Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Choices

I can remember one of the turning points in my life. It was sophomore year in college and almost time to choose a specialization. I was already a business major, but within that, a choice had to be made of what area to focus on. Some friends and I were out galavanting around campus at night, and we ascended to the top of one of the highest buildings. We watched the night time city alive with activity - planes taking off and landing, cars everywhere, city lights. You could hear sirens, helicopters, traffic buzzing. There was a lot to take in and a lot to contemplate. I thought about what I was good at, what I wanted to do, and how much money I could make. I narrowed it down to two choices: accounting and distribution management. Accounting was definitely where the bling was at the time. I knew kids who were getting picked up by the big accounting firms and making in the high 40's - they had it made. However, I also saw those kids working hard at all hours of the night. The accounting majors were always studying and well, I had other things to do. Like rock concerts, road trips, partying, and general lazing about. I also knew that with that big paycheck came lots of working hours and well, that didn't fit my plans of moving to the beach and spending lots of time rollerblading and laying out.

I chose distribution management because the program seemed like it gave me a fairly reasonable chance at landing a job without the huge drag of constant work the accounting program had. In the end, it was a reasonable decision. I got a nice job in the electronics industry making mid 30's, and eeked out a decent career following. There were ups and downs, but the choice was a good fit for me and a nice start. I got to live at the beach for many years and it was as great as I'd imagined.

That same night, I remember thinking about other parts in the arc of my life, like marriage and kids. I had no doubt that marriage was a good deal. Two incomes, a partner in crime, all good things. Kids though, I wasn't so sure. I thought about how a baby is just constant work - kind of like being an accounting major but even worse. I knew that with a baby, there are no days off. They are just a vessel of constant need and the thought terrified me. Since I was so young, I figured I didn't have to worry about it much at the time, so I went back to thinking about the present.

Turns out, I was pretty right about what it's like to have kids. I think that's the hardest thing about being a mom for me - the constant, oppressing need. There is always someone who needs or wants my attention and even if I take an afternoon or an evening off - that's on me too. I have to plan for and arrange a sitter or hope that Uri might be home and available to help (often he isn't, so it's usually plan for and arrange a sitter). My days are so long right now. Ethan gets up around 5:30 or 6:00 and Anna goes to bed around 8:30. That's 15 hours of making the magic, all day, every day. Of course, now that Anna is in school I have a couple of hours to myself if Ethan takes his naps on time. I am so thankful for those hours and they are definitely holding me together. But man, the hours... they drag.

Uri has been gone so much lately, part of every week. It's not the chores I mind so much - although they are a huge drag - it's the boredom. When Uri is home, we have something to look forward to. When he walks in the door, it's a huge change of scenery. I think he kind of understood what that was like Monday night when I was out with Anna for 2 hours. When I walked back in the house, Uri and Ethan greeted me at the door with big smiles and "mommy's home!" I know that feeling. The relief that another adult is there to help. I feel it every time he walks in the door and I wish that was more often.

I've been trying to make it easier on myself by taking the kids out to eat and getting out of the house in general. But that's a production too and with Ethan still on the 2 nap a day schedule, I've got to time it right. I am back to grocery delivery this week because lately it has been so tiring to get everyone in the car, into the grocery cart, back into the car with all the groceries, then all the groceries out of the car and put away with Ethan fussing at my feet. Lord! Thank goodness for grocery delivery.

On the positive side, sleep training has been going well and I'm pretty much done with it. Things aren't perfect, but there were 3 nights that Ethan slept over 9 hours straight! I feel like we've come so far. I'm still waking myself at 1:00 to nurse him and I'm trying to wean that away, but it's taking longer than I thought. It's not so bad though. We're on the right track.

And now, here are some blurry little monkeys in a box:



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sleepless

I know some people are blessed with babies who sleep well and for long periods of time. I have a good friend who had her first child within a week of when I had Ethan. Her baby was sleeping 8-9 hour stretches right off the bat. Man. Some people have all the luck. I know that in the larger picture, I am really blessed as well. Ethan and Anna are very healthy and great kids most of the time. But oh, if only I could get more sleep.

For most of Ethan's life, he settled into a pattern of waking twice a night. First around 12 or 1 am and then around 5 am. At some times, he would wake much more than that. About when he started walking, it got kind of brutal, up to 4-5 times a night. I dealt with it mostly, but I noticed little things starting to go like my willpower, my patience, and my sanity.

On top of that, Ethan is still nursing at night. I realized that I will never be able to wean him during the day if I don't wean him at night first. Whenever I'd nurse him less during the day, he'd just make up the difference at night. So, the night has to be first.

Last week, I started recording his wake up times and minutes of feeding so I could start the weaning process. I have been reading and loosely following the Sleep Easy Solution. I bought it years ago and tried to make it work with Anna, and couldn't. However, I had a lot of other circumstances with Anna - like both Uri and I waking with her, her being at daycare - it was hard to follow a plan consistently. With Ethan, I'm the one who does everything, so it's easy to be consistent. I knew I couldn't keep a pen and paper log in the night, so I found an app that I modified to help me track wakings - Baby Sleep Trainer. I then decided that it actually was a good method for sleep training, and easy to follow. I've been using the app for sleep training for the last two nights - the only modification being that I get up twice a night to feed Ethan in decreasing amounts - in addition to the regular sleep training plan on the app. In two more nights, I will have (hopefully) weaned him completely and perhaps even gotten most of the sleep training done. Who knows. The last two nights have been a bit hard:

Ugh 52 minutes of crying

but I hope it starts getting better. I am really looking forward to a better night's sleep. I know sleep training isn't a one size fits all solution, but I feel good that at least I'm doing something. I like having the app too, because it gives me a plan I can follow without much thought in the middle of the night. I think that's what held me back before - trying to stick to a method while being groggy. The app makes it really easy. It even helps with Uri. Ethan was crying so much the first night at 4 am and Uri asked if we could just go in there, it's so hard to hear your baby crying. I showed him the app and it said 7 minutes to go and he was okay with that. So we're stumbling through. Wish me luck and send chocolate.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Makeup Talk

This is a follow up from my post the other day, where I was saying I felt in the doldrums a bit appearance-wise. Clearly, I am no makeup expert and this is far from an appearance focused blog. However, sometimes it's fun to chat makeup and it's certainly far better than cleaning the kitchen, which is what I should be doing right now.

So after talking about makeup a bit earlier in the week, my friend Paige suggested blush and lipstick. I thought I could probably use a few more products, so I headed back to CVS. I know, I said I was thinking of going somewhere else, like Ulta or Sephora. Thing is, CVS is so close to me, I always have coupons and extra bucks, and it's nice to know that I can return anything I don't like. Also, Ethan enjoys riding in the cart and saying hello to everyone there. We kind of know the people there since I go there almost every week. It's my happy place. Also, you can buy candy there! And allergy medicine! Develop photos! Go to the ATM! What's not to love?

This time though, I did a little research before blindly stumbling into the big and shiny makeup section. I googled "best drugstore makeup" and got a few ideas. I have to say, I'm pretty happy with my choices and I feel like it's a good little perk.

Here is what I used today:

Can you find the ONE product not from the drugstore?
And here is my finished look:

A little googly eyed
This is my daytime, going for walks, running errands, wearing leggings as pants again look. I am really pleasantly surprised by the BB Cream I bought - Revlon Photoready BB cream in Light. It is so much nicer than the Loreal one I was using that I had grabbed in the non-makeup aisle. It is SPF 30 instead of 15, and it's more sticky - meaning that it sticks on your face more and the other makeup stays on better too. I don't like lots of face makeup so wouldn't buy foundation or powder. I like BB creams because they have sunscreen and this one seems pretty great. I even threw my old one away because I am totally committed after one full day's use.

I bought a brighter blush - Milani Baked Blush in Rose D'Oro. This stuff is crazy. You just barely tap the brush in because it is pretty colorific. I think by the very end of the day, it had rubbed off a bit. This was after a lot of sweating and playing and hours so if I was going out to dinner, I'd dust some more on. Also in studying the picture of me, I think I could move the blush a little more toward the front of my face instead of just the side.

I love the lipstick - Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blushed. This is the first lipstick I've had in a long time that didn't make my lips flake. It goes on nice and smooth. I think I'm even going to buy another one in a brighter color for when I need more flair. This lipstick was highly recommended on more than one site.

I bought the eyeshadow and eyeliner the other day. Both are Physicians Formula and neither were recommended anywhere. I bought the Naturally Nude palette because it looks like that more expensive one from Urban Decay. The shadow isn't as highly pigmented but it's fine for every day. Also, Anna uses my eyeshadow from time to time and I just can't spend a lot on it to have it all smooshed up. The eyeliner is called Shimmer Strips and it came in a pack of 3 for Smoky Eyes. I like this grayish one for day time. It stays on all day.

The mascara is nice - Voluminous by Loreal. Nothing to get too excited about, but not gunky and a nice color. I'm using Black. I think Black Black could be nice to try for evenings. What is up with the Black vs. Black Black thing that mascaras do?

I still use Boing concealer by Benefit. I do think it's pretty good and I can order it online. I use the color 01. It definitely fades by the end of the day. I've tried primer under it and I find it tends to make me look more wrinkly and I'll take dark circles over wrinkles any day. Also I'm still pretty sleep deprived so maybe when that goes away, the dark circles will ease up a bit. Oh and I also use the Benefit eyebrow pencil and I forgot to put that in the picture.

So I have to thank Paige. I think the brighter blush and actually wearing lipstick instead of my tinted Burt's Bees chapstick helped a bit. I am sure my mom is reading this and saying "I told you so." I have a little more spring in my step and that's nice. New makeup is always fun and it's a plus when it doesn't cost an arm and a let. Well, for me anyway. I used to spend more time and money on makeup, MAC, Benefit, Philosophy, LORAC - but now I enjoy the convenience and cost of drugstore makeup. It's Fine.

Well damn, now I have to go clean the kitchen. Have a nice weekend, friends!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Old Pictures

found these pictures that go with my last post. This is the guy I ran into this weekend. These pictures are too great not to share.




The red dress one, that's Winter Formal. Just hours before getting dumped. Poor girl.

Phew.

Goodness, the end of summer sure packed a wallop around here. Camps, vacation, double kid birthdays, pool party, starting school - it was one thing right after another. I'm glad that we've settled a little into the routine of school five days a week.

Anna is going to one of the closer schools to our house and I'm so happy I made that choice. We walk to school every morning and home every afternoon. For Ethan and me, it's about an hour round-trip, and it's nice for him to have the outside time, I think it helps with his naps. It's also been great for Anna. Without the distractions of home (like TV, toys), it gives us a little time to chat. I've been learning about her day at school while it's still fresh in her mind. She spends about half of the walk taking about school and then the other half singing the soundtrack of Frozen loudly and dramatically with a wistful look on her face. It's the best part of my day, even though the afternoon walk tends to be hot and sweaty. I'd prefer cooler weather but it's my only exercise so I don't make any excuses.

Ethan has been blowing through milestones - the little guy is walking now. He probably walks half the time and crawls half the time and I'm guessing in a week or two he'll just be walking. Right now he's doing the franken-walk and it's just so cute. He's so proud of himself. He's also quite the climber. He climbs up everything he can find and had been getting dangerously close to propelling himself out of those wooden restaurant high chairs. I had a few friends suggest chairs that clip on to the table but I just didn't want to deal with that so I ended up buying this anywhere chair, which is a 5-point harness that can attach to almost anything. I have had success using it with restaurant high chairs and I think I'll be able to use it in shopping carts as well. It's a neat little thing.

I'm still nursing Ethan. I keep toying with the idea of quitting and then I don't do it. I guess when the time is right, I'll know it. I don't want to be one of those people breastfeeding a 3 year old, but right now I'm not ready to quit. Anyone else nurse for over a year? Was there just a natural end to it? That's what I'm hoping. I guess at this point I'll reevaluate in a few months.

My mom came and visited for the holiday weekend and we celebrated her birthday, which was fun. They came up in the RV - Anna and Ethan love going in that thing. I admit I was skeptical of the RV at first but it's pretty cool. My mom bought matching outfits for her and Anna and I totally approve.

Happy reunion

Anna is not so sure of the outfits

My sister came up to visit as well and we took everyone on one of our bike rides around the neighborhood. We were quite the motley crew with our roadies:

What you gonna do when we come for you?

I have been spending an unreasonable time thinking about my appearance. I bought some new make-up that didn't seem to help, maybe because it was all from CVS instead of a nicer place. I've also signed up for Stitch Fix and I'll be interested to see what they send. I just feel like I need a perk. I am constantly debating with myself about going blonde again. It's so stupid how much I think about this and I wish I could just snap out of it. I just feel like appearance-wise, I'm kind of in the doldrums. Thing is, if I do go back blonde and I still look bleh, I've just caused myself an expensive mistake that will take a long time to reverse. I really enjoy not having any hair maintenance. Right now I'm trying to grow it out so that will be one thing. I think trying some nicer makeup might be a better thing to try than changing my hair color. Anyone have any products they really love?

What else? Oh, in the candy store this weekend, I ran into a guy I dated back in Freshman year of high school. He dumped me right after Winter Formal (at the door of my house when he dropped me off) for another girl - the one he married and who was also there in the candy store with him and their 3 children. It was funny to run into him. He didn't recognize me and I prefer to think it was because I am no longer blonde and not because he didn't remember me. The event contributed to my overall mulling over of my appearance although I do think I've aged well in general. I guess that might be it - aging. It's not my appearance, it's just that I'm getting older. I'm never going to look like I did when I was 20 and I don't want to hear it about how certain movie stars and models look better than ever at 40 etc. I would look better than ever too if I had a flock of people tending to my appearance and airbrushing my pictures. Maybe that's my answer. Post-production on my pictures. Hmm. Well anyway, enough about my vanity. It is what it is.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

Well, today was it, the first day of school. Unfortunately, we were late and missed the teacher's welcome and instructions. I don't even want to talk about how that happened. Just, as a person like me who is always early, it was hard. I kept my calm for Anna's sake. There is always tomorrow.

After drop-off, I went to the PTA meeting, where they tell you why you have to give money and ask you to sign up for things. I knew that was going to happen so I was prepared. I signed up to be one of (or perhaps the only) Kindergarten Art Docent. I will get art instruction from a special district art teacher, then I will teach the Kindergarten kids in the art studio. It sounds really fun. I'll have to get a sitter for Ethan for those days but that's no big problem. I also signed up to be our class "party parent". I asked another parent what that was, and you just help coordinate the one or two class parties. Sounds easy. I noticed that no one signed up to be the lead or co-lead parent in our classroom. I am worried that as one of the only 3 parents that signed up for anything, I may be asked to do more. Well, we'll see about that. I didn't want to look too eager just out of the gates.

Today is a short day, only 2 hours, so it's almost time to turn back around and pick Anna up. Hopefully she enjoyed her day.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pool Party

We had Anna's pool party yesterday and it went really well. The pool was a perfect place: great entertainment for the kids and easy clean-up. Anna really enjoyed herself. Off to Kindergarten tomorrow! What a week!