Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving without Max

As all our friends and family and coworkers and neighbors get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, my heart is so heavy for the empty space at a table that should have been filled by Max. It's been almost five months since that terrible day and he and his family, and Mama T are in my head and in my heart every day, but this week especially.

I've said it before, many times, but I can't stop saying it. I am beyond thankful, every minute, that I was the one who got to take both my two children home that day.

I can't help but put myself in Max's mother's shoes and think of how hard it would be to not have one of my girls at the table on Thursday. To try and sit with my family at dinner, bow my head and will myself to be thankful, but know that in my heart, there's a part of me that is empty, and sad, and maybe even angry or bitter.

I don't know if I would be able to do it. I don't know how they will.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Little Changes - The Evenings

With Elle's schedule at school, she's been so tired in the evenings that just getting in the door and settled is about all the time I have before she's ready for bed. She's unhappy by 6 and a solid overtired mess by 6:30. It's a very short window that I have to get her fed before she's just too tired to care.

In addition, our previous evenings included a small snack and an episode of something Disney Jr related for Ali while I got dinner together. However, by the time we sat down to eat, she was also tired, and having just had a snack, not that hungry. Dinner was turning into an argument and tears every night with everyone exhausted and annoyed.

Clearly, this all needed to change.

So starting last week, and continuing this week, when we walk in the door in the evening, I sit both girls down immediately and get their dinner which I precooked on Sunday. The fridge is currently stocked with Chicken, sweet potato, peas and green beans. Yes, their dinners will be missing some variety, but I fix that with fresh  raw veggies and fruit on the side. I am now able to get them both fed before 6:00.

At 6, I put Elle to bed. Then since Ali's already eaten too, so I turn on the evening episode of Dr McStuffins or Mickey Mouse while my husband and I eat. After that I snuggle on the couch with Ali to finish the little bit of tv left and then at 7 we go upstairs and start the bedtime routine for her. She's had a nice quiet evening and isn't leaving the table to go directly upstairs anymore. She's in bed by 7:30, and everyone's much happier.

It definitely takes some prep on my end and having the dinner's done already but between being on time to work more often than not, and having calm evenings with both girls, the prep seems completely worth while and hopefully I'll maintain this for a while.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Little changes - The Mornings

My mornings and evenings have been a struggle recently as I attempt to get me, plus the two girls, up, dressed, fed and out the door on time in the mornings. And then in the evenings, in the door, fed, changed and in bed.

My mornings had been super hectic and I was ending up out the door at 7:30 and 7:40 instead of 7:20. Those 10-20 minutes make a big difference in my getting to work on time.

I have also not had any time for exercise and I was really starting to feel gross.

Sluggish, bloated, heavy, gross and I hated it.

So I started getting up with my husband at 5 and while he goes for a run, I get on the treadmill. I only run/walk for about 15 minutes, some mornings I'll only do 10 but then do a yoga workout afterwards but it's enough to get going and feel like I'm at least doing something.

After that I get all the breakfasts ready, Ali's, Elle's and I get my breakfast/lunch bag packed for work. I get Elle's snacks/bottles and both girls bags packed for school and then, after all that is done, I finally shower and get ready.

I had been making a regular breakfast for Ali and then, if she ate quickly, she got to sit and watch a little TV. But she eats breakfast at school too, and she just doesn't need to eat twice. So rather than make it part of my morning, and having to tell her 5,000 times to hurry up and eat so she can watch tv (really, that came out of my mouth more than once), she now just has a small glass of milk while watching one episode of something while I finish getting myself ready.

Then, I get Elle up and she has a small morning bottle (soon to be sippy cup!) and a handful of cheerios in her high chair while I get Ali's teeth brushed, hair done, get the car packed and jackets on.

Monday we were out the door at 7:25. Not bad.
Tuesday we were out the door at 7:17. Early!
Wednesday we were out the door at 7:15. No joke!
Today we were out the door at 7:13!

I have been on time to work every morning so far.

I have not had to raise my voice once in the mornings this week.

We leave for school/work calm, happy and ready!

It is possible. Now I just need to maintain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My little runner

Ali is a runner. For real. I half way feel like, at three years old, I need to get her a coach. She's a runner.

This weekend we needed to get Elle some real shoes, her first pair, and upon inspection, Ali's sneakers were a little worse for wear and getting a little tough to put on, so I figured her feet had grown.

So off we went to the mall for shoes and a girls morning out.

The last time I bought Ali shoes was right after the accident at Mama T's and we had to suddenly switch Ali to a new school. At that time I made a big deal about her being such a big girl, going to school, and getting to pick her new shoes, and new backpack, trying to make it exciting. That's how we ended up with pink sparkly shoes that light up. Not that they've been bad sneakers, but as I said, Ali is a runner, and she destroys her shoes, she plays so hard. The pink sparkly shoes didn't quite hold up well.

So this time I told her we were going to go buy her some really fast running shoes, just like Daddy wears. She was so exited.

We did actually get a pair of solid running shoes, which I didn't get a picture of at the time. This one's from school today.

(I love that I get pictures all day from the school of both girls).

After shoes, we met Daddy out for some lunch.

And then Sunday after church, I promised Ali we would go for a run.

My husband stayed home with Elle, and Ali and I went down to the lake by our house for a 'run'.

Or what I thought would be a 'run'.

She was still wearing her dress from church, and we just put her sneakers on instead of her church shoes. I'm glad I put on my sneakers too since once we got down to the lake, we went running.

And I was out run by a three year old, in a dress.

She wanted to chase me, so, off I went at a light jog to be chased. I peeked over my shoulder to see Ali directly behind me, gaining fast! Yikes! I had to speed up! Way up! I ended up running at a pace above my normal 'comfort' level, which ok, is sad to begin with, but really, this girl kept up and we went for awhile. Granted there were breaks, and we took turns chasing and being chased, but we did probably about a mile total, easily.

After that, we went back to the house and Ali had a THREE HOUR NAP!

So, I got in some exercise, she got some quality outside time, and then I got a fabulously quiet afternoon. Elle ended up taking a super long nap too and so did my husband (what he would call 'watching' football).

So, we're going to be making a after lunch 'run' a regular thing.

BTW- my legs hurt today! So sad!

Monday, November 10, 2014

My little eater

Elle loves food. She is 10 months old and has eight teeth, four top, four bottom, and I have not bought baby food in probably a month, maybe a little more. She eats what we eat. I just dice up whatever we're having for dinner, and she has it too, with gusto.

She's eaten, chicken, pork, spaghetti with meat sauce, mac n cheese, zucchini, green beans, peas, carrots, chicken noodle soup, sweet potato, meatloaf, rice and beans, I can't even continue trying to remember what variety of things we've given her. The only thing she's protested is broccoli.

It's not small amounts either. This was her dinner last night. Ham, peas and left over mac n cheese from our lunch out at The Cheesecake Factory on Saturday. I think that's a lot of food for a 10 month old to feed herself.

Eating with gusto, and supervision...

The remnants.

After that, she had about a third a cup of pineapple, a small handful of raisins and a few cheerios.


This child eats!

This child is also wearing a size 18 month outfit in the picture. Ali didn't fit into size 18 month clothes until she was almost two years old. Elle is 10 months.

Friday, November 7, 2014

From one Phantom to Another

Anyone who has children knows what Phantom Crying is.

All of a sudden, in the middle of the night, you come out of a sound sleep 100% sure that your baby is crying. You will jump out of a wonderfully warm bed to check on the baby, or if you have more than one, you stand in the hallway, poised, ready to go to whichever child it was that needed you.

No one cried.

Everyone's asleep.

Except you, and maybe the husband that you scared half to death as you leapt out of bed.

It's not limited to sleeping hours though. In the middle of the day too. During nap time, I'll hear it, Phantom Crying, and go check on the girls to see who is it.

Neither one, they're both perfectly fine, sound asleep.

It's just one of the many ways in which your children make you lose your mind...and fall asleep at your desk.

Guess who's been up since 4:30 this morning?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I love Phantom

For my birthday my husband got us tickets to go see Phantom of the Opera. As it turns out the last weekend of the show was on our anniversary. He was brilliant and got tickets to the 2:00 afternoon show rather than the evening. That worked out well, because with both girls not feeling well last week, the night before the show had several late night/early morning wake ups.

I have been dying to see Phantom since I was in high school (just a few years ago) and had never had the chance.

So, Saturday morning my mom came over to watch the girls and my husband and I went to the Fox Theater.

I was beyond excited. This was a dream for me. A true 'bucket list', 'my life is not complete without it' type of moment.

It was magical.

It was perfect.

Just hearing the music performed by a live orchestra was phenomenal, fantastical, beyond my ability to convey in words. I literally cried, tears running down my face as the music came up and the actors sang and I knew every word. All of them. Not just the songs, I know the whole play, line for line, I know it all. I could have hopped up on stage and played every character and I had never managed to see the show before. It felt like they were putting on the whole show just for me. I know there was a full, completely packed, theater around me, but for the entire duration of the performance, they weren't there. Even my husband wasn't there, it was just me and the music. The wonderful music that has always had a pull on my heart since I first heard it.

(Images from the Fox Theater website. I did not take pictures during the performance!)

It was such an overwhelming and magical experience. I want to see it a hundred more times. 

I love the Phantom of the Opera.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Halloween Post

It was a long week last week. Poor little Elle was not feeling good and between a cold, some major teething and a diaper rash that ended up needed a prescription cream, she was a mess. I spent Wednesday and Thursday afternoon home with her and then all day Friday and all she wanted to do was be in my arms, with her head on my shoulder, one thumb in her mouth and the other hand in my hair as I rocked her. We literally spent hours like that last week. :( It was so sad. She is normally such a happy, playful girl.

Even so, it was her first Halloween, so I was determined that she was going to get dressed up and go out with us. Ali wasn't feeling great either so we only did a few house immediately around us. Since she's only 3, she didn't realize there should have been more to it than that and was content to go back to the house and dig into the candy she got from those few houses.

Cinderella and her pumpkin

Big M is a master photo bomber

This girl is so ready to be walking!

In addition, their school had a Trunk or Treat party. I didn't get great pictures of the carriage. I had put it together real fast, got a few photos of Ali and the she was off to spend the next hour and a half in the bounce house. She literally left it for about 10 minutes to trick or treat. 

So, the carriage was a little crooked because she was absolutely drooling to get to the bounce house and I told her she had to wait until I got the carriage together. I did fix it but then didn't get any more pictures. I also intended to have curtains in the 'window' of the carriage as well as pumpkins and other decorations in front of it, but with Elle so sick all week, it just didn't happen. Oh well. Everyone knew what it was and all the little three and four year old's thought the whole party was fantastic, which it was!

All in all, it was a great Halloween, even through the not feeling well.