Lucky Days

28 Aug

We had an absolutely epic day yesterday, and today was a pretty busy one too.

Yesterday the boys and I toured two daycares, ate cupcakes, outfitted Max for fall at a consignment store, played at three parks, got the van jump started by a helpful stranger and had dinner as a family at the beach.

After touring three daycares in two days (and after closely reviewing the policies of a fourth cancelled our tour when I realized it cost more than the others, didn’t provide lunch, and provided some religious instruction I wasn’t comfortable with.)

On Wednesday I toured a very nice in-home daycare that had come recommended to me by someone in a mom’s facebook group I belong to.  I liked it well enough, it seemed perfectly fine, but I didn’t have the gut feeling of THIS IS IT.  Plus, Mars was weirdly clingy to me there which seemed an odd sign since he is usually ready to jump in and play if there are toys and kids around.

Thursday we started the day at the only place that isn’t an in-home facility.  It is more like a school than a daycare.  It was the only one I didn’t have a personal recommendation for as it just opened three weeks ago, but is run by the same woman who started a similar place Mars and I toured recently and liked but deemed it too far away.  The school does Spanish language immersion which I think is cool but might make Max’s transition that much harder.  However, it was clean, crisp, structured, the teachers all have backgrounds in elementary education, they were all very kind, and there is a big outdoor playspace that both of my kids loved.  We really, really liked it.

Later in the day we toured an in-home daycare that was the polar opposite of the above.  I had high hopes for this one because kids Max knows goes there and I thought it would be great to have buddies.  It was not my cup of tea.  It is one woman in her home with 8-9 kids at a time and the kids just play all day with little to no structure.  It was LOUD and chaotic and Max was very overwhelmed (as was I).  For a few hours it would be fine but for a 9+ hour day twice a week I couldn’t see leaving my kids there.

In the end the decision was much easier than I anticipated.  I chose the immersion school—the kids loved it (though Max was horrified when I told him my intention was for him to stay there all day while I am at work), and I felt really good about it.  I really hope two days a week will be enough for them to get used to it—I really am worried about Max, he’s so sensitive.  He still clings to me every day when I drop him off at preschool even though he loves it there and has been going for a year.  (He will continue to go on the days he doesn’t go to his new school).  Maybe the dynamic of Dad dropping them off will help as M is much less likely to stand for endless separation anxiety.

I’m glad that’s settled.  I feel good about my decision and still horribly anxious because these kids are used  to me being around all the time and it will be a big transition for them.

Anyway, between those two appointments yesterday I was determined to spend what might be the last sunny day for a week, outside.  We got treats and then walked to our favorite consignment store and while the boys played with toys I miraculously found a winter jacket, a couple of sweaters and several pairs of pants for Max for fall/winter (including jeans soft enough he was willing to wear them—he hasn’t worn jeans in almost two years!)  It’s really hard to find used clothes for big boys, so I lucked out.

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Silly in his new jeans

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Eventually we did get to the car after much dawdling

Then we went home and packed a lunch and went to the wading pool and park #1.  I have mixed feelings about the wading pool because it takes forever to get them in and out of their swimming stuff and they get bored and want to go to the playground after maybe 15 minutes.  Plus the water was ice cold and Mars was freezing.  But we went to the playground for an hour and then I hearded them (ever so slowly) to the van an hour before our appointment to tour the second daycare knowing they would fall asleep in the car. 
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Sure enough in five minutes they were both sound asleep.  I went through the Starbucks drive through and then parked the van in the shade near where I thought the daycare was.  Unfortunately because it was pretty hot out I decided to leave the car on auxillary to keep the a/c running and I ran the battery out.  By the time I went to start up the van and it wouldn’t go I had 15 minutes until our appointment and M couldn’t come help us because our other car was in the shop.  Lucky for me a very nice man parked his truck right behind us and ended up giving us a jump start, saving me from pushing two very grumpy and hot toddlers in the stroller a half mile to what turned out to be the wrong address (I had gotten the street number wrong).  We were 30 min late to our daycare appointment which turned out ok.

After that we went to our favorite park close to home where I met up with a friend I’ve known since high school who lives nearby and has a baby.  She was getting rid of some old work clothes and gave me two pairs of pants that lucky for me fit perfectly (and I really needed work pants too).

We got home maybe 10 minutes before M returned from work, and once he got home we all left again to have burgers at the beach and go to the park near there.  It was a very busy but very fun day!

Today was almost as busy.  Max went to preschool while Mars and I went to the gym, then did errands and I ended up walking from the junction to Max’s school with the stroller because Mars was asleep. It was farther than I remembered it being (it’s almost 2 miles each way). When I pushed the boys back to the junction (which is uphill the whole way) and I was sweating bullets about half way back I started being kind of sorry about my decision but we powered through and fortunately no one was too whiny or upset (except maybe me, but I kept it to myself).  We went straight from there to the park where we met up with some of Max’s friends from school, some of whom are heading to kindergarten next month and had their last day of preschool today.
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After lots of crazy boy playing at the park we headed home for a playdate with my friend L and her two boys K and O.  Max couldn’t WAIT for K to come over and asked me every five minutes when he was going to get there.  The little boys (O just turned one) played together adorably, and the big boys ran around like wild animals.  It was good to catch up with L a bit though.

As soon as M got home and the friends left I was out the door for a mom date with the mom of one of Max’s besties from school.  We were talking about how hard it is to make mom friends with whom you connect, share a similar parenting style and your kids like each other.  Our kids are in an adorable love triangle (she has two girls) since Mars is smitten with her older girl, and her younger girl is madly in love with Mars (Max could care less and just wants to play). We got pedicures and dinner and had a wonderful time.

It’s been a busy couple of days and now it’s pouring rain like Fall is suddenly here so I’m glad we had so many adventures before the rain came.

Sunday Funday

23 Aug

Oh so much random stuff to talk about.  First,  I GOT A JOB!!! I never was able to make it work with the first interview place,  which was too bad because I liked them,  but also just as well because it was a loooong commute.  My new job is still probably a 40 min commute but that’s better than over an hour! It’s awesome because it’s two days a week and I think I am going to have a lot of room to be creative with how I do things there which I am excited about.  I start in about a month and am looking into daycare right now.  If my days were going to be Tuesday and Thursday I would have an easier time,  but alas one of the days has to be Friday.  I have a couple of options I am hopeful about.  It’s going  to be rough on Max at first poor kid. He’s very shy with strangers,  especially strange adults.  I hope he settles into daycare as quickly as he did preschool.  Mars is pretty adaptable and social so I don’t worry as much about him.

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We had a busy Sunday.  We went to our favorite breakfast place at the beach and watched the start of a 5k race that was benefitting a cancer charity.  Over the loudspeaker the announcer was talking about a patient the organization was helping who is 31 years old with stage four breast cancer and I burst into tears on the street corner!  So devastating to contemplate such a grim diagnosis at such a young age (four years younger than me!)

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We somewhat spontaneously decided to spend the rest of they day on Bainbridge Island which wasn’t the best plan.  We planned to drive downtown and walk on the ferry but we couldn’t find parking that wasn’t a) two hour limit or b) cost $30. M was starting to get mad,  as he has little patience for time wasting shenanigans like driving in circles.  We finally just drove onto the ferry.  We walked around the waterfront,  had Pad Thai and I remembered why it is that the last time I had Thai food that wasn’t take out was before Mars was born (because my children are wild animals who should not be taken to real restaurants).

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We had fun at a park playing with some rocket balloons,  and a little playground time before we got too hot.  We ended up driving all the way home rather than wait two hours for the ferry.   It was a long day but the kids had fun anyway.

Potty Problems

17 Aug
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Rainy day snuggles

I do not understand what is going on with Max.  Last Friday there was a massive rainstorm on the same day M noticed there was moisture leaking somewhere in our house.  He came home early and was just about to punch a hole in the drywall in Max’s room to find the leak when he stopped and smelled the wetness.  It wasn’t rain, it was URINE.  Apparently, for some period of time, Max has been getting up in the morning and peeing on his bedroom floor, and then going about his day.  My response was:

WHAT?!

Enter long conversation about how we only pee on the potty, breaks the house to pee on the floor, blah blah blah.  We also moved his bed to block the place he’d been peeing, created a “road” out of tape from the bed to the toilet in the bathroom next to his room, and placed pictures of his favorite character “Fireman Sam” holding a hose to remind him where to go.  Sure enough next morning he used the toilet as requested, problem solved.

Except.

Oh today was not good.

This afternoon we were returning from a failed attempt to get Mars to take a nap upstairs.  Max went downstairs first, and Mars and I were close behind when I heard the unmistakable sound of peeing.  He had gone behind the couch, removed his clothes, and peed on the floor.  I would like to tell you that at this point I responded calmly and rationally but I did NOT.  I got mad, I sent him to his room, made him put on a pull-up, and insisted he get in his bed.  There was a lot of crying.  Mars was busy pulling up the tape road from Max’s room, Max was crying and I was just DONE.  I sent them both to their beds, where they both cried awhile and eventually went to sleep.  I felt bad about getting mad, but also so angry and frustrated that my potty trained toddler is suddenly peeing everywhere in my carpeted house.  When I ask him why he says, “I don’t know.” And maybe he doesn’t know.  I don’t either, but I’m frustrated.  It isn’t like he’s having accidents and not making it to the bathroom–that I could understand.  This is deliberate removal of clothing and peeing in corners.  I am mystified.

We also have an actual leak in the van, after three botched attempts to fix the shoddy windshield installation already water was pouring in during the rainstorm so once again the van is in the shop

I received a call back from job A today, confirming what I told them last week about not being willing to drive over an hour each way more than twice a week.  They were hoping to come to a compromise but I just can’t do it.  She said they would get back to me but I am certain they are going to say they can’t hire me and I understand, though it’s disappointing, though at least it isn’t because they didn’t like me.

Last Friday’s interview for job B went pretty well I think.  The job is also not super close, though more like 45 minutes each way instead of over an hour.  It’s 20 hours a week which is the maximum I’m comfortable with, but I think they would be willing to let me do two long days so I only have to do the commute twice a week.  That’s if they want to hire me.  I don’t know.  If this one doesn’t work out there aren’t any more things to apply for right now and maybe that’s for the best.  This has been very stressful and if neither of these jobs pan out I think I need a break from all this uncertainty for awhile.

Insomnia

14 Aug

It is 12:30am.  I should have been asleep two hours ago.  In the morning I have another job interview, which should be interesting since I’m going to be super tired.

I still haven’t heard anything about the other job, the one where I told them I liked them but would only work 2.5 days when they wanted 3.5.  Since it’s been 4 days I assume they are interviewing other people and trying to find someone else.  It would be nice if they would just call me and say, hey, it’s not going to work out, but that’s ok.  I know my limits.  The interview tomorrow I have no idea if it’s going to be a good fit—the job posting just said part-time, no indication of how many hours.  I have contacted a bunch of childcare places lately and the ones that said they have space all also said, but we will fill up soon, it’s almost Fall!  And there is nothing I can do about it because I don’t have a job yet, it’s just a possibility.

I really should be sleeping right now.  I did try for over an hour but couldn’t fall asleep.  Too much on my mind, but I am tired.  Oh tomorrow is going to be rough.  Let’s talk about something else.

Last night I got Max to sleep relatively easily but he woke up three separate times in the night.  The first two times I think were nightmares—he wasn’t totally awake, but was screaming and hysterical.  The third time he needed to pee and he wanted a “grown up to help with his diaper” (he is not night potty trained yet).  We sleepily told him just to put on underwear because by this time it was probably 4am and he wasn’t in danger of waking up wet.  So two nights of bad sleep going into an interview is going to be awesome.  I should stop thinking about that.
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Today the kids and I went to KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Factoria with our friends.  They are so fun to have playdates with because the two girls are almost exactly the same ages as each of my boys and the girls just adore my boys which is too cute.  (The boys think they are pretty great too).  We had fun at the museum and then went to lunch.  I loaded my kids in the stroller after hoping they’d fall asleep so I could wander Nordstrom Rack, but they weren’t having it and Mars was getting fussy and Max kept asking when we’d be all done.  They each fell asleep almost instantly in the car though.

We have been having gorgeous sunsets, mostly caused by the wildfires in Eastern Washington I think, but I’ve been practicing my photography on them.  A few of my favorites:
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I guess I should try to sleep now.

Oh and you can follow me on Instagram now, if you want: @thesassychicken

Sleepy non sleepers

10 Aug

I need to figure out a way to calm down when I’m stressed so I can sleep better.  The night after my job interview I barely slept.  Today I had another phone conversation with HR and my stomach is in knots waiting to see what will happen next.  The gist is that they like me, I like them, but I am unwilling to work as many days as they need.  They are now deciding whether they will hire me anyway, or go with someone willing to work all the hours they need now.  I’m stressing about which way it will go, if I am hired what will happen with childcare, not only for the days I do work but for the intense training period which will be about a month of full-time hours.  I still feel guilty about wanting to work, which logically I know doesn’t make sense, but emotions aren’t logical.

I have an interview request for another job pending, so even if the above doesn’t work out, there is another possibility on the horizon.  This second job isn’t as long of a commute, but is perhaps not as ideal of a fit for what I really want to do, so we will see where it leads.  The first place I just really liked all the people and the culture and the type of job, even if the commute sucks, but we will see if they are willing to allow me to only work 2.5 days a week.

I finally got Mars to take a nap today.  It was pretty late and involved way more rocking and singing than he usually needs but at least he slept a little.  Max had no car naps, which is good because he stayed in bed tonight instead of getting up eighteen times like last night.

I also tried and failed amusingly to take a picture of what I was wearing today.  I see other bloggers write about their mom-fashionyness and if I did this regularly it might help me get out of the rut of wearing the same stuff all the time but clearly my technique needs work!  Time to figure out the timer on my camera.  Too bad I don’t have a tripod.

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Sleep Strike

9 Aug

There is an all around sleep strike going on in our house right now and it is crazy making.  Max decided rather abruptly a few weeks ago he is done with naps.  I can not get him to even lay down and have quiet time unless there’s a screen involved and I am trying to limit how much electronic screen gazing he does.  He does go to bed earlier now at least mostly he will be asleep by 8pm, but today he slept enough in the car on some errands that he was wide awake (and repeatedly coming out of his room)  until at least 9:30.

Mars also suddenly will not nap for me,  and while I don’t like Max not napping,  it was going to happen  sooner or later.  Mars on the other hand at 20 months absolutely needs to nap.

They both get crazy and wild in increasing intensity as the day goes on.  Max seems to lose all impulse control and will continue to do things I have repeatedly asked him not to do.  Both get grouchy and go to pieces over nothing.  And if we drive anywhere at all they fall asleep in the car.  I don’t know how to fix it,  but it sucks. Without any sort of break during the day I start losing patience quickly.

This afternoon M,  seeing perhaps the steam rising in my brain,  took the boys for five hours so I could actually clean the house for once. Quiet and time to vacuum without “helpers” was amazing.

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Before bed Max and I took a quick walk,  with him astride his new strider bike.  He’s starting to get fast and it was a little dicey as I had to jog to keep up downhill but fortunately we had no wipe outs.

Contemplation

5 Aug

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Yesterday would have been my maternal grandmother’s 90th birthday. She died about 5 years ago from cancer. I still miss her and think of her often. On days when I have something important or special going on (and also sometimes just for fun) I wear her wedding ring, which I have to wear on my pinkie finger because she was very tiny. I put that ring on yesterday, not remembering it was her birthday at first, to go to the second interview for a job. The interview appeared to go well, really as well as I could have hoped. Now I wait another probably 8 or 9 days to find out whether I get the job, and in the meantime I stew—about whether I should take it if they offer it to me.

Here’s the thing, I want to do the work, I really like all the people I have met and it seems like a good company to work for. Also this is the first interview I have gotten in 7 months of looking so it’s not like there are tons of jobs out there for the taking and I really miss working.

The cons though: it is once again an hour plus commute each way, just like my last job (pro: I’m used to that, it wasn’t fun in the dark and the rain but the rest of the time it wasn’t that awful), and it’s more hours than I was hoping for. My ideal would be two days a week, which is what I worked before. This job will end up being 3-4 days a week (3 full days and then a half day every other week). Also, they aren’t sure which days it will be yet other than Tuesday which makes trying to figure out childcare pretty rough, and if they don’t at least pick Thursday as one of the other days then I will have no option for daycare at all since most places want MWF or TTH. I don’t want to take Max out of his preschool either. We all love it there. A nanny could be a solution but relying on one person who could flake out at any time leads to lots of headaches, we’ve been there before.

There is also the very unoriginal but totally guilt inducing battle that my kids are going to be little for such a short time and I don’t want to miss it, and yet they also sometimes drive me insane and I’m a much more patient mom when I get breaks from them to do other stuff. I was talking to my mom today about this dilemma. She always wanted to stay home with us, but she suspects her mom was jealous of the freedom she had working. Or should I take this day, one on which I wish I’d had more time with her, to hold my boys tight while they are still so little? I don’t know yet.

Wicked week

30 Jul

Well this post was written a week ago and never posted. Oops.

My mom’s birthday was this week and she came up to spend it with us.  Some women from the choir I sing with got a group rate on tickets to Wicked while it was in town and since the date ended up near my mom’s birthday I decided to take her with me.  I have seen the show before,  it’s one of my favorites,  but not for several years and it was really fun to share it with her.  Given our seats were pretty far away (even with the discount the Paramount theater is expensive!)  and I wished I remembered to bring binoculars.  Either way the music was phenomenal.  I almost ruined our evening by forgetting the tickets at home but luckily I remembered before we got on the bus to go downtown and we were able to run home and get them.  Waiting for the bus home at 10:30 at night on third avenue downtown was perhaps a bit of a risk (interesting people out and about at that time) b t we saved a ton of money and headache not having to park downtown.

On her actual birthday it was my in laws usual morning with the boys so Mom and I headed to Nordstrom to check out the sale.  We had so much fun- she has recently lost a LOT of weight (upwards of 50 pounds!) and this was the first time we have ever been able to shop in the same section.  I’m so proud of her and she looks so great- she had a bit more she wants to lose but she is already thinner than I remember her being though I have seen pictures from when I was little of her even smaller.  She looks younger on her 66th birthday than she has in years.

Last weekend M and I spent two nights at a nice hotel trying to catch up on sleep while my sainted in-laws wrangled the boys.  It was nice to get to spend some time together for once but we found we weren’t great at sleeping in – I woke by 7 both days.  We went to the Bellevue Arts festival which I learned later is one of the biggest in the world.  I didn’t realize how big it was and when wandering it kept turning corners and being amazed it was still going and going! I am an aspiring photographer (with zero skills or knowledge just interest!) and I spent some time looking at the professional works just trying to study what it was about them that made the shots great. (Incidentally my dad was a photographer for many years and still dabbles while pursuing other things but he isn’t very wordy so getting him to explain how stuff works in detail is hard.)

I may have made a little progress on the job front.  At least I got an interview somewhere which is progress.  I don’t know what will happen but I am cautiously optimistic.  The hardest part about job hunting is I only apply for jobs I am really excited about and seem a good fit so when it doesn’t work out it’s really hard to suck it up and move past the disappointment one more time. 

Snaps

22 Jul

I have been interested in photography since before Max was born,  but have never really had the right kind of camera to take great photos. My dad is a photographer and my whole life was always in my face with a camera.  Now I am doing the same to my kids! My brother in law (M’s brother in law.  Is he still also my brother in law? The labels are confusing) kindly loaned me, with the option to purchase, a mirrorless style camera which is fancier than a basic point and shoot camera but doesn’t do quite everything a giant dslr camera does.  So far I love it! I am a total novice just trying to wrap my sleep deprived brain around concepts like aperture,  iso and shutter speed but still I am getting great pictures.  For example:

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Yesterday I took the boys downtown on the bus.  We went to the aquarium,  which was fun although Mars’ incredibly short attention span made it hard to see the fish as much as I had wanted. We took a ride on the carousel on the pier and the kids both fell asleep in the stroller and I got a chance to walk through a bit of the Nordstrom sale before we checked out a Summer play area complete with live music before taking the bus home.  It was a fun and exhausting day. 

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To stay at home or to work?

14 Jul

On the internet there seems to be a lot of hand wringing and fighting about whether working vs stay at home moms are “better”.  I am having my own personal mommy war in my brain.  It’s been seven months since my job ended and I have applied for a few things but haven’t tried *that* hard to get a new job.  I am truly conflicted about whether I want a job at all.  The thing is, financially it doesn’t make that much of a difference for us.  By the time we pay for childcare and gas I’d wouldn’t be making all that much money, and with how very many days at least one child has been sick in the past 8 months I’m not sure I would have actually made it to work very much.  I also agonize over the options for childcare, mainly because Max is so sensitive and tortured by being left in a new situation with new people (he still sometimes freaks out when I leave him at his loved preschool).  I know he would eventually adapt but it still hurts.  And I want to be the kind of mom who goes on field trips and helps with homework after school and is on time to pick them up from school.  So just stay home right? I MISS WORKING.  I’ve been in kind of a funk lately.  I just miss work, talking to grown ups, using the knowledge I spent five years, hard work and a ton of money to obtain.  And then I feel guilty because my kids are only going to be little once.  Later I feel panicked that the longer I don’t work the harder it will be to get a job later (already in one interview I had the woman said, “what have you been DOING for the past six months?”)  M tells me I should just be pursuing places I might want to work in case something opens up, but I have neither the time, nor energy for long term planning like that.  I’ve applied for a few things as they come up, but most part-time jobs seem to be 3-4 days a week and involve an hour each way driving.  I’m not sure I want to be away from the kids for so long.  I miss my old job, where two days a week I was gone for maybe 9 hours, and I started early so I was home by 4pm.  But my old job was a contract that ended with no more funding for me now so I can’t get it back.  And there is part of me that wants to be at home.  In a year both kids will be in preschool part of the day and then perhaps I will have more time to pursue things I want to do.  In the meantime I need to figure out things I can do to keep me from going crazy.  I’m still applying for things as they come up but the opportunities are few and far between and the likelihood of me finding the right fit and actually get hired is low.  And it varies from day to day how I feel about that.

One thing that I’ve discovered is Mars and I can not sit at home while Max is at school.  When he was littler he would play or snuggle with me while I watched tv in the background.  He is no longer content to play alone at home and has tantrum after tantrum because he wants to play outside in the front of our house (which is currently under construction and not the safest place).  So we go to the gym, the store, the park—anywhere but home (shudder to think what we will do when the weather gets crappy again).  He still screeches at me while Max naps—not much I can do about that.  Mars lately has been taking one, 60 min nap and that’s it.  Max will usually sleep 1.5-2 hours or longer, but Mars (who frankly is the one I could use a break from) wakes up just as I finally get Max down for his nap.  It is this juggling that exhausts me, the tantrums and insistence on doing things that are not allowed or unsafe.  It wears me down.  Once Max is up to play with Mars is much happier , and they sometimes play very nicely together (other times Max doesn’t want Mars anywhere near him or Mars just destroys whatever Max is trying to build or do).
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They are mostly fun and funny and sweet and as much as I complain about being tired I love being their mom.  I had a date with Max on Sunday night and we went to see “Minions.”  It was nice to have some one on one time.  Mars is still passionately territorial when it comes to me and will throw himself into my lap if Max is coming near me, and still gets upset every time we go to the chiropractor even though you’d think he would be used to it by now.  They are funny guys.

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