Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bits and Pieces: November

I decided I am going to buy one of those happy lamps. I've had more than one person tell me they work for them, or for someone they know. Anyway, it can't hurt, right?

I have been feeling much better for the last week and a half, mostly due to all the distractions with Thanksgiving.

My brother, who lives in England, was here the weekend before Thanksgiving so I hosted an early dinner. It went well, except I burned the stuffing my mom made. Oops. I am not used to having so many dishes in my oven. Clare immediately attached herself to Robby and insisted he play with her all weekend.

On Thanksgiving Day, we drove down to my parents' house. My aunt and uncle, who live in Memphis, were there, along with their two adult children and spouse who live in New York and Chicago. It was great to see them, and eat stuffing that hadn't been burned. I also ate my fair share of pumpkin and raspberry pie. (Two separate pies, in case you weren't sure.)

I went out for a long lunch with my dear friend Christina, who I don't get to see often enough. And I am not kidding about the length. We sat down at 12:15, and the next thing we knew it was nearly 4:30. I guess that's what happens with good friends who are not rushing to get anywhere else.

My dad and I went to the Badger/Gopher football game. I was disappointed with the results, but going to the game was fun.

The only downside: I somehow sprained a muscle in my lower back, and it is so painful. Trying to pick up my nearly 30 pound baby is not easy.

So I don't know where my camera was during any of this time. I did take one picture, though. Clare completing her annual task of decorating Meema Jo's Christmas tree. She would spend all day doing that if she could. (Or sledding with Baba, another highlight of the weekend.)

Happy decorating season!

Meema Jo and Clare looking at the lights from under the tree.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The November Blues

I really struggle with the end of Daylight Saving Time. I remember feeling this way last year, and I blamed it on having an infant at home. But the feelings are back this year, and I think they can be firmly attributed to the days getting shorter. This blast of January weather is not helping, either.

Anything can cause me to spiral. Yesterday, it was climate change. Today, I was crying after reading an article on holiday traditions, because I suddenly felt like I didn't have any traditions for my little family and I AM FAILING AT CHRISTMAS. This is ridiculous, I realize this logically. Especially the holiday thing. Knowing that it is silly doesn't change anything, though. I wish I could have that much control over it, you know?

I noticed it creeping in last week. I had a bad day on Wednesday, worrying about something or other, I don't even know what. Then, the sun was out on Thursday and I was fine. It has been gray since, and so has my mood.

I snap at Clare. I'm short with Ben. Everything is blown of out of proportion: a perceived slight, a small criticism. I start second guessing decisions I made years ago, obsessing over them. I don't like feeling this way.

So. What to do? One thing that makes me feel better when I get down is writing about it. Here I am. I also decided to make a list of the things in my life that make me happy. Or, that at least should in theory make me happy. Small things. Here we go.

Snuggles from Christopher. Clare's little voice. Ben telling a joke. Red wine. White wine. Sleeping through the night. Watching Castle. Reading a really good book. Hiding in the bathroom to finish that book. Taking a long, hot shower. Being alone. A good cup of hot coffee. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, especially the ones from Pot Belly. Girls' night out. Play dates. Family time. Fried cheese curds. My kitchen. My brother coming to visit this weekend, all the way from jolly ol' England.

I have nothing to be unhappy about. The logical part of my brain knows this. I just need to get the rest of my brain to know it, too.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Stuff and Some Pictures

Me: "Clare, it's time to try to go to the bathroom."
Clare: "I don't want to."
Me: "I don't care. You need to do it anyway."
Clare: "What do you care about?"
Me: "I care about lots of things. Like you going to the bathroom."
Clare: "Do you know what I care about? Not going to the bathroom."

What am I going to do with this one?

Today is my sister's birthday (happy birthday, Katie!) and we are going out to eat, just the two of us. You may have noticed that one of my favorite things to do is go out to eat without my children. Also, Clare has decided to give Katie a present of baby toys that we don't need anymore. That sounds like a terrible gift, but they are, in fact, for Clare's soon-to-be born cousin, not Katie herself. Clare is very excited about her future cousin, and I think it is pretty sweet that she wants to give the baby some of her old toys. She also chose one of her purses for the baby, because Clare has decided she only needs one. (Yes, this 3-year-old has more than one purse. I don't know.)

We had our family pictures taken a few weeks ago. I hired the photographer based on a recommendation from my friend A., and I couldn't be happier with the results. I am especially happy because Christopher was extremely crabby throughout the session. You wouldn't know it based on most of the pictures. Here are a few of my favorites.

P.S. This snow can go straight to hell. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

13 Months

One of my favorite things about this age is seeing Christopher's little personality emerge and become more defined. And, of course, I compare him to Clare. We went to story time at the library a few weeks ago, and while Clare was hesitant and wanted to sit on my lap, Christopher had no such hesitations. He crawled all over, looking at all the kids and all the books. When the librarian brought out a puppet, he barged his way to the front of the room and tried to grab it. Clare would never have done this, even when she was Christopher's age. She has always been reserved. Christopher is not. One of the other moms turned to me and said, "Well, he's the life of the party, isn't he?"

He sure is. My mother-in-law, aunt-in-law and a friend came over for lunch last week. Christopher spent the whole time making eyes at all the ladies, turning his head, batting his lashes, grinning. He was also demanding, requesting more water and more food and more more more. The ladies were only too happy to oblige.

He has started experimenting with crying to get what he wants. I can tell when he is faking it, though, and if I ignore him he usually gives up pretty fast. He cries when I leave, but gets over it the second I am out of sight.

He still loves to snuggle, and I'll take every second of snuggling I can get. I'll be in the kitchen or putting away clothes and feel a little tugging on my jeans. Christopher is there, thumb in his mouth. I give him a hug, and he goes back to playing. He just needs to check in once in awhile.

He can stand on his own for about 30 seconds. My prediction is he will be walking by Christmas.

He has made it known he has had it with food cut into small pieces, or any kind of substitute dinner. He will take the main entree, if you please. I need to work with him on using utensils - I think Clare could manage a spoon on her own by this point. Christopher knows what its for, but I wouldn't say he has any sort of control over it. He also knows what the remote to the TV is for. He holds it up and points it at the TV. I am sure he will be operating it before too long.

He still has the most kissable checks in the world. I plan to kiss them about 1,000 times a day until he doesn't let me do it any more.

You'll be shocked to learn that it is hard to get a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old to pose for a picture together.

Eh, not much better.