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Your turn! Just copy and past this survey into a new blog post and fill in your own answers…and don’t forget to link up over at Elaine’s!
I had the best hair of my life while I was pregnant. Seriously, when I look back on my hair during my pregnancy with Eddie I get swoony for how long and thick and beautiful it was.
Then he was born and all my hair fell out. Ok, not all of it, but I did have bald spots by my temples. Oh yes I did.
Same thing with Charlie. In fact, my hair was so awesome during that pregnancy, that I cut it short because it looked great and thick. Then Charlie was born. It all fell out and I hated my hair more than I have ever hated it.
The re-growth has been grey.
Not 100% grey, but more than 50% grey.
I also have this habit of smiling. A lot. And when I stop smiling, the area around my eyes does not get the memo anymore.
I have wrinkles.
This past summer I had to get glasses with a prism in them because my eyes can’t stay focused after using the computer or reading for a long time. It makes night driving–especially in the rain–very difficult. So I have glasses now.
I have grey hair, wrinkles, and glasses.
What I am trying to say is that I am turning into my grandmother…at age 35.
Here is the deal, my age has never made me feel old (well, except for that unfortunate 25th birthday, but there were extenuating circumstances). In fact, I feel like 30′s and 40′s is still young and fun and whatever.
What has made me feel ancient lately is all these changes I see in my appearance.
It feels out of my control. Yes, I color my hair every 8-10 weeks, but that doesn’t change the fact that every time I go for a touch-up there are MORE greys than the previous time. I am constantly worrying that as those grey hairs grow longer, my whole head will become wirey and I’ll have to get it cut in the Old Lady Ball and get it “done” once a week and wear a plastic rain bonnet to church.
What? YOU don’t worry about these things?
So I joke about it, but truthfully all of these things have me feeling a lot of feelings lately.
I picture myself as the old lady mom at my kids’ school. I picture myself looking grandmotherly while pregnant with Baby #3 (if we are so blessed at some point).
I know the saying of “you’re only as old as you feel,” but I FEEL older when I look in the mirror and see wrinkles and grey hairs and…dude! Is that a chin hair? I JUST PLUCKED THAT YESTERDAY!
Why is being an adult so…angsty? Or is it just me (tell me it’s NOT just me. Please.)?
I’ve been trying to find the things I still like about myself to counteract these horrifying things I keep noticing, but I know I keep focusing on the stuff that is making me feel, well, old.
I’ve spent so much time watching time pass on my children, that this week it was a shock to my system to see it passing on me too. Just like Eddie is not a toddler anymore, and Charlie is not a baby anymore, I’m not a kid anymore.
I’m not a kid anymore.
I’m an adult. A grown-up.
I spent all my life wondering what it would be to get to the child-bearing age and have a family. A bunch of time was spent thinking about my who I would marry, and who my children would be, and how they would come to be mine, and how many there would be in all.
I never thought about what my life would look like once all those babies were here. I never thought about what I would look like as a total grownup.
Other than maybe one more pregnancy, I am there. I am a grown-up.
And I look…at least to myself…old.
I feel like I hardly saw my family this week.
While we added a nephew to the Nation, I also had parent/teacher conferences.
And a bad cold.
Parent/Teacher conference week is always tough.
I go two full days without seeing my boys for more than a couple minutes in the morning.
But in the end, I didn’t have to bring any work home over the weekend, so it was a win!
I can tell already that Eddie is a To Do List kind of guy.
He likes to hold any list we make when we go to the store, although he doesn’t make the best “reader of the list” since he tends to make stuff up when you ask him what’s next.
We have used charts for things like potty training and staying in bed and so forth. A while ago we introduced him to a responsibility chart (not an affiliate link, I just like this product). We used it for things like getting dressed by himself, brushing his teeth daily, saying please and thank you, showing respect, etc. He liked this because each night before bed we would go down the list and put smile faces by the things he remembered.
After a while though, his behavior was great (most of the time) despite whether we remembered to do the smile faces or not. It was time for a new challenge.
Eddie is four years old and has been asking a lot about how much things in the store cost. He can read the numbers, so he often will try to read the cost, and he is beginning to understand that a few cents is not as much money as a few dollars. Often at bedtime he will ask Cortney if he can buy a new book for the tablet, but Cort explains to him that they cost money that isn’t in the budget. Sometimes he IS allowed to choose a book, but we give him a budget. Eddie has noticed the money signs by each book and knows that anything over $2.99 is off limits.
Because the smile face routine was getting old (and we would forget to do it), and Eddie was interested in how much money things were, we figured it was time that he earn some of his own money and learn about saving and spending.
When school started this year, we took down all the “responsibilities” on his chart that should be intrinsic and not paid to do (show respect, apologize, etc) and replaced them with tasks like putting his laundry in his basket, making his bed, taking his dishes to the sink, etc.
We explained to him that now that he is in school, he could learn to earn, save, and spend some money. For each day that he gets a smile face next to EVERY TASK, he gets a quarter. Pay day is Saturday at bedtime.
He loved this idea.
Each week he has the potential to earn 7 quarters ($1.75 for those of you slow at the math).
The first thing he told me he was going to buy was something for Charlie. What a guy!
I found him a little plastic mug to keep his quarters in by his bed, and away we went with the new plan.
The first week he was so excited that he did everything eagerly and earned all seven quarters. Since then we have had him earn as few as three quarters, but there have definitely been more full weeks than I thought there would be.
His little mug is filling up and at least once a week we dump them out and he counts them. Then I remind him that four quarters are the same as one dollar, so we group them into fours and count how many dollars he has. He doesn’t get the idea that they are each 25 cents yet, or how to count by 25′s, so I do any “remainders” for him.
He has almost $10 saved so far and he is just so excited to go to the store and spend it on something. He keeps saying he wants to buy presents for other people with it. It’s enough to make my heart melt.
Sometimes I come here to lament time moving so fast and crab about why my babies aren’t babies anymore. ahem. But I am finding that there is a lot of fun about watching our boys grow up and learn too.
All of these new experiences and new challenges show more of Eddie’s personality. Most of the time I see myself loud and clear in his actions, words, and sighs of overwhelm. But sometimes, like when he does math super quick in his head (“super quick” to me means not using his fingers) or he kicks a soccer ball correctly without having to be shown how, I see Cortney’s traits peeking through.
This parenting thing, man. It’s something.
Something pretty amazing.
I remember this time…around 20 months…when suddenly baby legs are long and their walk not so much a toddle of a drunken sailor anymore.
I remember looking at Eddie one day wondering where the baby went–the tiny wailing mush-pile in my arms.
Tiny babies are suddenly everywhere and I look around our house and realize that none of them live here anymore.
Oh the busyness is still there. It is not stop running and jabbering and crying and quarreling and eating and playing in our house, but these are the sounds of little boys, not babies.
Gone are the days of complete helplessness. There is a helper around every corner now–sometimes willing, other times not. Voices can now tell me “yes” and “no”.
Everyone in this house can take direction…even if he acts like he can’t sometimes.
There are no more baby sounds or smells. No bottles lining the counter or baby food piled in the pantry. Instead there are sippy cups of sour milk hiding behind chairs and messes that Nobody made.
There are tantrums and fits and “NO!” and “MINE!” yelled through the house so loudly I wonder if the windows will break.
But if I am quiet and still, I can still sometimes smell that infant scent lingering on your skin and in your hair. And I can still hear little gurgles and coos coming from your crib where you still find comfort and sleep.
Your skin is still soft and squishy even if it’s stretched out over a little boy and not all wrinkled up on a baby.
And when it’s silent and dark in the house, you would still rather lie close to me, matching your breathing to mine, while I hold your hand and run my fingers through your soft hair.
I know though that the baby is on his way out, and the little boy is on his way in. I’m not a stranger to this stage. But I won’t let the baby go without giving it a bit of a fight.
I’ll hold on to those curls and that softness as long as you will let me, Charlie Bird.
Happy Twenty Months, my lovie.
Last week was cold and rainy. I don’t think the sun came out much at all.
Plus there was the time change which meant I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark.
This signals two things to me: A) I need to get out my Happy Light, and B) I need a comfort food soup to slurp.
I got this recipe out of my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
I like this recipe because it’s easy and quick, but also because my kids will eat the parts of it separate from the soup. For instance I boil a few extra noodles to leave out of the soup for the boys. They will also eat some of the veggies if I leave them out of the soup. Everyone was happy and Eddie even declared it a “delicious meal!” when I served it.
If the four-year old thinks it’s delicious, you know you’ve won dinner time.
- 3 14-oz cans of Beef Broth
- 1 15-oz can of red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 14.5-oz can stewed tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 11.5-oz can veggie juice
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (crushed)
- 1.5 cups loose-packed frozen mixed veggies (like Italian blend)
- 2 cups cooked pasta (like medium shell macaroni or mostaccioli)
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves (cut into strips)
|In a 4-quart Dutch oven combine the beef broth, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, undrained tomatoes, veggie juice, tomato paste, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil.|
|Add mixed veggies and reduce heat. Let simmer covered for about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.|
|Stir in the cooked pasta and the spinach; heat through.|
|Serve with a little parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.|
The recipe makes a LOT, so next time (yes, there will be a next time), I will probably only make half a batch. I like leftovers as much as the next guy, but it made a LOT of soup for two people.
Fall poured in this week in the form of wind and rain and chilly weather.
The time changed and now it seems we live in darkness.
We made it through this dark and rainy week.
And we still have smiles on our faces…I don’t have a voice, but I do have a smile.
I say that’s a win.
Halloween is not my favorite holiday.
Cortney and I never got into dressing up or going to any parties (not that we were invited).
When I was a kid, we weren’t deprived of Halloween or anything, but it wasn’t a big deal.
We had homemade costumes and we went trick or treating in our cousin’s neighborhood since we didn’t really have a neighborhood.
No one came trick or treating to our house either.
When they can’t see the house from the road because of woods, most kids won’t walk up that driveway.
So when Cort and I moved to a subdivision, I was all excited about the trick or treaters…until we had the million kids come the first year and we had to get a loan for the payments on all that candy.
Any excitement I have ever had for Halloween died after that first year in our house.
But we have kids now. And while Charlie probably wouldn’t care one way or another, Eddie certainly does. We were not going to bee scrooge mcscrooge pants just because we don’t like the “holiday,” so we sucked it up and brought the fun.
Eddie had the biggest blast ever.
He got to go to the Pumpkin Patch with school and then with us. He got to choose his own costume (because $20 for a Flash costume is less than I would spend to try to make a Flash costume). He got a boat-load of candy. And he got to have a party at school. Although this conversation happened:
Me: Eddie! How was your Pumpkin Party at school today??
Me: That’s it? Wasn’t it so fun?
Eddie: Yeah, but it wasn’t a REAL party.
Me: Wait. What? Why not?
Eddie: There was no dancing. Parties have dancing, mom.
Well. Ok then. Kid knows what he likes in a party.
And he will probably be eating Halloween candy until…Christmas–when I through it out just to replace it with all the new candy he will get.
Halloween is still not my favorite, but I do like seeing my boys have a good time.
It’s not easy being married to me; I know that.
I don’t want to be told what to do.
I want my decisions made for me.
I want to be involved with all our friends and family.
I want to hide in our room away from all of civilization.
I have BIG ideas to do BIG things all the time.
I try to do too much.
I want you to listen and not try to fix my problems.
I want you to fix everything.
I want to be hugged and cuddled.
I want to be left alone.
I want you to know when I want attention and when I need to be left alone…without my telling you.
I want flowers and surprises.
I don’t want to spend money on frivolous things.
I want to be told I’m pretty.
I want to know the truth.
I want to be lied to about being pretty.
I want to give all our money to other people.
I want to buy all the selfish things.
I want to take time for myself without feeling selfish.
I feel selfish.
I want to smother you in awesome.
I don’t know how to do that.
I want to spend all my years and months and days and hours and minutes with you.
But not all the time because I want to be alone for minute too.
I’m afraid of time leaving us and missing moments with you.
I’m afraid I’ve already missed too many moments.
I trust you completely.
I get mad over things you didn’t even do because I imagined that you might have.
I worry about things out of my control.
I cry about being overwhelmed when I do it to myself.
I’m not a good listener…unless you’re telling me what I want to hear.
I don’t take compliments without thinking of a reason you are wrong for complimenting me.
I make small annoyances into huge dramas.
I want to be alone with you.
Not being alone with you makes me crabby…at you.
I know that 90% of the time I don’t make sense.
I know that I am not the same girl you married.
I also know that you are perfect for me. You are perfect for our boys.
My hope is that although I know I have changed, that I am still your Special Lady.
That I am still exactly who you need.
Last week of the marking period.
We have been non-stop this week.
I can feel it in our relationships with each other.
Something needs to give around here.
But not until the grading is done.
And the homework.
And the housework.
Hmmm…maybe we have an issue.
In YAY news…I’m going to be a published writer. IN A BOOK! Three Minus One comes out in May of 2014 and piece I wrote about my first miscarriage will be included. I am honored to be chosen.