First week down, about 13 years to go


Lola’s first day of kindergarten.

It all went well. We got there early. Which wasn’t the best idea actually, because it meant we had to stand longer in a crowded, sweaty gym waiting for the whole ribbon cutting thing (this is the school’s first year at this location.) I was super hot and impatient. All the other parents were reverent, and I was totally whining and rolling my eyes. And then again it hit me, like when Lola’s 4K teacher told me she was “emotionally immature and doesn’t take direction well.” I am not a good example!

Parents cried. And gave me weird looks when I was just relieved to be finally getting out of there. Lola was happy and excited, I was late for work, and I just didn’t feel terribly emotional. And then I felt like a broken mom because of it.

Corbin cried though. Because he wanted to stay too. He kept incorrectly saying “best day of school” instead of “first” day of school. So when he found out we had to leave there was a lot of sadness. “I want my best day of school ever!” Aw.

When I went to pick Lola up, I was a little more maternal. Standing waiting for her to come out, I had a little more time to ponder the milestone. I can’t believe how big she is. What happened to this girl?:

She came out with her teacher. She was happy but dead tired. Same the next day. Happy but tired at pickup. (Same the next day at drop off too, with Corbin insisting that he stay for his best day of school ever.) By the end of day three she told Brian she doesn’t like school anymore. And my heart sank. I hope it’s just that it’s an adjustment for her, and she’ll come around. Because I’m looking forward to this journey with her (I’m also wracked with anxiety, don’t get me wrong.) I want her to make good friends and enjoy learning. So great, another thing to stress about. Because let me tell you, I’m stressed.

I’m so afraid that we are going to be bad at this and everyone’s going to know I’m not a great mom. I already feel like her teacher knows I’m a basket case. I’m already That Mom! Ugh. I don’t know, honestly, whether my craziness and ineptitude shows through already, or if I just THINK it does. I hope I’ll get a better handle on it. I want to be the good mom with the good kid!

And I want Lola to like school and make good friends. I think she will.


Wednesdays are back y’all.

I’ve been meaning to add a Wednesdays post. I never post anymore and these Wednesdays posts are a good way for me to continue to keep the occasional snapshot of our life. But this Wednesday, while busy, was super snoozy from a blogging perspective. I’m gonna just go ahead anyway.

Corbin slept in! Well, I mean he got up at like five like usual, but he came into my bed and instead of demanding “breakfast bar!” and insisting I get up, he fell back to sleep. Now, he slept in such a manner that I didn’t actually get much more sleep. And really, I’ve been waking up at five for the last 2 1/2 years so I can’t usually sleep in anymore. But still. πŸ™‚

When we finally get up at like 6:30, Lola joins us shortly, and I offer to make pancakes. And what does Corbin say? “No! Breakfast bar!” My kids! They hate homemade things! I’m not even a bad cook, to be honest. I don’t LIKE to cook, but I’ve discovered I’m pretty ok at it. But no. Homemade applesauce? Gross. We only like apple sauce that comes in squeezable pouches. What about homemade applesauce in squeezable pouches? No. They can tell the damn difference. Just one small example. But Lola eats my pancakes. And then demands “a Tum.”

My kids think Tums are candy. One day I gave Lola one because she was complaining so much about her stomach hurting. And then of course shortly after I found Corbin in the bathroom with Tums all over the floor saying “canny, I want canny.” Now Lola asks for one like every day. “My stomach hurts. I need a Tum,” in a whiney, pathetic voice. I can’t decide if this is just a thing now, or if I should be asking her Dr about this.

Every Tuesday night I swear to myself that I’m going to wake up Wednesday and hit the ground running. Get up, get ready, get the kids ready, just like a work day, and I’ll get so much done! Today, in particular we have to grocery shop, clean the house, and do it all early because I want to take Lola to a county fair. Currently it’s 8:15, and all I’ve accomplished is breakfast and kicking the ass of Bubble Witch on my iPad. We are all in jammies, I haven’t even washed my face.

So I thought since Corbin slept in he would be in a particularly good mood today. That would be incorrect. He’s a particular little shit today. But we finally make it out the door and make it through grocery shopping ok. And since bribery is a-okay by me as long as it works, and the kids are actually pretty good at the store, I let them share some skittles. (With each other and with me because I love skittles.) And then I realize I don’t have my debit card (again! This happened to me the other day! I’m such a loser!) So now I’m having a little flip out in the checkout line. The man behind me is lightly admonishing my kids for eating skittles off the floor, and I’m pretending not to notice they’re doing it (because I don’t want him to judge me for the fact that if I DID notice I wouldn’t actually care,) while I try to figure out what to do. We have to go home and come back. Fine. Y’all don’t take IOUs then? Fine.

I then make the mistake of asking the kids whether they’d like to drive past the horses or the airplanes on the way home (a farm or a small airport.) It’s clearly a split decision. Involving yelling (loving this “NO!!!!” phase with Corbin, btw.) And then I realize that’s no prob, because we not only have to drive home from the store, we have to drive right back to the store, and then back home again. I love that seeing horses or planes out the car window is like a big to-do. Can you tell that my kids don’t have a real fancy lifestyle? Lol.

Now, generally I am as annoyed as anyone by my kids fighting in the backseat. When Lola’s in manic mode and won’t leave her brother alone, and he’s screaming his head off while I try and navigate construction traffic- that sucks. But once in a while, when it’s just hilariously over-dramatic arguing about whether that’s a horse or a pony and whether or not Corbin actually saw a motorcycle or just said he did, minus the high pitched screeching, I just find it pretty funny. This one ends in “Corbin you smell like dump!” as we drive by the yard waste place with the windows down. I probably shouldn’t have laughed out loud at that.

This is getting long, so I’m going to skip to the rodeo. πŸ™‚

I had been kind of wanting to take Lola to a rodeo, mostly because I wanted to go to a rodeo. But I sort of sidelined that because none of the options seemed both fun and affordable. And then as we looked at the horses at the state and county fairs, she said “I wish I could see a cowboy riding one.” And I said, welllll…there’s this thing called a rodeo….

And then I saw that a county fair about an hour away, that I’d never been to but always heard was nice, was having a rodeo. And so we go. First we enjoy a bit of the fair. Meaning I eat Hot Wisconsin cheddar nuggets and check out the craft and agriculture buildings. Because those are my favorite parts. And Lola rides overpriced rides and plays an overpriced game, eats cheese fries, and refuses to even TRY a funnel cake. Wtf!? It’s fried dough with powdered sugar on it. She would eat powdered sugar off a spoon. But not off deep fried deliciousness? We settle on a caramel apple, no nuts, and head to the arena to find a seat.

When the main event finally gets started, she’s a little….troubled. By the violently bucking animals and cowboys being jerked around like rag dolls. And I realize, we didn’t actually talk specifics about what a rodeo involves. And it’s sort of like when I took her to see Epic, and she kept telling me it was scary, but when I asked if she wanted to leave, she said no she was enjoying herself. She loves the barrel racing though. And the drill horses with “sparkly hair and sparkly butts” (these things are COVERED in glitter glue or something.)

We have to leave a bit early because it’s late and she’s cold. But we have a really nice time.

When we get back to the car she tells me not to roll the windows down because it’s nighttime. This from the girl who is always asking me, to my constant devastation, when we are going to have a jeep again. I say, “Lola what if we had a jeep right now with the top down? I loved driving the jeep with the top down at nighttime. I can’t think of hardly anything I like better.” And she has a very well-reasoned response, “well, I like unicorns better.” So there.

About halfway home she tells me she loves me “as much as grandma.” So I guess she enjoyed the rodeo. And we both ride home, sticky with caramel. You try eating a caramel apple with no nuts on it!

Mornings These Days

Early on, I wrote a post about mornings with my kids. Corbin was just a baby then! Who would lie on the bathroom rug and be delightful while I did my hair and makeup.

How things have changed!

Mornings these days start even earlier. Around 4am most days, actually. That’s when Corbin comes to my room, usually wanting to either eat or play on my iPad. Both of these things are my fault, because when he began this fun new 4ish am wake up time, I first tried to catch some extra sleep by handing him my iPad (that didn’t work because every two minutes I’d hear a desperate plea for “help-y!” because he couldn’t figure out how to play candy crush or whatever) or giving him some food and turning on a cartoon.

I realized that giving him games, food, and cartoons was not really deterring him from waking up so early, so I’ve stopped those things. But he still comes to my room. And sometimes I walk him back to bed, find his pacifier, and hope he goes back to sleep. And sometimes I’m too tired and just pull him into bed with me hoping he’ll fall back to sleep (it always worked on the other kid!) He doesn’t. He just squirms around until I can’t take it and I either get up with him or walk him back to bed. And SOMETIMES (a large portion of the times) I poke Brian and say “hey Baby will you put Corbin back to bed?” Which isn’t fair because he inevitably went to bed way later than I did, but he’s like a sorcerer with getting that kid back to sleep!

Either way, by 5:15 I have to get up and start getting ready for the day. And Corbin is no longer content to lie on the bathroom rug and giggle. Usually I can keep him happy with breakfast and Disney Jr. At least while I get my hair done. But somewhere around the liquid eyeliner portion of the morning, he’s inevitably whining at me and/or making a big mess in the bathroom. And it’s hard to concentrate on eyeliner when he can only reach the HOT water handle, but still insists on playing in the sink.

This morning was kind of odd in that they both got up at the same moment. And it was pretty cute to have two sleepy kids standing in the bathroom doorway with crazy bed head and squinty eyes, the whole house dark except the bright lights in the bathroom as I try to slap some pretty on this face.

Then the whirlwind starts. I have to tell Lola roughly 87 times to “get dressed, already!” And I have to get Corbin ready. He is delightfully still kind of a morning person, and he laughs when I get him dressed. Then stands up, gives me a hug and tells me, “thank you, mommy.” Aw.

Everybody’s gotta eat, I have to prepare my glass of iced coffee, which gets larger and stronger as the days go on, lunches have to be packed, Lola STILL has to get her damn sweater on, etc., etc. It’s usually around this time when I start looking forward to that ten minutes alone in the car as I drive to work after I drop them off. Seriously, about halfway through the morning I’m like, “it’s so close!” Lol. And then almost every morning, I look at the clock and say, “everybody get your shoes and coats on, we’re running late!” Lola has to be first out the door. Today she holds it for the rest of us instead of me having to stop it at the last second before it crushes her little brother’s fingers. He says, “thank you, whoa-why.” Lorelai’s a mouthful for the little ones.

And on the good mornings they don’t fight and scream in the car. Lola keeps her hands to herself, and Corbin doesn’t pull everything out of his lunchbox, and we listen to music and/or sing. Anyone heard of a little number called “Let it Go”? Well my kids pretty much know all the words at this point. But since we don’t own the movie (though I’m petty sure the Easter bunny will have something to say about that) or the soundtrack, it’s more of an a Capella trio kind of version. And let me tell you, it is AWFUL. But what we lack in singing ability, we definitely make up for in volume and enthusiasm.

Other mornings Lola wants to listen to the same song on CD over and over and over again. This morning it was an old Cyndi Thomson song called “I Always Liked That Best.” And she asks me, “how do you sound just like her?” Oh, Lola. Her other favorites are Wagon Wheel and a handful of Luke Bryan songs. By the way, can anyone give me some input on whether or not it’s okay that my five year old happily sings the line, “you’re looking so damn hot”? I thought country music was pretty safe, but maybe no? Thankfully she hasn’t quite figured out what he’s saying during the “gonna sound like a winner when I lay you down and love you right” bit.

Usually we get about three or four rounds of whatever song in, and by the fourth “again! Again!” we are blessedly pulling into the parking lot. Then Lola takes her usual two to four minutes getting out of the car (how does anyone take that long getting in and out of a car!?), and we all hurry in. I’m so grateful that my kids like this place. They rush in to start their day. I get happy goodbyes. No drama.

And then I get a full ten minutes of time alone. And it’s just as good as I’ve been anticipating.

Just a little update

Yay! I can access my blog again! I hope it sticks; I was panicking!

Corbin’s ear tube surgery went like this:

His surgery was done at the hospital where I work. But I had never been to the pediatric inpatient department. It’s an odd mix of adorable and disconcerting. Little hospital gowns with spaceships on them! Teeny tiny blood pressure cuff! Adorable! They even had little tiny versions of the non-skid hospital slipper socks. I joked that his stuff should all be yellow (for fall risk patients) because he definitely has a history of falls. Hee hee, hospital humor.
But at the same time, little kids + all this medical stuff = disconcerting. I was very glad we were just there for a simple, voluntary procedure.

It was a long morning, and he was not a happy camper coming out of anesthesia. But by that afternoon he was back to his usual self. I think he is definitely hearing better. Hoping to make some progress on the speech before too long. πŸ™‚

Having Lola gone to Florida went like this:

(Imagine a photo of me sobbing uncontrollably. I was too upset to take pictures.) Though, right about when she was getting ready to come home, I was calming down and getting used to it and remembering how easy it was to have only one kid. I was glad to have her back, though.

You know who else is glad to have her back?

Or, well, he’s SOMETIMES glad.

Here are a couple more photos that I took yesterday:
Crystal Light and generic Apple Jacks is a totally nutritious snack, right? :

I had set Lola up with some stickers and markers and stuff, and she seemed to be enjoying her independent craft time while I did some cleaning. And I was feeling pretty pleased about how it was what I imagine the “good” households are like. And then I walked back into the kitchen to find this:

Is it inappropriate that I smiled and took pictures instead of disciplining? They’re washable markers. Except, for some reason they didn’t wash off of her belly that well. Leading Brian to panic a little when dressing her for bed that night. Which, really Baby? You thought she had some sort of condition that caused a faded purple spiral doodle to appear on her belly?

Here is one of my favorite parts of every week:
Lola getting all excited while helping with the groceries. “NEW PRETZELS!?!”

Lastly, here is my confession for the day:
I was cleaning under the couch (a VERY frustrating, never ending chore. Stupid hardwood floors.) and found a ball (they ALL end up under there!) that belongs to a toy set that I had packed away in the basement. And instead of reuniting it with its toy family, I just rolled it far enough under the couch that no one would ever see it. Hey, it’s better than when I eat the old, found fruit loop. What, too far?

My Daydreams and My Actual Life

While I was pregnant with Lola, back when I was 25 and still thought my life would work out just about like I planned, I had beautiful visions of all this motherhood stuff. Of course, reality confronted me very shortly after that. And reality was not only rude, but relentless.

But in my head, my daughter wore organic cotton, hand embroidered peasant tops and vintage pinafores. Paired, whimsically, with red cowboy boots to keep it young and fun. In reality, my children wear Kohl’s clearance and rummage sale finds. They look adorable in it all, of course. And I have a wonderful life and a wonderful family.
Sometimes I sit in my living room at night by myself, and I just feel such contentment in that quiet moment of looking around at the evidence of my life. And then sometimes I stumble on some fabulous thing on the internet, or in a magazine, and I start coveting beautiful, expensive stuff. And I have a brief, self indulgent period of mourning the life that I imagine.
But the fact remains that I don’t have the money, time, or talent for my actual life to in any way resemble the exquisite, lace-trimmed life of my daydreams.

Let me see if a can better illustrate this for y’all.

Baking with my daughter
In my daydreams, we wear beautiful aprons in gorgeous prints with ruffles. Our bakeware is all lovely high end stuff. We set out our ingredients in pretty bowls before we start. It looks a little like this:

In my actual life, my tiny kitchen is a huge mess. We wear simple, hand me down aprons. And I spend way too much time getting frustrated at Lola for dipping her fingers in everything while she demands more sugar. It looks more like this:

My kids’ clothes
In my daydreams, the fibers are natural, the construction is quality, the setting is always a field. Clearly I’m not the only one with this vision; there are so many incredible examples of what I’m talking about here that I don’t even know where to start narrowing it down. Here are a couple:

In my actual life, it’s mostly the aforementioned clearance and rummage sale stuff. Which I don’t even buy, because my mom usually does, lol:

My kids’ toys
In my daydreams, they play with the most adorable handmade toys. They are all creative and none of them have batteries. And they entertain my kids quietly while expanding their academic and emotional intelligence. Such as:

In my actual life… This picture speaks a thousand words:

Parties and gatherings
In my daydreams, every event is well planned. The themes are lovely without being too cartoonish. The food and drink is perfect. And the dessert table is a work of art. Something like these:

In my actual life, not only can I not afford that, or anything close to it, but my kids have Winter birthdays and I have a tiny house. Plus I’ve gotta do it all myself while working full time. We end up with this:

The pantry
In my daydreams, I grow organic produce, and buy more at the farmers market, and I preserve it myself. Then I store it beautifully:

In my actual life, my pantry is full of run-of-the-mill groceries that are regularly dumped out by a certain little boy I know:

Furnishings and decor
In my daydreams, Anthropologie:
World Market:

In my actual life, Shopko:
Random Hodgepodge:
Brian and Stephanie original:

In my daydreams, we take wonderful weekend vacations, and on the other weekends, we visit fun, kid friendly places we’ve never been to:

In my actual life, we try to do some neat things. But most of the time, Brian works all weekend, and the kids and I hang out at home doing nothing special while I try in vain to catch up on things:

Come on! Those daydreams of mine are pretty enchanting!

I could go on and on. I’m not sure where this pressing desire for fancy stuff comes from. I was raised by humble women. My mother, who could certainly afford it, would be ASHAMED to pay 24 dollars for a single dessert plate. Yet, here I am, coveting all these Park Slope yuppie-mom treasures. I never ever pull the trigger though. And usually that urge to have, say, a closet full of charming hostess gifts and impeccable gift wrapping supplies goes away for a long stretch. And I get back to living my actual life, which is pretty exquisite in its own ways. Even if it is composed primarily of brightly colored plastic.


– The kids are very trying today right from go. What with this being The Year That Winter Arrived Late, I blame it on a prolonged cabin fever period. Mostly so that I don’t have to waste too much energy blaming it on myself. I just can’t take that today.

– Brian has been doing that oh-so-hip “what’s that on your shirt?” thing with Lola. Where then you like poke the person in the face or whatever. I hope you know what I’m talking about because I don’t know how the hell to describe it. Anyway, she’s not as slick. She just says to me, “Hey, look down!” Then does it. Followed by, “Do you want me to do that again?” Well of COURSE I do, sweetheart! Who wouldn’t!?

– Corbin’s ENT visit is today. This speech delay business is for. The. Birds. Everyone I talk to tells me something different and I feel so frustrated by it all. Today we paid another $40 copay (after $160 on last week’s appointments) just to hear that I need to see, yet again, someone else. (Our audiologist appointment is next Wednesday.) But not before spending 50 minutes in a waiting room with my cranky one year old. Come on, doctors! I can accept that you can’t keep from making a one year old wait for an hour, but porcelain tchotchkes on low tables!? Really!? In the end, my only relief is to allow Corbin to turn the screen on my phone on and off while listening to it beep. When I am finally distracted by the Dr, he starts putting it in his mouth, and I am VERY grateful to notice early, because the whole reason I have this junk phone I hate is because he drooled on my other one and it was irreparable.

– The revolving door of kids’ appointments continues with Lola’s first trip to the dentist. Yes, her first one; I’m the worst. Thank GOD this is a pediatric practice. Kid friendly waiting room! They tell me they want to take her back by herself which, on the one hand, I can just chill for a bit and flip through a magazine. But it’s hard to relax, because I keep hearing muffled cries and wondering if that’s my kid.

Lola, it turns out, was a superstar. Her parents, on the other hand, are abject and total failures. She has cavities. I have all I can do not to cry from shame right there in the dentist’s office. And that’s BEFORE they tell me it’s going to cost about four hundred dollars.

– Later, on the way to the grocery store, I have to stop at the bank. And since I have a very special talent for always picking the slowest moving drive thru, I get lots of time to think about financial issues. I’m trying so hard to keep us on financial track, and it feels like it just gets harder. And as I try to estimate how much a hearing test and ear tube surgery will cost, I just feel like we’re never going to get to a stable place. Every time I do the math, all I come up with is that childcare costs and medical bills will never equal an amount we can actually afford.

– So basically I’m crabby. And then I notice the personalized license plate of the guy in front of me. It says “MIDLYF”. Since the car is red (well, maroon, but still) and a convertible, I can only assume this is a reference to this being a midlife crisis car. And all I can think is, “Who the hell has a Toyota as a midlife crisis car!?” Seriously, I don’t care how sporty you think this particular Toyota is, it takes a special kind of lame and boring to call this your midlife crisis car. But then, it is also most likely someone with a very responsible financial stability. I’m honestly not sure which one of us I want to be.

– The grocery store is cheering me up a little (now who’s lame and boring!?! TouchΓ©.) There’s a cute kid with a press on mustache. And a guy who looks about 20 dropping groceries left and right because he’s probably much too cool for a cart. It makes me laugh. And as I check out, with my target budget this week of $85 in my head, I watch the total creep up and up. And I stand there stressing, thinking we probably didn’t need the BIG jar of peanut butter or the yogurt puffs. But then she starts ringing the coupons. And all the hassle of those things (“should I buy the name brand cereal if it comes with a free gallon of milk?” “Is the expiration date on the milk far enough out for us to actually drink the whole thing?” “What is the actual difference in price per ounce for this brand with a coupon vs. the generic?”) pays off when I ring up at $84.76. πŸ™‚

– So I’m feeling pretty good. But I should know better. I go to check the time on my cell phone. It’s ruined. Probably water damage again from Corbin’s drool. And now? I quit. Can I please quit? This whole being an adult thing? Or at least the getting by on a very limited income part of it? I just keep failing at it and I’d like to quit now. But then I’ve got Coach Taylor in my head* talking to Matt Saracen:
You know how many people depend on you to make good decisions? You better stop being so damn selfish and stop feeling sorry for yourself!

– Do you know who couldn’t care less about financial issues? Lola. She’s just excited to unload the groceries. And when I hear her squeal with delight, I turn around to see her hugging, of all things, a can of olives. With the happiest face in the world on. And I laugh like a crazy person.

– so I’m finding the bright side, though. Because that’s a thing I’m trying to do more often. And…all this stress about money leaves me with no mental energy to get down on myself about never having time to clean and organize my house properly! So, yay. Also! Lola ate her dinner tonight! Even the pork! You have NO IDEA what a big deal that was!

*I suspect Eric and Tami Taylor will be in my head a lot these days. Not least because:
Ok, you might need the full awesome, man-molding, wife-supporting, daughter-cherishing, upstanding, character-inspiring Coach Taylor experience to fully appreciate the picture.
But also, they are just the kind of people I wish I was.

Okay, maybe ONE thing’s better.

I’ve said it in the past: people tell you that your kids getting older just gets better and better. And I never really believe them. (In fact, I think there are a lot of little lies surrounding parenting that people continually spout hoping they’ll be true.)

Well, yesteray my four year old was my personal lotioner. Yup, I got out of the shower and she put lotion on me while I plucked my eyebrows and put product in my hair and etc. It was kind of awesome! I was running late, so I would have probably skipped lotion otherwise. Now, she has her own methods that are a little …unorthodox. She insisted on lotioning up my belly button pretty well, for instance. But still. Kind of a fun part of the growing kids thing. Now just wait until they’re old enough for my husband and me to go see a movie, and I might just be singing the praises of how much better it is with older kids.

But I doubt it, because I just ran across this picture:
And about curled up on the floor and cried. Not because I look like that (give me a break, I was minutes out of a med free L&D.) but because I don’t want to be done with that!!!

And since I got an adaptor that allows me to easily put photos on my iPad, here is some more evidence of what a lucky lady I am.