Sunday, September 22, 2013

A plague on both your houses

A plague on both your houses

We're all just getting over a horrid ten-day cold of doom and I'm shaking in my metaphorical boots at the thought that this is probably only the first of many plagues Nico will bring home from preschool. I was so miserably stuffy that I risked taking Sudafed three nights in a row and I opened a Crappy Day Present. Poor Elliott got it the worst, which is extra unfair since he's too young for cold medicine. Plus, I was pissed that my exclusively-breastfed baby got sick at all. Isn't that supposed to be one of the benefits, that they don't get sick or don't get as sick? And oh, y'all, he was pitiful. There were many days that he was too stuffed-up to nurse, and even cruel torture with the Nosefrida didn't help. He spent most nights sleeping in his infant-to-toddler rocker beside the bed because if I laid him flat in his crib he'd wake up coughing and crying after only a few hours. He still woke up, but at least he didn't get quite so clogged up. In the early stages he was afflicted with the dreaded cough-barfs, too. But even with his poor nose stopped up and his little throat all rattly, he'd still light up and beam at me when I walked into the room. Oh, baby boy. Killing me with sweetness.

This other guy is pretty sweet, too, especially to his baby brother. I'm sure there will be times in the years ahead when two kids absolutely kicks my ass, but right now I could not be happier or feel more blessed. They are such a gift.

Preschool appears to be going very well so far. We're two weeks in and Nico is happy to go each morning. When I asked him how school was this past Thursday he said, "It was GREAT!" so I'm counting that as a win. I hesitate to say anything lest I jinx it, but he already seems more inclined to pick up his toys at home than he did before school started, so big win for preschool right there. Nico also got to hang out with his good friend Nathan at a party Saturday night with my old-job coworkers. The boys played so well together…it was awesome. It was kind of cool seeing all those people. It's hard to believe I've been gone from that job nearly two and a half years now.

Current-work is going really well, but the crazy-busy time of the year is upon us. For whatever reason, October is always the most insane month. It's ramping up fast and I find myself scrambling to get things done, leaving the office a little bit late, making notes in my phone as I lie in bed at night…it's getting a little bit ugly. Part of it is that the replacement for my supervisor hasn't been hired yet, so I'm still doing a job and a half. I'm supposed to finally be getting a raise on my next paycheck, so once that happens it'll feel worth it. And it is work that I'm good at and enjoy, but man…it's kicking my ass a bit. On the bright side, the next month is going to fly by. We have a few family adventures planned for the weekends along the way, so that should help (and hopefully won't add to the stress too much).

I debated whether or not to tell you guys about this next thing just because I try not to put too many obviously-identifiable things here. It's not that I'm too worried about a curious blog reader finding out my real name…I'm more worried that a bored real-life person will google me and this blog will pop up. That would ruin my day but good. I think I can do it without being too traceable, and it's just too crazy of a thing not to share. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, it's old news anyway. But it's probably the singularly most weird thing that has ever happened to me, at work or otherwise.

I do educational nature programming at work, and as a part of this we keep some reptiles. We recently obtained a new snake and I moved her into my office from my boss's office two weekends ago so that I'd have her for a program on Tuesday morning. She did her meet-and-greet that morning, and when I left Tuesday at the end of the day, she was safely stowed (so I thought) in a latch-top tote with her little water bowl and hidey-log. She'd been happily living in said tote for several weeks so I left without a second thought. The next morning I came to work, dropped my bags, sat down, glanced at the floor, and saw this:

I can honestly tell you it didn't scare me. I did have a few moments of dog-head-tilt while I tried to figure out what the hell I was looking at. Then I'm pretty sure my eyes bugged out in amazement that this had happened. My next thought was thank goodness she didn't get out of the building, because I'd have been in so much trouble if I'd lost her. My boss was having a meeting in the next office and my officemate was gone for the morning, so I couldn't even say anything. I snapped a picture with my phone and posted it to Twitter and my personal facebook with the message "I guarantee this has never happened to you at work." Once the boss's guest was gone, I showed everyone in the office. One of my coworkers put my picture up on our work facebook page and within about an hour, one of the local news stations called to see if they could come by and interview us about it. Meanwhile, the facebook post was going viral…it ended up getting more than 40,000 views. It went viral so fast that facebook called us and tried to sell us some ads. Our fifteen minutes of internet fame! Freaking surreal.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

since you've been gone

since you've been gone

While I'm sure you were all utterly captivated by my scintillating monthly to-do list, I didn't intend to leave that up as the top post for this long. I had a holiday weekend post sitting in drafts that I just flat-out forgot to finish and now it feels a little late for it, but I also don't want to delete it all, so here's a mishmash.

holiday weekend

We ended up with no plans on Saturday of the holiday weekend and used the opportunity to get some errands done. It wasn't the most relaxing thing we could've done, but it wasn't bad. It was too hot to do anything other than hang out inside or move from indoor location to indoor location, so our options for fun would've been limited anyway. MB wanted to get a pair of casual shoes (I hate calling them tennis shoes since we don't play tennis, and I also hate the word sneakers.) since his actual running shoes / trainers died a while back and he only had his huge heavy work boots to wear. I decided since my trainers date back to before I was pregnant with Elliott and have holes in them, I should probably look for a pair, too. I usually buy expensive Saucony shoes from the running store because I'm prone to shin splints at the gym, but since I'm not going to the gym right now I decided to scale down and just buy some comfortable bargain version trainers. I'm sure this will sound like blasphemy to some people, but I don't really care about shoes. It would be nice to have cute shoes or sassy shoes or cool shoes but I have wide feet and toe problems, so I'm pretty much limited to the very few options that fit my feet correctly. Since having my babies, any amount of heel is too much heel. In typical man-shopping fashion, MB found, tried on, and bought one pair of shoes. I tried on three pairs. The pair I liked best didn't fit, the pair I liked second-best wasn't that cute once it was on, and the pair I liked third-best ended up being just fine so I bought those. Nico has two pairs of brand-new shoes in his closet that I had bought on clearance so I'd told him he could look but not buy. But then MB let him try on kid shoes to pass the time while I was trying on my shoes, and we ended up buying him a pair of terribly tacky but somewhat hilariously cute Lightning McQueen shoes. They didn't have a price tag on the box, so we went with the "how expensive could they possibly be?" strategy. We're now afraid to look at the receipt.

Interesting factoid: Nico has never actually watched Cars. We bought the DVD for him shortly after Elliott was born, but it was a little too intense / talky for him and he only got about 20 minutes into it before asking us to turn it off. He loves all the characters, however, thanks to the ubiquitous Disney / Pixar marketing machine. We managed to resist it until he was about three, but he now has Cars stickers, toys, dishes, pajamas, underpants, a Cars backpack, a Lightning McQueen camping chair, and (thanks to clearance rack luck and Goodwill) several Cars T-shirts. Good thing we like Pixar, I guess.

Poor Elliott got diapers and wipes and no shoes at all. I did buy him this adorable T-shirt at Target, though, since it's awesome and Nico would never agree to wear it due to a complete lack of vehicles:

On Sunday we went to a cookout at my cousin's house. Nico got to run around in the yard with my cousins' kids and while he definitely still has some learning to do when it comes to how to play with other children, I'm so happy that he's trying now.

On Monday we did our third annual theme park visit with my friend Julia's family and it was awesome. Nico was eager to go on rides with and without his buddy Nathan and he looooved the water park. I couldn't convince him to try the big kid slides, but once MB decided to join us in the pool I think they were on the slides together about 30 seconds later. They rode the slides nonstop for at least an hour. Nico's favorite thing overall was the antique car ride, just like the past two years. Elliott got to spend the whole day being spoiled by the grandparents and while I missed him, I was glad we decided not to take him with was so hot. Luckily for me, the park added a really swanky nursing room this year. It had air conditioning, rocking chairs, free lockers for breast pumps, a sink, and even a mini fridge for milk. It was fabulous.

Gigantic three-year-old ahoy!

Just because I feel like getting a little teary, let's compare this to Nico of two years ago:

shopping interlude

After a very, very long time away I went to Goodwill this past Sunday with evilducky. This is unheard of, but I found three pairs of jeans (three!) and a pair of cords for myself. I also got a good handful of shirts for Nico, three pairs of nice Nico pants without the knees already half worn through, a pair of Chucks for Nico to grow into, and a pair of sweet, very well-sewn homemade pajamas that I couldn't bear to pass up. They looked like they'd never been worn and it plucked my heartstrings to think of someone's mom or grandma working to make them only for them to end up on a thrift store rack.

baby interlude

Let's check in with baby Elliott who has also become gigantic all of a sudden.

heading off to college

rare (but cute) crankyface

normal state of being

His new thing this week is to make this face while whiffing air in and out his nose. It may actually be the cutest thing ever.

not-a-baby-anymore interlude

My sweet Nico had preschool orientation last week and his first day back to school this week. His classroom is warm and bright and happy, his teacher seems eminently capable of herding a passel of three-year-olds, and Nico seems quite happy to be back. I have hopes that it'll be another really good semester for him. And he'll get to go on field trips this year!

He refused to smile for his official back-to-school picture. (Yes, he is wearing socks with his knockoff Keens. He insists and I figure it's not worth fighting over.)

brothers, slaying me daily

Reading:  Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

Playing:  Long Live the King by the Decemberists

Sunday, September 01, 2013

September goals + August accountability

September goals + August accountability

While I didn't complete my entire list, I feel like having the list helped quite a bit.

August recap:

1. Sort / cull / store outgrown kid clothes

2. Pull out next size for both kids

Braggy interlude…here's Nico's newly-organized closet:

3. Frame and hang Elliott's hospital photo and footprints

4. Choose outfits for boys' photos on 8/25

5. Choose photos for living room and order

6. Basement storage organization / closet clean-out project

7. Hang thermal curtains in staircase window and Elliott's room

8. Read one non-bookclub book

9. Get allergy note and tickets for amusement park trip

10. Catch up on boys' monthly letters

I got Elliott's six-month letter written on time and I finally updated their facebook photo albums after forgetting for three months. Partial credit, I guess.

11. Back up all iPhoto albums to Flickr

It was kind of cheating to include this since it was pretty much done when I wrote the list, but it was a goal for August and I did complete it, so I think it's fair to count it.

12. Call cable company for a quote

13. Make deposits into kids' savings accounts

14. Set up September playdate / girls' night / game night

15. Write to MIL

September goals

Carrying over:

1. Frame and hang Elliott's hospital photo and footprints

(This one might be here for a while…Nico was 2 1/2 before I got his up on the wall.)

2. Choose photos for living room and order

3. Basement storage organization / closet clean-out project

(This one has to get done this month because MB is having friends over for a basement game weekend starting September 21. Plus we had a minor water leak down there and I need to go through the craft / storage closet, find out if anything was damaged, and get everything up on a layer of bricks to prevent future problems.)

4. Catch up on boys' monthly letters

5. Call cable company for a quote


1. Only drink soda at restaurants or when hanging out with friends.

2. Sort / cull 12 month clothes

3. Sort / cull / store 3T stuff

3. Frame and hang living room photos

4. Frame and hang owl print in Elliott's room

5. Read a non-bookclub book

6. Write to MIL twice

7. Set up October playdate / girls' night / game night

8. Start Nico's Halloween costume

9. Plan for Indianapolis trip

10. Make reservations for October camping trip

I actually had a bad feeling about this and checked availability online for the campground we'd chosen at the end of August…good thing, too, because there were only eleven sites left in the whole park for the weekend we're going.

11. Make reservations for November camping trip

12. Research and purchase family tent

13. Bake a cheesecake for MB

14. Make a goodwill run

15. Sort and store / hang / donate frames behind bedroom door.