture. Oh well. Few people will ever see it. It's not like bouncers even ask for my ID anymore. And I refuse to post it here.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Dressed to impress

Shopping is my friend. I love scouring stores and scoring sales and putting together new outfits. It gets me going and makes me feel good. Shopping for my boys is a close second. I like putting together cute little ensembles and selecting little loafers and sandles. I like dressing Q and R to match and admiring their dapper appearance.

One of my absolute addictions is Gymboree (I also like Baby Gap and Old Navy). I spent some time at Gymboree today as a matter of fact. It is a cornucopia of kid cuteness. They come up with new themes every few months, and you can often find good stuff on the sale rack not long after the styles first appear. My one complaint is they tend to have cuter girls' stuff, but that is almost always the case. They do have lots of wonderful boy attire. Today I snapped up two crab tank tops, two monkey shirts, little khakis and madras shorts for Q, and two little pairs of shorts for R. Lots of cuteness.

I guess part of it is that my children are a reflection of me, so I want them to be well-groomed and polished. But also I am just so proud of them and think they deserve to be well-dressed and cared for. However this pastime could become costly, especially if I have more children!


It has been a busy, productive weekend. We had a nice date night Saturday and saw "Angels and Demons." It was entertaining, though it helped to read the book first to follow it. Afterward, we hit two bars for fatty snacks and drinks. The next morning, we took part in events for the Madison Marathon. I did the quarter marathon (6.55 miles) and got 53:00 which is 8:02/mile pace. I was pretty thrilled with that time. Q ran the kids' race with T. He was one of the youngest competitors in the .6 mile race. T said Q was a little shy and nervous about it and had to stop a few times to check out interesting things, but he managed to cross the finish line to accept his medal....

.......He lost it shortly after. My parents came over to the races. My dad is with Q in the picture above. Right after we had a two-hour drive to my nephew's 7th birthday party. Today we cooked out, shopped, and went for a walk. A very nice weekend, and T also has tomorrow off.

Tomorrow I start my teaching at another gym bright and early. The class starts at 5:30 a.m., but it is a 25 minute drive. That will mean a painfully early wake-up call. But, despite that minor drawback, I am excited to get going on this new project. I will be teaching at two places, a total of five classes a week. It will be a nice set-up and gives me an outlet of my own, a chance to work out, and still a ton of time at home with my kiddoes. I am starting to finally feel satisfied and content in our new home, and I am enthusiastic about expanding my knowledge and expertise in the fitness field. It's all falling into place!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol Upset

Watercoolers will be buzzing tomorrow. Granted I was a Danny Gokey fan, but I liked Kris Allen in the end. We even voted by text twice for the first time. T and I just started watching last year. Prior to that I never tuned in but always felt like I wasn't in on the national conversation the next day. It's such a huge part of pop culture now, it's best to partake.

Debate will be interesting tomorrow over whether people voted against Adam Lambert because he is apparently gay and is a flamboyant performer. That is probably partly the case, but people did have to vote for Kris all along the way. It is just a mainstream America show, so you can not win if you go too far out of the norm. I didn't care for Adam's constant screeching and felt he was far too theatrical for my tastes. Not that I will run out and by a Kris Allen CD, (that "No Boundaries" song is hideous), but everyone likes a horse race.

My real favorite "So You Think You Can Dance" begins tomorrow. Now that's good TV.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wisconsin the Beautiful

It was a glorious weekend. Temperatures were in the 60's and 70's, the skies were bright blue, and life was good.

Saturday I had a manicure/pedicure/massage appointment for my Mother's Day present. It even included a nap after the massage which was ideal, and this spa offers free polish changes between mani/pedi appointments. How cool is that? Later, we watched Once, a movie and soundtrack with which I am now obsessed. I highly recommend it.

Sunday we went to the zoo and had wine and snacks outside at a cafe in downtown Madison. Earlier I ran outside listening to the aforementioned Once soundtrack. Inspired by the incredible music and breathtaking day, I breezed through seven miles with ease. I love those runs. They don't happen often enough.

I was taken by our beautiful surroundings and set out later to capture some images. A beautiful place to call home:


Friday, May 15, 2009

Potty time!

Q has peed in the potty three times! The first time was last night. He shouted, "I'm doing it!" as the little trickle came out. T and I were so excited! What a rush of pride you feel from a seemingly minor thing.

I created a potty chart with columns for sitting on the potty (0), going pee-pee (1), and poo-poo (2). He gets a sticker for each accomplishment on his chart and one to wear as well with the coveted Thomas the Tank Engine stickers reserved for the pee-pee and poo-poo. He proudly wore his sticker to bed last night and peed twice this morning again. He is quite pleased with himself and likes flushing the potty. I am proud of him but also looking forward to getting one child out of diapers. The "2" column is still empty and pooping will take some effort. But still, this is quite an achievement in the MM household!

This morning after reading books to Q on the potty for 20 minutes, changing diapers twice, and then trying to coax Ruby to poop in the yard, it occurred to me how much of my life revolves around excrement right now. Try not to be too jealous.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Drama at the dentist

Tuesday was Q's first trip to the dentist, and it was challenging.

I had a cleaning too and had both boys in tow. I strapped them into their giant double stroller and rolled into the office to fill out the sheaf of paperwork. When they called our names, I wedged the behemoth stroller behind the dental chair and tried to coax Q in to the seat. He was not having it. He chewed on his shirt and looked nervous. So, the hygienist suggested I go first so Q wouldn't afraid.

This tactic didn't entirely work as the image of a woman with a surgical mask on prodding at his mother with sharp objects freaked him out a bit. I am not a big fan of dental cleanings, but I acted like it was the time of my life to get him in the chair when I was finished. (R got fussy in his stroller about halfway through to add to the stress, but another hygienist came in to distract him.)

Q finally climbed into his spot and the hygienist showed him all of the intimidating tools. He liked the feel of the polisher on his finger but not in his mouth. He would twist away after each tooth was half-cleaned, and he kept demanding to feel it on his hand again. Q was also quite skeptical of the water squirter and the vacuum tool. When you see it through their eyes again for the first time, you can see how it is all a little freaky.

I am not sure he got the most thorough cleaning ever, but we made it through. A brief battle ensued over which toothbrush and which prize to take home. But we all made it out in one piece, though I was exhausted.

It is amazing how something that used to be a quick errand turns into a major chore when you throw two energetic boys into the mix.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

To be a mama

I am not the best mother, that's for sure. I have my down days and my lazy days. My kids don't know two languages, and we don't do daily crafts. Sometimes I lose my temper and often I am impatient. Sometimes I need time to myself and occasionally I get tired of reading "The Airplane Book" or singing "Ring Around the Rosie."

Motherhood is harder than I ever imagined from the ache of utter exhaustion to the unending responsibility. But I would never, ever give it up. I can't imagine my life any different. What would I do if I didn't have Q and R in my life? They make me laugh and sigh, smile and shake my head. They are such huge personalities in tiny packages. They can be extremely frustrating but incredibly lovable. They represent the richness and depth of life. They teach me about unconditional love, deep patience, and great sacrifice. They are the best thing I have ever done.

On this Mothers Day, I am honored to be their mama.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Run like the wind

There is nothing like going for a run outside. I just got back from one around our new neighborhood, past the nearby Target, into the development nearby and back. It was a bit windy and brisk and made me think twice about venturing out, but I pulled on a fleece, strapped on my GPS, turned up my Ipod, and was out the door. You never regret it once you finish. You never say, "I wish I would have skipped that run," but you often say the opposite.

I diligently run on a treadmill most days of the week. It's like brushing my teeth or emptying the dishwasher. It's a necessity, and there isn't much enjoyment to it. I do it while watching Martha Stewart or Oprah and watch the minutes tick by and the tenths of a mile go up.

I much prefer running outside. I go faster and feel better. I don't lock in my speed like on a treadmill. Instead I run at a comfortable pace and when the music is fast or I feel the urge, I pick up the pace. I get that fleeting feeling of a child running for the sheer joy of it. I imagine Q joyfully shouting, "I'm going running!" as he barrels down the sidewalk at the top speed his little legs will take him, his arms flapping at his sides, giggling and out of breath.

Running should be joyful (unless you're being chased of course). I admit most days it is just a chore, but I live for the days like today when it makes me feel awake and alive. I thrive on taking deep lung-stretching breaths and feeling my heart pound strongly. I relish keeping my body strong and in shape. I appreciate how it functions in perfect harmony and endures the pounding of 26.2 miles.

Running has not always been kind to my body, from silver dollar-sized blisters to sore knees and aching hips, it has certainly taken its toll. But the good far outweighs the bad, as running keeps my heart and lungs powerful and my weight down. More than that though, it gives me a mental boost so I see my surroundings a little more clearly and feel just right on my feet and in my skin.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Clutter wars

I never wanted to have one of those houses absolutely over taken by toys, but I appear to be at that point. In our town house, we have a third floor room which I have set aside as the toy haven. My treadmill, the printer, and my scrapbooking stuff also reside there, but mostly it is a mecca for play. It is my dream to keep the toys contained to this upper locale and the rest of our home mostly toy-free with just a few enclaves of bright-colored plastic. Constantly, however, toys are carried down and strewn about to get lost under the couch, chewed by the dog, or stepped on by me. We have so many broken and half-missing toys.

So much of my day is spent putting tiny cars in baskets and mini plates on shelves. Q's half-hearted help is not very helpful. I spent two hours this afternoon carrying toys up two flights and organizing and reorganizing. I tip-toed by the boys' room so they wouldn't wake up and undo my efforts as they are wont to do. Tonight I am revelling in the orderly condition of my home. I am determined to maintain it as much as possible, but I know this is a single battle won in the ongoing clutter war.


Finally good news on the childcare front. I found a stay-at-home mom who will watch them for several hours a week for a reasonable price. Eureka! I also got another job teaching a few more fitness classes. Two are at an ungodly hour, but I will take what I can get.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Take my children. Please.

Grr. We can NOT find childcare!

It is endlessly frustrating and disheartening. Child cares in centers or family homes can only have a certain number of full- and part-time clients, so no one wants to take my kiddoes for the few hours a week I need care. If they are willing to take them on, they want the boys to come for five to seven hours, so they make more money and don't lose a slot. That is completely unnecessary for me and far too expensive. I would end up paying to work. So it makes sense for me to just not teach the classes, but I think I need something like that to do, and I am hoping it leads to more.

The providers who do seem to be interested have disgustingly messy homes and scary habits. We whisk our children to the car as quickly as possible after meeting with them. The perfect providers with perfect daily schedules, educational toys, and Early Childhood Education degrees all charge exorbitant rates.

So what to do? I have been living on Craigslist, clicking the childcare button every few minutes hoping someone posted the perfect ad. Sooooo frustrating. We have had many meetings and interviews but nothing has worked out yet. I always leave discouraged and contemplating what the hell to do with my life.

Two more interviews this week. Keep your fingers crossed.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fiestas para los ninos y los perros

Q tiene tres anos! Technically, his birthday is not till Cinco de Mayo, but today was the big party. I made nachos, guacamole, and salsa, with a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. The boys bashed a pinata shaped like a "3," and Q marveled over his new toys including a Thomas train set. It was a lot of work, but a wonderful celebration for our three-year-old.

The boys were't the only ones playing hard today. We started the morning with a dachshund play date. Really. We joined a Madison dachshund owners' group, and today was our first meet up. It was an absolute riot made up a lot of barking, running, jumping, and a little mounting for our poor Ruby. There were about 12 doxies there, and Rubes had a ball running and playing with canines of her stature.

Q was actually a bit confused about which dog was his. She is in the middle of the picture here with her head up. I'm pretty sure we brought the right one home.

Here's hoping for a low key week to come down from the wild weekend.


Edge of sanity

How can children be so wonderful and so trying at the same time? They provide moments of sheer joy and overflowing love and others of utter frustration and stress.

On Friday the kids were conspiring to drive me insane and nearly succeeding. On the eve of his third birthday, Q is a bright, energetic, funny little guy, but he is also stubborn, obstinate, and frustrating at times. R is already showing a deviant side by crawling at top speed toward whatever is dangerous to him. My day is completely taken up by making food for children, cleaning up after them, and chasing them around the house. And of course taking the dog out and picking up her poop. (Or cleaning it off the rug more often than not)

Staying home and taking care of two little children all day is starting to drive me slightly batty. How do you long term stay-at-home moms do it? I am impressed by you on a daily basis.

Thankfully, my sanity is restored once T returns home, and I steal a short break. I am still looking for more working hours but clearly this in not the ideal economy for that goal. Weekends are my salvation. Today I got a manicure, and we went to the farmers market. Later we picked up items for Q's third birthday party on Sunday and all went for a run.

If I ruled the world, weekends would be five days and workweeks two. Who's with me?