Monday, February 28, 2011

baby steps

Thought I had an amazing baby who was walking at 6 months? No. Rather, these are my own baby steps taken en route to the gym on Saturday.

Step 1: Motivation. You would think it would be motivating enough to know that I have to get in a bathing suit in front of friends in the Dominican Republic in June, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be the case. Personally, I have a lazy voice in my head that tells me, "Look, everyone thinks you're busy. Who cares if you're not actually very busy? Just coast for a while!" To motivate myself and combat the voice, I contemplate those who might not be able to go the gym at all, whether because of health or physical limitations. Take the 127 hours guy, for instance (not now, but when he was stuck under a rock). Or people who live in the middle of nowhere in Montana. Or somebody who just broke their leg. No kidding, this works nearly every time.

Step 2: Logistics. Call the gym to figure out whether the day care has room for the girls. Get everyone dressed and bundled to go outside in the cold and snow. Find lost snow boot, pack diaper bag, run back to house because I forgot my little gym swipy thing. Run back to house a second time because I forgot to lock the door after the first run back.

Step 3: War. Wage a stage 3 battle with spouse (stage 3=argument in front of strangers) on the walk through the gym parking lot about whether it is worth keeping our gym memberships after the difficulties encountered in Step 2.

Step 4: Obstacle. Remember upon arrival that my hungry toddler with a lumberjack appetite will not survive 2 hours without food at this time of day. Feed her gross-looking chicken fingers from vendor cart in gym building, and feed myself some maternal guilt while I'm at it.

Step 5: Work out. Reward myself after all that hard work with an hour of sweaty exercise on the spinning cycle I found in a remote corner, my own tiny home away from home. Feel triumphant. Success doesn't come cheap, but it is so worth it.

"My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny." -Elaine Maxwell

Friday, February 25, 2011

birthday boy


Nate hits the big 3-0 today. It's a milestone that I think I might be more emotional than him about. Big surprise there, I know. For one thing, we have been together almost 10 years, which means I was right next to him for all of his 20's. I routinely do my wifely duty to give him a hard time, of which I'm sure there is evidence on this blog. But I think I rarely tell him how cool and special he is. If I can take a cheese-filled mushy moment, I'd just like to say for all the world to read that he is in fact very special and cool. In point of fact, it is he and not I who is supporting the 4 of us to live in a pretty house in a very posh New England town and drive 2 yuppie vehicles. It didn't escape my notice that in a year where many people cannot find a job at all, Nate managed to find a rather good promotion at a prestigious international consulting firm. If I can toot his horn a bit more, for the past 5 years he has spent his small amount of leisure time training high school boys to row, and more importantly (in my opinion), to become men. And he puts up with me and my sometimes crazy, always emotional state of mind. What a guy.

Tonight we are leaving the girls with a babysitter so we can finally jaunt into the city for some dinner and sightseeing. We'll get some drinks and then head to dinner at what else but a brasserie of course! Nothing like combining our great loves of beer and French food. I can't wait. Here's to another decade together. I hope it's just as fun as the last.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

toddler tip: intervention tactics

Here's another list I stole from my current favorite parenting book (and no, the authors aren't paying me to advertise). This list will give you some ideas of what to do if your child breaks a rule. I promise I will begin posting my own ideas; these lists just help get the ball rolling.

1. Ignore, if it's not a major infraction. Remember, attention is toddler currency.

2. Redirect. Sometimes I feel I spend 99% of my day doing this.

3. Use humor. When I can keep my wits and sense of humor about me, this works amazingly well.

4. Time out. We save this for hitting and talking back,  i.e. major infractions.

5. Positive reinforcement. Hugs and praise go a long way, as do rewards like TV and chocolate.

6. Give choices. Our favorite is when it's nap time and she refuses to get up, we say "Do you want to walk or be carried upstairs?" She doesn't want either, but when given the choice, she chooses to walk.

7. Teach consequences, i.e. cause and effect. I think this one is more sophisticated, and Vivi is just now ready at almost 3 years old to begin learning. It is also the hardest for me to follow through on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the hunt is on

Now that I have finished my nursing prerequisites and made the decision not to go back to work, it seems like it's either now or never to go to nursing school. As always, there are a few bumps in this road, so the decision as I see it will be basically made up of three parts hurtles and one part guts.

Hurtle 1: find a school that will let me in. "Finished the prerequisites," as I've discovered, is a relative term because the requirements vary from state to state and even school to school. I may or may not need Microbiology (blort) and/or Human Growth and Development (major eye-rolling). Plus, there is a surplus of students willing and able to fill the nursing shortage and a dearth of spots to train them. Finally, not all schools or locations are created equal, so I have to do some digging into the list. Quick example: I had found a program at Bunker Hill Community College and thought it looked promising. Then I happened to watch the movie "The Town" a few days ago and learned Bunker Hill is actually the center of Charlestown, which apparently produces more bank robbers than any other location in the country. In fact, a BHCC building appears in one scene in which the protagonist has a fist fight with his friend. Yikes!

Hurtle 2: cost. After sitting down and crunching the numbers on our current school debt, we sadly came to the realization that we need to see a financial adviser who can help us pave the way to the black as quickly as possible. Incurring a lot of new debt is not an option for us because, to be frank, we don't want it to be. That takes Harvard out of the equation (Darn! That was the only reason I wasn't going to Harvard. Sigh. Oh, that and the fact that they don't have a nursing school. Otherwise, I was a shoo in!).

Hurtle 3: the kids. You could lump this hurtle in with #2 because it all boils down to whether or not I can find a place for the kids to go while I'm in class that isn't exorbitantly expensive. In a city where the average cost of day care seems to be $1,800/month per kid, that ain't exactly an easy proposition. I'm hoping we can find an affordable place to put Vivi part-time, and perhaps I can find another mom in school who wants to trade off watching the babies.

And lastly, of course, is courage. Assuming I overcome the obstacles above, I still have to find the pluck to do it. I'm trying to quiet the superego (What if I'm no good at it? What if I try it and find out I don't like it? What if I can't find a job?) and just go for it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

pork chops with prunes and cream


I am sharing a recipe for a dish I cooked this week that was fantastic, both because I thought you might like it and as an homage to Nora Ephron, one of my favorite writers. It reminded me so much of Paris when we were eating it, and I was disappointed I couldn't have an entire second portion.





pork chops with prunes and cream
(a recipe adapted from the one in this book, given to us by my sister-in-law)
serves 4

2 Tbs rendered bacon fat or oil
4 bone-in, thick cut pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
2 Tbs. butter
1 c. white wine or cider
1 c. prunes
1/2 to 1 c. heavy cream

Heat skillet to medium-high and add fat or oil. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper. Sear the pork chops well on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side. Add the thyme, garlic, and butter, and pour in the wine and prunes around the pork. Cover and simmer until the chops are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer the chops to rest. Reduce liquid over high heat until there's about 1/2 cup left. Reduce heat, add half the cream and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick. Add more until the sauce has a consistency you like. Spoon the prunes and sauce over the chops and serve.

Here are some pics of Paris to get you in the mood:









Monday, February 21, 2011

the unholy trinity

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -Ben Franklin

The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4 a.m. -Charles Pierce

Is there anything better than pizza and beer? How about beer, pizza, and bowling? We ate at a great place last night in Somerville (north of Cambridge, very close to Boston) that offers local and organic food, our favorite local beer, and duck-pin bowling. Never heard of it? We hadn't either. It was too crowded to play, but from what I could tell the best part about duck-pin bowling that it is much quieter than regular bowling. Plus, you don't seem to have to wear someone else's shoes (why do they do that? How many women show up to bowl in stiletto heels?), and you don't have to spend the first half-hour looking for the right ball. Anyway, the highlight was the delicious pizza; we ordered half buffalo chicken with arugula and half kalua pork. YUM! And beer! How I missed it. Beer is definitely something to celebrate about living in Boston. They sure do know how to make it here. I think I must have proven myself to be a veteran mom (and possibly met one of Jeff Foxworthy's redneck qualifications), considering I breastfed while I drank a beer.

Nate has today off, and our big plans will consist of cleaning the house to get ready for the maid service (always a bizarre practice) and grocery shopping. Ah, the joys of homemaking. And it's snowing...again. Sigh. At least it will provide a pretty new white blanket over the gray slush!

Happy birthday Dad! And Mr. Presidents, of course.

Friday, February 18, 2011

a new goal on the horizon

I finally made it back into the gym this week, and it feels great to exercise again. It's been longer than I can remember since I have gotten my heart rate up doing an activity other than picking up or running after a child. I miss working out in a team setting, especially on crew. Having a coxswain yelling in my face was the ultimate motivator. As hard as I try to imagine what a cox might be saying to me during my work outs (which I do, every time!), it's just not the same. An observation I've made about my work outs the last few years is that it's difficult for me to motivate myself to push the limits without a tangible goal in mind.

Last time I got in shape after having a baby, I trained for a triathlon with Team In Training and raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am contemplating doing another triathlon this summer, but this time I will do it on my own without the team or fundraising. Now I just need to figure out which one I want to do!



p.s. I owe the homemade motivational poster above to this site. Fun!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

toddler tip: the 20 commandments of discipline

I frequently note that parenting isn't for sissies, especially when you are outnumbered. I often feel as though I am barely hanging on by a thread, but when I am able to step back, I see that I do occasionally get something right. When I feel like I have constructive wisdom to pass on, I think I'll start posting those tips too, rather than just continuing to request tips from others or rant aimlessly about my challenge d'jour.

You've heard me say I love to organize my life, so why should my blog be any different? I'm going to experiment with posting a tip every Thursday. Since I am currently working with very little brain power, this plan will hopefully help me stay on track, and it doesn't hurt that tip and Thursday both start with T. If you see a tip on Tuesdays every now and then, don't hold it against me.

Disclaimer: This list isn't actually my own tip. It comes from my current favorite parenting book, and I thought it was worth sharing with other parents of young kids. Although I hate the expression "Terrible Two's," I have had my fair share of difficult moments as a mom, and I find this list very handy to review. Some of them are a bit repetitive. I underlined my favorites, which I say as mantras in my head in the midst of battle.

1. Use a 'prevent defense.'

2. Don't back down to avoid conflict.

3. Anticipate conflicts.

4. Anticipate attention-seeking behavior.

5. Act immediately.

6. Be consistent.

7. Pick your battles.

8. Make your comments short and sweet.

9. Focus on the behavior, not the child (i.e. what your kid did was bad, but the kid isn't bad).

10. Remind your child that you love her.

11. Don't yell! (remember The Godfather).

12. Show respect.

13. Be a good role model.

14. Catch your child being good.

15. Use age-appropriate and temperament-appropriate techniques.

16. Don't treat your child like an adult.

17. Lower your expectations.

18. Take emotion out of the equation.

19. Don't negotiate or make false promises (personally, I would call this one "Never negotiate with terrorists).

20. Remember to take a step back.

I am certain I fail more than I succeed, but somehow my child still turned out sweet and happy for the most part. Funny how that works.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

poll: stickers as rewards?

We tried and failed at using stickers with Vivi when we were potty training her (more on that subject later). I think she was too young at the time but could be ready now. Does any parent out there use a sticker chart for positive reinforcement of your 3+ year old? I am interested in getting started but not sure where to begin. Obviously I'll turn to the library to read up on written advice, but I find asking around to other moms typically helps just as much as the books.

Thanks in advance for the tips!

sleep 101

A little tidbit about me, for those of you who don't know. I LOVE to sleep. It's perhaps my favorite pastime next to the usual suspects....exercise, cooking, photography, camping, etc. Part of what I love about sleep, aside from the obvious, is that I am really good at it. By that I mean I can sleep anywhere at any time, regardless of light or noise, and I typically fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I even earned a reputation in college for loving to sleep (at parties!), and I function best when I get a lot of it, preferably 9 hours.

So imagine the irony that my most difficult life experience is teaching my babies to sleep. That's the oddest thing about sleep. Even though I'm the slumber champion, I could never begin to teach a course in it. "You just close your eyes! Duh!," I can picture myself saying to a room full of eager insomniacs (a good name for a band, incidentally).

I'm still in the midst of "training" baby #2, so I am not sure I'm ready yet to provide any insight. What I have learned about sleep training is that my babies train me, not the other way around. This observation sounds simple enough but has not come easily to me. Anyone who knows me well knows I am nearly obsessively organized. I pride myself on knowing where every object is in my house (assuming I and not my husband, Mr. Magoo, put the object away), and I love to schedule my days down to the hour. Case in point, Vivi's daily schedule, which I programmed down to the half-hour. While we don't always follow it, I like to have a plan.

Without further pontification, here is what little I have to offer on sleep training for babies. First, read this book, written by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a pediatrician and sleep training expert who runs a pediatric sleep clinic. I've liked other books too (Baby Whisperer, Baby Wise, and Dr. Sears are also good), but Dr. Weissbluth is specific while at the same time flexible, which you don't often find in parenting books.

Next, and perhaps more importantly, LET GO. Don't try to control your baby's sleep. Someone once wisely pointed out to me that you cannot force a child to eat, sleep, or use the potty. I think I was potty training Vivi at the time, so I was in need of a statement like this that would take the control out of my hands.

Lastly, you cannot do any permanent damage to infants by letting them cry. God demonstrated this fact to me by sending me Genevieve, one of world's premier colicky babies. There was no "letting" Vivi cry. I couldn't have prevented it if I wanted to. If there was one fortunate thing that came from that experience, it's that I now feel comfortable allowing Charlotte to cry occasionally when I am trying to let her sleep. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snow-prah Winfrey 2011

Here's an example of what could start to color my relationship with Boston. So far, I'm managing to look past it. But just so you know, snow is not always fluffy and white. Currently it's more of a mushy, gray consistency.

FYI, this video was taken prior to another foot being dumped on us. I was too downtrodden to bother getting out the camera again.

video

shiny happy people

Everyone is friendly here. Well, let me preface that by saying I did just happen to move from DC, which is pretty unfriendly by comparison. There never was a truer statement than the one made by JFK about DC in the early '60's: "Washington, DC is a place of Southern efficiency and Northern charm." This is still true today. Don't get me wrong, I love DC. I miss it and my friends every day. And for as much as it was loud and dirty and noisy and mean, it ain't got nothin' on New York. If you want to feel like a tiny fish in a giant, smelly pond, go to New York for a few days. Coming home to DC was like a peaceful paradise in comparison.

As I was saying, Bostonians seem very pleasant. If that weren't enough, every town has a "Pleasant Street" running through it,  just as every road in Atlanta is named Peachtree. How could a place called Beantown not be charming? I used to find the Boston accent irritating, but now I love it that everyone here sounds like one of the Car Talk guys. And I don't even really mind that it's boogers-freezing cold outside or that I have to drive around huge mountains of snow to try to find the one parking space left in my entire town that's half the size of my car. There's just something about it here that is so enchanting. It's like when you first start dating someone, and all their little quirks are adorable.

I must sheepishly admit I have not actually been into the city yet. But I am excited to report that we'll be getting a babysitter and traveling the whole 10 miles into Boston (sarcastic gasp!) for Nate's 30th birthday. That's right, the big 3-0. I am looking forward both to the night out and for the chance to put on my smug face now that Nate will no longer be able to hold it over me that he's in his 20's still and I'm not.

Once Boston and I have been dating a bit longer, I'll have to let you know if its personality begins to perturb me. For now, I'm enjoying the new love bliss.

p.s. One of my favorite comedians, Mike Birbiglia, is from Boston. There's an animated version of one of his old jokes with a bit about Boston here. I'm reading his book right now, which includes a few jokes about the city. Interestingly, I'm finding the book to be much deeper than I expected, and although I should be going to sleep early to catch up, I find myself staying up to read more.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Charlotte laughing

I could write about my lack of sleep. Or about the fact that my brand new mac is on the fritz. But instead, I'll post a cute video of Charlotte. Much more fun than listening to me rant.

video

Friday, February 11, 2011

the monster inside

When I shared the story of the mom who had rage over goldfish crackers, I promised to follow up with more later. I am reminded daily of that story while I struggle to find inner...and perhaps more importantly, outer...peace in a chaotic household. I have often been told how patient, calm, quiet, or even keel I am. Once asked to describe me, my partner in seventh grade Spanish class said "Luisa es aburrido;" translation: Louise (my middle name & alias in class) is boring. Not bored, boring. But I digress.

I take these normally complimentary remarks with a twinge of guilt because deep down I know the truth. I suppose it's true that very few people besides close friends and family have ever seen me lose my temper. Alas, the beast is there all the same, lying in wait for me to drop my guard. Often I am surprised to see it surface, as I usually pretend that I am impervious to anger. I am a hollow reed, I accept the things I cannot change, I'm rubber and you're glue.

The cause of my recent tirades is the same; for some reason or other I don't sleep one night, and following in quick succession, I endure a day with little or no napping by both of my children. Enter Genevieve, my brilliant but sly child, who seems to sense my weakness and decide she'd like to toy with me. I could relay the exact nature of her crimes, but that's really not the point, is it? The point is I snap and drag her to time out. And oh no, I never spank her, not because I think it's wrong but because I feel I can inflict more torture if I pray on her emotions, so I play mind games instead. I attempt to make her feel guilty for her behavior by telling her how sad or disappointed I am. And why am I so sad and disappointed, you might justifiably ask?

I'm actually not. If I could cool off before I hauled her to the corner of shame, I would see that I am in fact just tired and frustrated and looking for someone to take it out on. I would also see that I had just provided her the exact response she wanted. I got played. As my wise pediatrician puts it, "Attention, positive or negative, is toddler currency. When you give it to her, you pay out." Ca-ching!

This is where it gets funny. Even now I find myself chuckling a bit at her response. I call her my little sociopath, for as much as I squawk and moan and pull my hair out, she stays cool as a cucumber, never betraying a look of fear or regret, even smiling slightly at my insanity. God love her for her ability to shrug me off. I can only hope I will manage to quell my tidal wave of fury before I entwine us both in a permanent dance of anger. For now, I seek the wisdom of less emotional mothers out there, like this woman.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

under the gun

Vivi is a great eater. She's so great that I wish there were such a thing as a toddler eating contest. C'mon, she'd win every trophy! And yesterday's post should clue you in to the fact that she ain't winning a running trophy any time soon. Yeah yeah, I know, childhood obesity and all that. What-EVER. That's sooooo 2005. Lame.

Think I'm exaggerating? Yesterday for lunch I made her first ever adult-sized lunch meat sandwich. I'm not a huge fan of lunch meat (listeria, E. coli, and other public health-y reasons), but I bought it because it's a quick protein, and she seems to be really hungry at lunch. Anywho, the sandwich had 2 pieces of turkey, 4 pieces of salami, cheese, lettuce, and mayo (gag), and my plan was to serve her half of it and save the other half for today. She not only ate the entire sandwich, crusts and all, but she finished it before me and proceeded to ask me if she could have some of mine. During the meal, she periodically would say "Mommy, what IS this called? This is a GOOD lunch!"

Still not convinced? She doesn't like, but LOVES, adores, can't wait to eat Nate's green olives stuffed with...get this...anchovies. You can't even get a green olive near me, let alone after stuffing it with a disgusting fish. And don't even get me started on the jalepeno marinated sardines. This brings me to my favorite story to tell about Nate.

On our second date, Nate counted the appetizer and then apportioned out how many each of us could eat. I'd like to play the role of Captain Obvious and point out that no single lady on a second date would consider scarfing down more than her share of the appetizer (except perhaps my daughter), not to mention the fact that we were at something like a Macaroni Grill, so I had more than my share of pasta on its way to me. Ha! I always follow this story by saying he is lucky we had such a first date, or I might not be writing this post today. Like father, like daughter.

So all of this occurred to me this morning, as I was standing hunched in a corner of the kitchen quickly consuming my breakfast. I actually found myself trying not to make a sound in the hopes that Vivi wouldn't come running into the kitchen to request her own bowl of my expensive adult cereal, despite the fact that she had just eaten her own breakfast. And I had to laugh at my own ridiculousness! But there's one thing I've learned. In my family, it's survival of the hungriest.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

holding my breath

My child, much like myself, is clumsy.

exhibit a. Black eye from recent coffee table run-in.



exhibit b. Video of me attempting to give Charlotte some tummy time while Vivi plays close by.

video


I am convinced at some point in the near future Vivi is going to fall on, kick, or somehow bludgeon poor little Charlotte, but I try not to lurk or meddle too much in their interactions. I want so badly to shout "Be careful Vivi!," but I hold my tongue so as to avoid becoming one of those moms.

A week ago we took Vivi sledding, which was great fun. Charlotte and I spectated at the top of the hill, and another family to our left caught my eye. It was a father and his two little girls, four and six years old by my guess. Dad was deep in conversation with some friends he had run into, and meanwhile his precious girls were whooshing down the hill at considerable speed on a skinny plastic toboggan and having a blast doing it. They would frequently wipe out, at which point they would brush off the snow and turn around to trudge up the hill again, dragging the sled behind them. After his friends left, I struck up a conversation.

"You're daughters are brave!"

"Yeah, they'ah feahh-less."

"You must be worried about letting them sled on their own," I pried. He told me that the younger girl is just finally learning at 4 to look up the hill for oncoming sledders, but there are still many close calls. I asked additional questions to try to learn how this man could be so glib about such a dangerous situation, but then he said something that made me pause.

"At some point you just gotta let 'em go and hold yeh breath."

How right he is. I can creep and skulk around after Vivi in hopes to avoid any future collisions, teaching her only to rely on my lurking and doubt her abilities even more, or I can recognize that my best hope of teaching her motor skills is to back off and let her fall. So, I'm holding my breath a lot these days.

Thanks, Bostonian guy.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

A top 5 list...

As a die-hard John Cusack fan, I love a good turn-of-the-century Cusack pop culture reference. Hence today's "Top 5" list. One thing I have noticed when I am up in the middle of the night with my screaming baby is that it gives me a lot of time to think. And what was I thinking about the other night, you might ask? Why, the Top 5 difficult things I have experienced in my life, of course! Here they are in very particular, countdown-to-the-top order:

5. The "bridge accident," my not-so-near-death experience (a crew thing)

4. Potty training my toddler

3. Erging a 2k test (another crew thing)

2. Natural childbirth

1. Sleep training my babies!

There are other experiences that could have made the list. The death of my favorite cousin Clay is an experience none of my family will ever fully get over, and I felt it unfair to compare it to anything else I have been through. Then there are the experiences I've had overseas (using a rural "bathroom" in Kenya, trying to find a store to purchase a pillow in the UK, nearly running out of gas in Scotland, looking for my hotel room in Venice, etc....), but that's another list for another day. I've got tons of husband-related items too, but they're just more run of the mill, garden-variety, banal bitching comments. Ultimately I decided that to make the list, I had to say to myself in the moment of the experience, "This CAN'T be happening to me." A little pain also helped move a few up the list.

When I figure out #1 on the list, I'll let you know. I'm rooting for the sleep training story to turn out to be a comedy, but today I'd have to say it's a tragedy. I'll say this much...raising babies is not for the faint of heart.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Vivi singing

(N.B. If you are viewing this on Facebook, you have to go to my blog post to see videos! Click "original post").

Aunt Katie and Uncle Jason sent Vivi and Charlotte a great book in which they recorded their voices reading stories. Vivi loves it! Here she is singing "Itsy bitsy spider" and listening to other stories. Don't ask me why she holds her arms like that in the video. She doesn't normally do that. Maybe she was hamming for the camera. I make a cameo appearance in my general housewife wardrobe, last night's pajamas.

video

A new life's resolution

I've done it. I made a choice to stay home with the girls until at least this fall. Ok, so maybe it doesn't sound as monumental once I write it down, but you wouldn't have thought so based on the way I agonized over the decision. And the result? I'm having fun! Vivi is a riot, and Charlotte is as serene as they come--she provides our daily reminder to relax and enjoy life's simple pleasures. A typical day doesn't include much more than a couple of wardrobe changes, meals, and a nap here or there, but somehow it's enough to keep me happy...for now.

And I admit, there are moments in my day where I feel like this woman, who yelled at her kids after they ate goldfish crackers she had willingly served them (more on that later). As in any job, there are always times when I feel like the only grown-up in the room...except this time I actually am. Just as often, I think I might be behaving like the biggest baby. But I try to remember how precious and short this time will be when they are babies who rely on me for loving care and guidance. All too soon I will send them into the world to live their lives apart from me, so for now I am enjoying the closeness we share.

My friend Caroline, also the mom of an infant, showed me this great website from which the link above comes. It's called the "Momoir Project" and offers a place for moms to take writing classes and post stories about raising their children. The thing I miss most while staying home with the girls, apart from daily grooming of course, is having an outlet for creative thinking, constructive adult conversations, and even mindless chatter. So I'm going to take Caroline's suggestion and try writing. Along with private journaling, I'll also use my blog when I've got something creative, constructive...and often mindless...to say. And maybe I'll even post a picture or two. I hope you enjoy it, whoever you are.

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