Pumpkin Mom

I made a midnight run to Walmart tonight and I discovered that I have some deep seated issues about going out late at night. I know exactly when these issues started, too: when Noah was born.

Before his birth, I was out all hours of the night without a second thought. I’m a night owl by nature. I regularly go to bed at 2 AM, wake up with the kids at 9 AM, and go on with my day. I enjoy my alone time at night where I can recharge my mental batteries for the next day.

I would work the night shift and I loved it. Night shifts were quiet and full of interesting, quirky people. I didn’t deal with lunchtime rushes or many children. Bosses were more lenient. I would go out with my cousins until 2 or 3 AM, blasting music with the car windows down (sorry) and doing absolutely nothing but being out. Joshua and I spent a lot of time at Walmart in our tiny town because it was the only 24 hour place and it was something else to do at 3 AM. That or IHOP. I know, exciting life, right? We bonded well, I can tell you that.

After Noah was born, though… it’s like I turned into a pumpkin. Going out after 9 PM feels sinful. Going out almost at midnight, alone, while everyone is sleeping? I almost couldn’t do it. I was over halfway to the store and I still felt like I should turn around and scurry home. I even speedwalked through the store.

I’m not sure what causes this feeling, either. Joshua has certainly never made me feel like I’m not “allowed” to go out. The kids are safe with their father and Liv doesn’t nurse as much at night now so I’m actually pretty free to do whatever I want. I’m awake anyway. It’s not that I’m scared of the big bad boogeyman (or human man) because I’m cautious… but I do think my mother may have instilled some fear in me about that anyway.

It also doesn’t help that people ask me over and over if I’m really okay when I go out. Grocery shopping on my own? “Are you okay?” Walking down the street? “Are you okay?” Alone with two kids while Joshua goes out? “Are you okay?”

I may look young but I’m not without backbone or a fast mind. I can handle emergencies with a calm demeanor. I’m just as safe as any other 20-something out and about… and a lot of those women don’t mind walking places if there are a lot of people. What is it that makes me so hesitant to take 30 minutes to myself and run out to the store?

It’s stupid, is what it is. So I did it, and I’m enjoying my Sprite very much, thank you.

Maybe Not Picture Perfect…

Yesterday was one of those parenting days where I felt completely “with it”. I was the mom with energy, ready to play and clean and get all kinds of stuff done. I actually woke up on time, warmed up breakfast (Cinnabon, yum), made coffee and played with the kids before 10 AM! (We’re all late risers; I’m not that bad.)

After I got Olivia down for her first nap, Noah helped me clean. He always wants to but I’m a perfectionist so I haven’t really taken the time to show him how to do stuff around the house. He cleans his room (with an argument and lengthy discussion) but that’s about it. I realized that he is five years old now, though, and therefore it’s time for him to start learning these things while he’s still eager and can form good habits. After all, I expect him to do his share of the housework, just like Daddy!

He learned how to fold towels and let me just say, we both deserve medals for that one. I lost my patience once, probably kind of rudely, and owed him an apology. He gave me a hug, because that’s the kind of awesome kid he is. Then we tried again and I did so, so well just telling him he did a good job when he didn’t match the corners of the towels exactly. *twitch* Actually, with each towel he folded, he did a better job, and I was also able to chill out and remember that perfectionism is only one short step away from going insane.

I’m working on it.

About halfway through the towels he started whining, of course. The novelty wore off and he kept saying he was SO tired and SO exhausted, complete with eye rubbing. Good grief. What did I do, though? Miss “with it Mom of yesterday”? I reminded him that if he wanted more time to play with me, I had to have help with housework, so the more he did, the more time we could play. He asked if we could play Ben 10 on the Wii so I said yes, and he finished the towels. (I did play Ben 10 and I kicked the first level boss’s ass, booyah. Look of adoration on a five year old’s face? Priceless.)

Noah also managed to sort all of the laundry for me so we could start a load. He liked that part, because he likes throwing clothes into the washing machine and pouring in the powdered detergent. We had a mini lesson about how the washing machine works, how much water to use and when to add more. Awesome.

It wasn’t a perfect day, though. I organized ALL of the kids’ books…because Olivia threw them on the floor. I walked into their room to find books strewn everywhere, sidewalk chalk in her hands and both kids shrugging their shoulders. Conspirators. We put up ALL of the clean laundry… and ended up with two loads worth that I still have to put up tonight, preferably while catching up on a tv show. I even did all of the dishes before dinner time, so we could cook!

We ordered a pizza. Oops. Still, I count that as “with it”. A cleaner house, kids that had mom time, lessons being learned and family time in the evening is pretty much my perfect day. I’ll let go the random messes and temper tantrums and moments of lost patience because asking for movie perfect days is just setting myself up to fail. I’ve learned a lot in 2013 already.

Today, on the other hand…today was today. Crabby kids (Olivia’s teething and cutting 4 more teeth after 2 popped out last week), literally sick and tired Mom… no one killed each other, we all played together and then they had a wonderful visit with Grandma while Joshua and I ran away off for two hours. Now both kids are sound asleep and there’s a bottle of Mike’s in the fridge with my name on it. I’m going to go ahead and call today a win too.

Still here!

June was a crazy month for us between all of the injuries (ankle sprains, scraped up legs, ankle sprains and, oh, more ankle sprains) and sickness and new jobs. Crazy! July has been slower so far but, admittedly, I took time off to enjoy the holiday a bit. Despite sarcastic remarks I might make, I’m actually very patriotic towards America and very grateful to the strong people who helped make this country¬† – on the battlefield and off.

I still have posts ready to post and some to re-write since we’ve done some re-stashing (Is that a word? It is now.) in the past few weeks. I’m also going to feel free to post whatever I want aside from that because, really, this is my blog. I do seem to forget that. ;)

Minecraft, Kids and Imaginations

I wore myself out today! I have been making a point to take Noah out for an hour a day, at least, so he can work off some of this energy that’s been making him an annoying – but still cute – pain in the butt. I love him, but four year olds have so much energy and if they get too pent up, they start to bounce off of the walls… possibly literally.

My brother and his friend were nice enough to come over and play with us so we went outside and ended up playing tag, in a sense, with a Minecraft spin. All of us, including Noah, play Minecraft. It’s pretty fun, especially if you like Legos, so Noah and I were “super humans” with our hands held and we chased the “zombie” and the “skeleton” (Gregory and Alex). The boys fashioned swords out of tree branches (to my motherly unease, but kids will be kids) and Alex made a bow from some greener branches he found on the ground. It was pretty creative, honestly! I loved seeing them use their imaginations and working together to bring a fun game from the computer to life.

Here’s Noah, after tackling his uncle, the zombie:

I’m not used to running around any more, though, which I’m honestly sad to say. I need to work on that, but hopefully swimming this summer will restore some of my endurance. I couldn’t swim much last summer because I was too nauseated with morning sickness. Fun stuff, that. Blech.

I did have a lot of fun playing with my imagination. I live in my mind quite a bit, as someone who likes to read and daydream, but I don’t often share my imagination with others. I don’t know if it’s too awkward or that I’m just shy – I’m definitely introverted – but breaking out of my shell to play was fun. There’s nothing quite like kids to make you think out of the box and seeing the world through Noah’s eyes has been an adventure in exactly that.

I wonder what it will be like, looking through Olivia’s?

Bittersweet Purging

There is always a sense of accomplishment when I get rid of stuff we no longer need. I feel a little more free and a lot less cluttered in my mind.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is a little bittersweet. One of the hardest things for me to declutter are my kids’ clothes. Noah’s aren’t so bad any more…he outgrows stuff about every year now, and it’s not a huge jump when he does (or it is, depending on how you look at it, I guess). Olivia’s are harder. She turned 3 months old this past Thursday and she’s transitioning into 6 month clothing. Yes, my little newborn barely-a-7-pounder is now 14 pounds and long and huge. Still itty bitty to hold compared to her brother at three months old, but huge.

However, as bittersweet as it is, it must be done. Thankfully, I can give a lot of it to my cousin, Michelle, who is expecting this June, because many things were “gender neutral” or “boyish” hand-me-downs from Noah. I saved some favorites, of course, but for the most part, there is a pretty big haul headed her way and most of it is in pristine condition because Noah wore it once and Liv wore it once or not at all. So there is a positive, definitely, in knowing that these clothes are going to my little nephew (technicalities aside).

Then there is the benefit of having more space, of course. I re-organized her drawers and hanging clothes and there is a lot more room for everything, which is nice. There is a whole range of sizes (newborn to 3 months) that I am no longer holding onto. There are a bunch of clothes that fit her but aren’t the nicest (like heavy staining) that I could get rid of, because we are blessed to have a good bit of clothes for her 6 month size to add to the “nice” 3 month stuff. My mom, grandmother, aunt and cousin Alexa have been especially sweet in picking out goodies for Olivia and then I found a good deal on Carter’s onesies.

So, yeah, I suppose there is an upside, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to shed a few tears over her rapidly disappearing newborn days. Three months is kind of a big one. Ah, babies. At least there is so much to look forward to.

Oh! And speaking of babies and gifts and clothes… a couple of weeks ago, I went to Michelle’s baby shower and got to feel her baby bump. Woohoo! I’m so excited for her and her husband. I mean, I felt that baby bump and I started to cry! Anyway, I bring this up because I forgot to post pictures at the time and my mom is probably reading this and thinking “Finally! She takes forever.” I love you, Mom. Now here are those pictures. =P

(Click to enlarge.)

And just for fun: