Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Years Ago...

I always find it a bit interesting to reminisce about where I was in life a specific amount of years ago.  It's part of why I've really enjoyed using the TimeHop app on my phone and seeing both what I've posted on Facebook and the literal snapshots of life that I've taken with my phone.  Sometimes it has me scratching my head wondering why I said something but more often it gets me a bit nostalgic.
So where was I five years ago?
It was January of 2010.  I had an eight month old son and we were still living in the townhome.  I was still working in my admitting job but seriously looking for a new position either with the same employer or just about anything else.  Ten hour shifts with a young child in a difficult job was extremely draining for me.  Tony was gearing up for a big business trip to Florida -- the first one that would take him away from home for more than five days -- and I was trying to wrap my head around single parenting for that long.
Life has changed quite a bit since then.  We've added a kid to the mix -- life with a kindergartner and a toddler is interesting.  We've moved.  Tony and I have both changed jobs within the same company.  A two week business trip is fairly normal for him now and, while I'd like to say that I've gotten a better handle on pseudo-single-parenting in the last few months, it's still still tough.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Listen

A smile spreads across her face as her eyes glimmer with a giggle before it even escapes her mouth.  And when it does my own lips turn up into a smile of my own. Oh, how I love that sound.

She babbles with the sweetest little voice.  A whole lot of nonsense comes out of her.  Far more nonsense than intelligible words and phrases.  Sweet silliness abounds.  Oh, how I love those noises.

 And when she speaks her words come out with the adorableness of a toddler.  The words for things she loves she says often.  If she elicits a laugh from you she will say it over and over again for the loves the attention.  Oh, how I love that voice. 

I could listen to her for hours.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Do You Want to Remember?

There's a clips episode of Scrubs where the Sacred Heart staff are dealing with a man who has attempted suicide and is dealing with amnesia.  He doesn't remember who he is or why he's there. which leads to a segment of the show where JD contemplates all of the painful things he might wish that he could forget.
There have often been things that I've wanted to forget but I can't.  Painful memories or experiences are just that: painful.  Who wants to remember the pain in life?  Wouldn't we much rather remember the joy?  And remember it vividly?
But I just love this quote from JD: "The truth is, it is all your memories, the joyful ones and the heartbreaking ones, that make up who you are as a person."  So that's what I want to remember: both the joy and the pain that make me who I am.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sleep

It's a bit ironic that I should sit here with the topic of "sleep" to write about when I'd really much rather be sleeping than writing.  It's been a long and exhausting day and my bed is calling to me.  But, alas, here I sit to write.  (I missed my Friday prompt so I should probably try to get the rest of them right?)
Ah... Sleep.  What can I say about sleep?  I like sleep.  I never seem to quite get enough of it though.  At least that's been the case for a majority of the last 5.5 years.  I'll get the occasional night where I'll go to bed at an earlier-than-normal hour or a morning with the rare opportunity to actually sleep in.  But those are few and far between.
When Tony travels I just plain do not sleep well.  It's gotten better than it used to be.  When he first started traveling more it would take 4 or 5 days for my body to finally decide it needed sleep more than it needed to freak out about every little sound in the house.  See, when Tony is home we sleep with a fan on and it deadens all the normal house sounds.  You know, the creaks and groans and squeaks and moans.  When he's gone I leave the fan off so that if the kids wake up or whatever I can actually hear them.  (I tend to be a heavy sleeper.)  Frequently, I'll settle in for the night, get good and drowsy, turn off the lights, and squeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaak!!!!!!! And then I'm wide awake again.  I'm glad it's gotten easier.
Yes...There's a reason that I tend to drink copious amounts of coffee on a semi-regular basis.  And with that....I'm off to bed.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Breathe

One piece of advice that new moms are often given is that it's okay to take a moment, walk away (when you're baby is in a safe place) and just breathe.  Sometimes it's more than okay....It's necessary.  I didn't really understand that parenting Simon.  He was, and still is, a pretty chill kid.  I don't remember ever needing to step away and collect myself when he was an infant.
And then came Rose.
I love that girl to death but she tries my patience.  She was an incredibly needy and clingy baby.  I feel like I spent 90% of my maternity leave with my butt glued to the couch and a baby glued to my boob.  And then there was the constant crying.  There were many times I had to put her in her crib and walk away for just a minute to breathe.
Even now I sometimes have to just walk away.  There have been multiple times in the last few weeks that I've wrestled a screaming, fighting banshee into her carseat.  I have no idea why she suddenly decided to fight it one day and why in the world she was so passionate in her distaste for her transportation.  I was literally about ten seconds away from locking the kids in the car and stepping away for a moment one morning. (Don't worry, I'd have still been able to see the car.)
Sometimes you have to just breathe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Daddy's Gone "Recipe"

I typically enjoy cooking.  That's not an astounding revelation given the number of recipes on this blog, is it?  Three of my most visited posts are food related.  I have multiple cooking boards on pinterest.  I love my Better Homes and Garden cookbook and have a tin full of recipes I've pulled from magazines, newpapers, or written down on scraps of paper.  I usually love to cook and think I do a pretty darn good job of it too.

And then I get stuck.  I get tired of the staple meals -- tacos, pasta with meat sauce, potato soup, taterole, brinner, stroganoff, chili -- but nothing new looks or sounds all that good.  I get tired of meal planning and only do it because I have to and because kids have become accustomed to eating on a semi-regular basis.
Add in frequent solo parenting when Tony travels which often reduces me to simple meals because keeping an eye on the stove plus an eye on each kid is often too much after spending the whole day working.  And then there's my infuriatingly fickle toddler who may or may not eat something even if she's had it and loved it a dozen times before.

So here's my favorite Daddy's Gone "Recipe."  I use the recipe extremely loosely here...
1 sleeve of crackers -- Ritz or similar
1 roll/tube/stick of summer sausage
1 brick cheese -- we usually use Tillamook medium cheddar
Fruit (optional)
Wine or Hard Cider (I'm partial to moscato wine or Angry Orchard hard cider.)

Step 1: Cut sausage and cheese into appropriate sized slices.
Step 2: put sausage, cheese, and crackers on plates.
Step 3: add fruit if desired or just give the plates to the kids.
Step 4: Pour wine into glass or just open a bottle of cider to enjoy with your dinner.  DO NOT GIVE THIS TO THE KIDS.  (Like I actually have to say that...You wouldn't waste an oz of that after the day you've had.)

Easy-peasy.  The kids usually have oranges, grapes, apples, or melon along with their meat and cheese.  Sometimes I'll cut up some cucumber or a roma tomato for mine.  It's been a go-to meal when Tony travels since last February and the kids love it.  I kinda like it too....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Favorite Quote

There are a great many quotes that I love.  They range from silly and humorous to words of wisdom and truth.  They come from writers, historical figures, artists, songs, books, film, and many more places.  Rarely does a day go by that I haven't quoted something.  I truly don't think I could choose just one favorite quote so I'm sharing just one of many:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

I was well aware of The Lord of the Rings long before it hit the big screen.  I'm a little embarrassed to say I didn't actually read the books until afterwards I'd seen the first movie.  (What can I say?  My brother constantly carried around a very worn copy of at least one of the books for many years.  I just kind of assumed it wasn't something I'd be interested in.)  This is one quote that stood out to me in both the movie and the book.  Frodo despairs the perilous times he's living in and, even more, the task he has taken and Gandalf reminds him that he may not have had a choice in that but he does get to decide what he will do.  The flashback of this line with Frodo standing on the shore as he was leaving the Fellowship is still one of my moments in that entire trilogy of movies because you see the anguish in his decision and you know that he has to decide.

It's one of those nuggets of applicable truth that you can find all through Tolkien's work.  Yes, our choices often have an effect on how we get somewhere but there are also times when we end up in the midst of circumstances that our out of our control.  We may have had little or no choice in getting there but we do get to decide how we walk through it.  Just like Frodo leaving the Fellowship it's not always an easy choice but it is ours to make.