Binge Watching with Netflix

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I’ve watched hours of a show before. When I stumble upon a marathon of a sitcom or show I love on television, I have been known to lose that day (and night) to the TV. But just this past week I learned the true meaning of what “binge watching is.”

I just finished the first season of Orange is the New Black.

YOU GUYS. IT IS SO GOOD.

Ok, for over a year now you have all been raving about this show. Last year I had the opportunity to meet Piper Kerman (the author of the book the series is based on), so I quick read the book. It is phenomenal.

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Almost everyone at the event had already watched the two seasons that Netflix had released. I may have been the only one who had ONLY read the book. I was excited to watch the series, but it was hard with two little boys at home to find time to watch something alone. Since I was pregnant with Alice, I was just too dang tired at night after the boys went to bed.

So I put it at the top of my maternity leave watch list, after Friends of course (I know, I know…I had already seen all of those episodes a million times. Don’t judge). Last week I finally started season one. And holy cow! I don’t think I have ever been so into a show in all of my life.

Alice and I hunkered down every afternoon on the couch. At first I tried to do work while I watched, like I did when I watched Friends. I quickly learned that no, I was not going to accomplish anything while it was on.

The show is nothing and everything like the book. A lot of the characters from the book are represented (some more fully than others) in the show, and a few of the stories that Kerman tells in the book have also clearly inspired certain episodes. The show also does a good job of showing the corruption and problems with the penitentiary system in the United States that Kerman strives to show in her memoir.

That is where the similarities end. The series has WAY more sex, way more drama, and the characters are way more exaggerated. And it’s awesome!

Don’t get me wrong, I adore the memoir. In fact, I want to re-read it, but the show is amazing in a different way. Just like when I am entrenched in a book and think about it when I’m not reading it, I get caught up in the show’s plot lines. I love that the series also follows some of the inmates’ stories of how they ended up in prison. I love that it’s not just about Piper.

In fact, I haven’t started season 2 yet because I actually have work to do and I simply can do nothing but watch when it’s on.

So as soon as I meet some deadlines (ahem, this is one of them), I am going to plow through season 2 because, HELLO, season 3 will be available in in June!!!  Just in time for my kids to be home, which means I will have to figure out how to watch in the evenings or on the weekends.

I’m going to guess most of you have watched the show; have you also read the book?

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This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, so I receive a year-long subscription to Netflix and a device to view it on, but I am not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.

Little Sister

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I can’t set Alice down without this happening. Her brothers swarm.

I expected it from Eddie. From the minute we told him I was pregnant, he has been wishing and praying for a sister. His reasoning? “I already have a brother and I do NOT want another one.” Ok then.

Eddie has been every bit of the best big brother I expected him to be. When Charlie was born, Eddie was two and a half. He doted on Charlie even at that young age. He loves babies. He is gentle and kind and soothing.

He offers to hold Alice and sing to her and feed her.

He tells her she is pretty and asks her what is wrong if she fusses.

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Eddie will always be her rock.

She will come to him with her heartbreaks and her victories. He will be her shoulder, her support system. He will teach her that she is worth more than all the gold in the world. He will stand behind her in all her choices. He will argue for her when she gets in trouble. He will probably do her chores so she can do something else.

She might take advantage of his heart, but I hope not.

I expected Eddie to be attentive and love on her.

I did not know what to expect from Charlie, but since he showed little interest in any other baby in the entire world, I thought maybe he would ignore her at best, show jealous rages at worst.

But you know what happens when you think you know your kid?

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He surprises you in the most wonderful way.

Charlie is completely taken by “Baby Alice” or “Allie Beans” or “Baby Alice Beans”. He loves her fiercely.

He is protective, caring, and borderline violent about her happiness. The first day she was home, I was feeding her and he put his hand to his ear and said, “what’s that noise?  That ::makes a kissing noise:: sound?” And I said, “That’s Baby Alice. She’s sucking on her bottle.”

From that moment his ears have been set to her. One peep and he is by her side. If he can’t get to her side, he will very loudly announce that SOMEONE needs to get there. “BABY ALICE BEANS IS CRYING! MOM MOM! DAD DAD!”

 

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If Eddie is her rock, Charlie will be her guardian.

Woe to the boy that does wrong by Alice. Charlie acts first, thinks later–which means anyone who hurts his sister? Well his ass will be grass.

As Sonny was for Connie, Charlie will be for Alice. Let’s just hope it ends better for Charlie. Luckily there are no toll roads in Michigan. (please tell me you get this reference. PLEASE or we cannot be friends.)

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(I have no idea what is going on in this picture, but I do know it was probably ridiculous. I’m guessing the smell of poop was involved).

Eddie makes her coo.

Charlie makes her laugh.

Eddie calms her.

Charlie delights her.

I could be totally wrong about how their relationships turn out. Maybe Alice’s personality will clash with one or both of her brothers.

I hope not.

I hope this love is something she is already internalizing.

If her smiles and coos and finger-holding are any indication, these three are going to be quite the unstoppable sibling team. I can’t wait to watch them grow up together.

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I Am

I am a wife, mother, teacher, believer.
I wonder about big things like life and death and the possibility of eternity.
I hear the many names I am called and I wonder which one is truest.

I see myself in my children.
I want to save every child, starting with my own, from having to feel hurt or dumb or not enough.
I am a feeler and a thinker.


I pretend to be the best.
I feel inadequate most of the time.
I touch lives and minds.
I worry that I will never completely fulfill my potential…or read all the books.
I cry in laughter, frustration, and sadness.
I am an actress.

I understand that doubt is ok.
I say “I love you” frequently.
I dream of a day when love will win.
I try to walk the path I talk.
I hope I am not letting you down.
I am a work in progress.

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Join in with OSB by heading to the hostesses, Elaine and Angela, for this month’s prompt and link up.

Done

During my pregnancy with Charlie, Cortney made it known that two kids were enough. He was very happy with two boys and with being a family of four. I was not convinced.

Then Charlie was born. The night of his birth, after everyone had left the hospital and we were alone, I held him close to my face, breathed deeply, and whispered, “you are not my last baby.”

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My heart knew I couldn’t call it quits already then, and as my boys grew and interacted with each other, it still felt like our family wasn’t whole. Someone was missing. There was a spot in all photos of our family that seemed as if it was waiting to be filled.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted all boys. Four boys. I wanted tall, loving boys who doted on their little mother. I pictured boys when I pictured my family. Back in high school the husband in the picture was never quite clear, but four boys was.

Then Alice was not a boy, and I was confused because I have boys. I have two boys and I (thought) was having another. Cortney and I talked about whether or not we would be done after this baby, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think I could be sure until the baby was here for a while. Maybe I still needed that fourth child I always dreamed of…even if all of my kids weren’t boys.

To complicate matters, my pregnancy with Alice was difficult. In fact, each pregnancy was more difficult than the one before. Could I even endure a fourth (well, actually sixth) pregnancy? Somewhere between finding out Alice was a girl and feeling like garbage every day for 39 weeks, we became 98% sure there would be no more babies. It wasn’t because Alice was a girl, but rather because there was no way my body could go through another pregnancy like hers. It felt as if my body was constantly shouting at me that it just couldn’t go through this again.

When Alice was born and placed in my arms, I knew. Our family was complete. The missing piece of our puzzle was a little girl I didn’t know I wanted…or needed. Three was our number.

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Both Cortney and I are very VERY ok with our decision. We are totally sure. We are at peace. And yet…

Last Friday the doneness became official with a thirty-minute doctor’s office visit for Cortney. In the days leading up to that procedure, I had feelings. They didn’t have anything to do with wanting to be pregnant again or having more children. I feel very, very good about NOT being pregnant again and NOT having more crazy children. We are a party of five.

The feelings are about an almost imperceptible shift.

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Last Monday Alice and I were at Meijer to get groceries. I was just getting her out of her car seat and fitted in the Moby wrap when an old high school friend walked up to say hello and congratulations on the baby. She had seen pictures on Facebook and thought Alice was precious. I love it when people stop to say hello and tell me my baby is cute, so as Alice and I made our way to the carts with our grocery list in hand, I had a smile on my face. I felt good.

But as we navigated the baby department for diapers and formula, I thought about that friend and her children–all older than Eddie (who will be six in June). Then I thought about the vast number of women from my high school graduating class who have kids who are all older than my kids. One friend has a son getting married. Another is a grandmother already.

I pressed my nose against Alice’s fluffy hair as she snoozed against my chest and I sniffed the new baby smell.

I felt old.

For the first time in my life, I felt old.

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Birthdays have never really affected me. The number has never defined me or how I felt about myself. My experiences are what generated my feelings. When I got married at age twenty-seven, I felt young because I was a bride! I even said to my best friend/matron of honor, “OH MY GOSH! I am getting MARRIED today! That is such a GROWN UP THING!” She laughed at me because duh, I was twenty-seven. I was a grown-up.

When I had Eddie at age thirty-one I never thought, “aw jeez, I am having my first child in my 30’s.”  Rather I felt young and naive because I was a brand new mom with a new baby.

Now something has shifted.

I am no longer a newly wed; we are celebrating ten years in a month.

I am no longer a new mom; this is my third baby.

I am no longer in my child-bearing years; Cortney has taken care of that.

We are now officially starting a new era.

Cortney always liked to use soccer terms to talk about whether we were trying for a baby or not. We were either practicing or pulling the goalie and playing for real. Now he has said we are just on an alumni league where no one keeps score anymore.

It’s much harder on me than I thought it would be.

Not because I want more children, but because the Baby Years are over.

We are done.

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At the same time, we are at the beginning of something new. Of the “growing up years”. These are the years that family memories are made of.

Looking back on my childhood, the years after my youngest brother was born is where those “family memories” really begin.

That is where we are: starting those years my kids will remember as their childhood.

There is a loss I am grieving, though. The loss of my “young” years of child-bearing. The excitement of not knowing who was coming into our family next.

We are all here now. We are done. We are ready to begin.

Mother Lover

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Mom

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she does a good job tolerating me.

1. She always puts up with my dramatics and ridiculousness.

2. Even though she doesn’t “get” my sense of humor, she rolls with it. Most of the time. Unless it involves swearing.

3. She spoils my kids in ways she would never, ever had allowed when I was growing up under her supervision.

4. She is quick to point out how my children are like me (crazy) and how they are not (chill).

5. She never once blamed her her childhood disadvantages for anything.

6. She was quick to credit her childhood (and my grandmother) for many things.

7. She still buys me birthday gifts and makes my favorite foods…even though I am thirty-seven…because she knows my love language is gifts. And I love that she never makes me feel bad about that.

8. Her logic evens out my irrational 98% of the time. The other 2% is why I take meds.

9. She has never let me down. Except when she missed Charlie’s first birthday party to go to Mexico. I KID, MOM! I KID! (She just mumbled “Oh GUY, Kate!” to the computer. Just take my word for it. She loves when I push her buttons.)

10. She wouldn’t have given me the world even if she could have because she would have wanted me work for it which is probably why I am a hard-worker as an adult. But her love she gave freely…and still does. I never deserved it or had to earn it. She just doles it out unconditionally.

That's me on my great grandma Katherine's lap. in the middle is my grandma Jo. On the right is my beautiful mother.

That’s me on my great grandma Katherine’s lap. in the middle is my grandma Jo. On the right is my beautiful mother. Four generations of AWESOME women.

 

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Mom

2015-04-05 12.42.261. My kids are the funniest people on the planet even if the majority of their jokes have to do with bodily functions and “booty butts”.

2. Whenever I start to get overconfident, my children point out my weaknesses (“Mom, please don’t sing. It’s terrible”) and keep me grounded.

3. Having an excuse to bake cookies and cake and all the treats. It’s for the kids, yo.

4. Reading with small people and watching them learn to read by themselves and feeling awe that this person who is READING was a nothing and then grew in my stomach and is now READING.

5. Homemade gifts.

6. Endless bouquets of dandelions.

7. Sticky faces close to my ear whispering “I love you Mom Mom.”

8. Honest awe and declarations of “Mom, you’re BEAUTIFUL!” when I get ready for church.

9. Run-by huggings.

10. Middle of the night snuggles to ward off bad dreams, growing pains, or sadness.

Because motherhood is always full of smiles and cooperative children, yes?

Because motherhood is always full of smiles and cooperative children, yes?

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers that are and ever were and ever will be.

And thank you, Mom, for being you and showing me how to be a great mother. It’s the most frustrating and lovely thing I have done with my life so far.

 

Apron Strings

apron-strings-newcover-351x351I love historical fiction. Some of my favorite books fall under this genre: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Red Tent, East of Eden, among many more. So when I was offered the chance to read/review a book that goes between the late 20’s/early 30’s era and the late 1950’s, I jumped on it.

Apron Strings by Mary Morony tells two stories. The main story is told by seven-year-old Sallee Mackey growing up in the late 50’s, in the South, smack in the middle of desegregation. Sallee’s family has their share of issues. Her Yankee father, Joe, quit his job as a lawyer to build and open a controversial shopping center. Her Southern mother, Ginny, is concerned about what people are saying and copes by drinking. And their maid, Ethel, who has been with Ginny and the family since childhood and has been Sallee’s touchstone and mother figure when her own mother couldn’t, has her own personal and family problems.

The other story is told by Ethel, the Mackey family’s black maid. Morony’s novel jumps back and forth between Sallee’s voice telling a first person account of her family and Ethel’s first person account (which seems to be directed at Sallee) about growing up and working for Sallee’s mother’s family.

I very much enjoyed Morony’s writing. I felt that she captured the confused and often times naive voice of a seven-year-old trying to make sense of racism and the judgment of adults very well. In fact, she seemed to capture all the voices of her characters well. I get skeptical when a white person writes a black character, but Ethel and her family members seemed to have dialect that would fit both the time and location for the story.

I think my one issue was, that after I read the last line and closed the book, I wondered what story I just read. I enjoyed reading it all the way through, but when I got to the end I wasn’t sure what the main take away of the book was supposed to be. Both Sallee’s and Ethel’s stories were interesting and fun to read, but that is all it felt like, just the life stories of two different people. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be a statement against racism or drinking. Or maybe it was about the importance of family. It felt like maybe it was trying to do too much at once with a lot of characters that didn’t all seem necessary.

For instance, Sallee’s weird neighbor Mr. Dabney shows up in Ethel’s stories. We find something out about him, but I thought it would have a lot more relevance to the story. It did not. It didn’t seem to effect the outcome of the book at all, but I found it interesting. Like real life, I suppose.

So I feel like I am in a weird position. On the one hand, I very much enjoyed reading the writing and the stories these characters had to tell. On the other hand, I’m not sure all the characters or the details were necessary to the story as a whole. I wouldn’t tell anyone to NOT read it because it’s a nice little read, but I don’t know that it’s the first thing I would recommend to someone looking for a new read either.

I will say that in the end, I do wonder what happens to Sallee after the book is over. I wonder about all her siblings and her parents too. That is the mark of a good story and good writing.

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was sent a copy of Apron Strings to read and review. I received no compensation. All the opinions are my own.

Two Months, Two Girls

Dear Alice,

You are two months old.

This week you had your well-child visit and weighed in at 11lbs, 9 ounces and 23 inches long!  That is a gain of both three pounds AND three inches in the last six weeks! That even impressed the doctor. Needless to say, you are well out of newborn clothes–they are all packed away.

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I can’t believe how much you have changed this month! You went from a completely floppy newborn to a baby who can hold her head pretty still, work her arms and legs, and coo and smile–especially at Charlie.

This month has been full of firsts again: first visit to my school, first grocery shopping excursion in the moby, and first fever.

The fever was this past weekend. You slept ’round the clock and just weren’t your usual perky self. But as of Tuesday, you seem to have kicked it. You’re back to being awake for a couple hours at a time and being content to hang out in the rock n play or bounce seat and just watch me or your brothers as we carry on our daily business.

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Hilariously, you’ve also found your tongue. You stick it out and make all kinds of funny faces. You also like to blow bubbles and I’m not entirely convinced that Charlie didn’t teach you that.

You are a fantastic eater and sleeper! Daddy and I are super pleased about this. Your eating schedule is almost regular enough to set your watch to: four ounces every three hours, except at night where you will go four, five, sometimes six  hours at a stretch (usually on daddy’s nights, ya stinker)!

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Everyone who meets you gasps and says, “Well it’s Eddie with a bow!” or “Eddie junior!” And you do look so, SO much like your biggest brother.  I need to write a separate post about your brothers and how they interact with you, because there is just so much to say, but I will say Eddie is is my helper with you. He can feed you and hold you and give you your pacifier. And he is so gentle with you.

Charlie, on the other hand, is rough and loud and you love it. Your first laugh was at Charlie sticking his face in yours and saying something ridiculous like “booty butts are stinky.”

In fact, while I was taking there pictures, he was off to the side doing this:

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Stick with those brothers of yours…they will be your everything.

Speaking of sticking close…you like “close”. Just like your brothers before you, swaddling is your best friend for sleep, and being “worn” in the moby is a surefire way to get you to chill out.

But different than the boys, you won’t tolerate being uncomfortable. While your brothers could sit in a wet diaper for days (I never let them, thank you), you don’t like to be less than dry. Charlie still poops in his diaper and then avoids me. I have no idea why…who wants to sit in poop?  You seem to agree with me.

If you’re cold, you’ll grumble.

I call you a diva, Daddy calls you his “dainty girl”.

Toe-may-to, Toe-mah-to.

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I am having so much fun with you, Alice. I have been thinking it over for days in preparation for this post, and I just can’t put into words how you are different than your brothers.  How you being a girl is different already at two months old.

I’m not sure if it’s the clothes or the bows or the shoes. I don’t think that is it. Or at least not all of it. There is something else. Something deeper and more ingrained than I could imagine.

Your dad and I aren’t gender stereotype pushers by any means (in fact, Eddie pointed out the other day that there are no dresses in the men’s section at Meijer which seemed dumb, because would a guy have to shop in the ladies department for dresses then if he wanted one? I love that kid, by the way). And I never believe people who said, “there’s just something different with boys and girls.” I mean, there is the physical difference, but there is something else too.

There is a connection that is different. I wonder if Daddy feels that way about you too. You and I are “The Girls” in conversation about our family.

I am not alone anymore. It’s not me and then my three dudes. It’s you and me–together–and then our three dudes. I have a teammate now.

And apparently I have a shopping buddy because Daddy is thinking of enforcing a ban on the two of us going to Target together ever again because we can’t seem to go together without coming home with something for you. Heh.

When I found out you were a girl and not another boy, I had admit I had a moment of silence for loss of the Lone Lady status in the house. I was a little afraid to share “my” boys with another girl.

But you’re alright, kid.

I think you and I will be a great team.  We already are.

Love,

Momma

Ps. This is how you compare to your brothers at the same age (2 months)…

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Art on Mondays

What do you want to be when you grow up?

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An artist.

And I will live with you and do art on Mondays.

Forever.

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Eddie is now one step closer to that dream of doing art on Mondays.

His piece was chosen for his school district’s spring art show.

It was on display with other pieces from students in grades K-12.

He is very proud.

And so are we.

Although that part about living with us forever is still up for discussion.

Think About It

My earliest memory of math is the homemade flashcards my mom made out of index cards to help me get faster with my addition and subtraction skills, and later my multiplication skills. Remember those sheets you would get in school that you had to try to get done in like five seconds or something dumb? I was slow and my mom wanted to help me get faster.

I hated those damn flashcards.

A few years later came fractions. If I thought I hated those flashcards, then fractions were straight up devil’s work.

Looking back, I blame the way math was taught, but that’s a whole different post. The fact was that math was hard for me, but I didn’t want to fail.  And my parents didn’t want me to either.

Fast-forward to nightly math homework starting in middle school with all the equations and fractions. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands. Whoever had those textbooks in the years after me will probably find small wrinkled spots throughout the pages where my frustrated tears landed.

My mom, while naturally a numbers person (she’s an accountant), is more of a number organizer than a math person. My dad, on the other hand, has worked with fractions his whole life. He worked for Herman Miller–an office furniture giant–as a model maker. He and his team made the first prototypes (and following models) of what the designers dreamed up. Fractions were pretty much second-nature to him.

But he didn’t attempt to re-teach me fractions. Instead, he re-read the math problem with me. Thought about it and then said to me, “Think about it, Kate. Think about it.”

He wasn’t trying to get out of helping me, but he wanted me to really try before I gave up. He knew that I read the problem, got overwhelmed, and shut down. He wanted me to try to get it before declaring it impossible. Ninety-five percent of the time, that phrase was all it took for me to at least understand what the question was asking me. Often I still needed his help for how to set up the equation (especially if it involved fractions), but that simple phrase, “think about it,” was really telling me, “you can do this. I know you can, Kate.”

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This past fall, while discussing the accomplishments of my brothers and I in high school, college, and career, my dad said, “You weren’t the most naturally gifted of the three of you, but you were the hardest working.”

I smiled and nodded. All three of us did quite well for ourselves academically. Their stories are not mine to tell, but I can say we all graduated high school with decent to excellent grades and GPAs, and we all got into the universities of our choice.

What we did to get there, stay there (some of us), and beyond wasn’t so much a reflection on who was the smartest, my dad pointed out. And success wasn’t determined by anything other than what you wanted to do with your life and whether you worked to achieve it.

You weren’t the most naturally gifted of the three of you, but you were the hardest working.

I spent a few days pondering these words.

It’s not really fun to be called “not the most naturally talented” even if you know that what the speaker was saying wasn’t meant to be a put-down.

I knew my dad was trying to compliment me, but I kept turning the words over in my head for another week until the night of my dad’s retirement celebration and dinner.

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I’m going to confess something here. Even though my dad was retiring after 40+ years of working for the same company, I never thought about how this event was a big deal. The thing is, my dad is probably one of the most humble people to walk this earth. He just says “thanks” or shrugs it off if you tell him he did something amazing. So because he didn’t make a big deal about the event, I guess I forgot to too.

Then people he worked with started getting up and talking about how hardworking he is. They said phrases like, “Tom would say ‘yes’ to anything and then figure out how to make it work,” “Tom taught me that with hard work, you can do anything,” and “Tom is probably the hardest working person I have ever worked with.”

It’s one thing to know your dad believes in hard work, it’s another to listen to people talk about it and gush about how much they have learned from working with him.

That night I realized that my dad taught me about hard work too, and when he told me I was the hardest working of all three of his kids, it was one of the biggest compliments he could give. I didn’t just rely on my natural abilities (of which I had few), I decided I wanted to do well, and I did it.

“Think about it, Kate,” became my motto to myself through college when my dad wasn’t there to stand over my shoulder while I did homework or had to make a choice about going to class or sleeping in.

It became ingrained in my problem-solving and trouble-shooting when lesson planning, figuring out behavior plans, writing grad school papers, and even deciding what is the next best step for my career.

My dad’s words made a much bigger impact than just figuring out fractions, which if we are being honest here, I still have problems with, those words became how I navigate life.

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Happy 65th birthday, Dad. I love you and I hope I can teach Eddie, Charlie, and Alice all to “think about it.”

She Laughs…or Rather Cries…at My Routine

My day starts sometime after 7am. Light is just starting to find it’s way through our larger, south-facing front window into our living room which is generally littered with small cars, stuffed animals leftover from before-school morning cuddles, and the occasional chocolate milk sippy that wasn’t put away before leaving.

Sometimes there are Legos that get stepped on. Those mornings are sweary.

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I don’t ease quietly and serenely into my day. No, I wake up to a hungry and angry baby girl shout-crying into my face via the monitor on my night stand. As I blink away the sleep, she gets crabbier.

I mutter something like, “I’m coming, Alice,” as if she can hear me…or would care if she could. You know what? It’s hard to pee when you’re trying to convince your brain you are indeed awake and not still dreaming all while trying to hurry because the boss has not gone from crying to some sort of shrill wail that makes it sound like feral cats are about to attack her.

Once I get my bathrobe on, the coffee going, the Today show on, and the bottle in the baby’s mouth, I can say the day has begun.

This has been our only consistent routine since the little lady joined our household seven weeks ago. Every other attempt I have made to find some sort of schedule or regularity in our days is thwarted by Little Miss Alice.

During week six, I thought we finally had it. Every day she was taking a lengthy snooze in her rock n play in the morning while I cleaned or baked or wrote or read or also snoozed. The afternoons were lazy. Since I was so accomplished in the morning, we usually cuddled together on the couch for some Netflix or History channel or Tiger ball game or just silence. Sometimes I read my book while she was curled up in my arm, sometimes I slept.

On the days Eddie doesn’t go to the after school program, we would go pick him up then come home to start dinner while Eddie entertained Alice.

Things were breezy, man. Totally breezy. I even made a laundry schedule and a “chore” list for each day (example: Mondays = groceries, and doing Alice’s laundry along with a load of our laundry…the darks, yo).

Then week seven happened.

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And I remembered that babies are on their own schedules, and sometimes that means lengthy fussy times because OMG LEARNING ALL THE THINGS AND GROWING IS SO VERY HARD AND EXHAUSTING AND I JUST NEED TO CRY ABOUT IT, MOMMA.

I showered less last week. I slept less (exhibit A = the giant bags under my eyes in that picture up there). I got WAY less done. I said, “Oh, Baby Girl!” a LOT. But by Thursday we were finding our way again.

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She was still a mad head and didn’t want me to put her down, but dude. Life needs to continue. So the Moby wrap was taken out of the car (I use it for shopping with her), and I threw her in it while I made dinner. She still fussed a bit, but it worked well enough until her daddy came home and could properly hold her and whisper in her ear that she was pretty.  Which she likes, of course.

The week wasn’t all bad, after all. She cried a LOT, but she also laughed for the first time. I was singing “Three is the Magic Number” and “I Love Rock n Roll”.  I am telling myself that she laughed out of pleasure and not because my singing was so bad.

Alice has begun to coo constantly at me and Cortney and her brothers. She definitely recognizes me and Cortney when other people are around, and seeing her brothers after they’ve been gone all day is sure to elicit smiles.

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I also read that she can now appreciate colors and textures, so I busted out the activity mat…or the gym, as we call it. She found herself in the mirror and smiled immediately, which is funny because neither of the boys ever cared one speck for that mirror. Of course my baby girl would find it and love it.*

All the new stuff made her tired and cranky though, as I said. So the week had highs and lows. I spent a lot of the time holding the baby.

With Eddie this would have sent me into a rage-filled spiral. With Charlie I learned that the bathroom filth will be there tomorrow. With Alice I am practicing what I learned. I didn’t even worry about the bathroom or the dusting. It never crossed my mind to worry about it not getting done.

I just scooped her up and patted her butt until she fell asleep in my arms.  Then I dozed off too. Or read a book. Or watched some TV. Because I knew she would wake up sad if I put her down.

So I just didn’t put her down.

I don’t know what week eight will bring this week, but I am sure not going to count on anything other than a baby who will eat, sleep, poop, and cry…but not in that order. At least not in that order every time.

 

 

*Fun fact: to get me to stop crying as a baby/toddler, my parents would plop me in front of a mirror. I would sit and smile at myself forever.

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