Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Where I've been

Years from now I'll look back at my blog books (yet to be printed...) and find a giant hole during the end of 2013. And then I'll wonder what on earth happened that made me so incapable of writing during the holidays.

The truth is that while it's been an emotional, tiring, stressful and often frustrating few months for us, it certainly hasn't been the hardest months of our lives or the busiest or the least blog-worthy.

So there's really no good reason not to have written. Except that I'm trying hard to live my life. Instead of spending so much time re-living and pre-living.

November was largely spent packing, moving, rental-house hunting and worrying.
At the same time we lost our incredible tenants at the house we still own. So we also spent many hours driving back and forth between here and NSL for showings, repairs, frozen pipes, and other concerns.
Then of course there was the usual holiday shuffle.
Beyond that my ever-present anxiety decided that this was all far too much for a person of my caliber to handle. So things here have left much to be desired in terms of happiness and stability.

The good news is that with the regularity of the new year, the routine, the lack of obligations and the joy of an empty calendar, all of this is becoming easier every day.

So to my future self who can't remember what was going on? Plenty. All of it worth writing about. None of it compelling enough to drag me out of my own brain and onto my computer.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas 2013

The thing about having an awesome job in nursing is that you get a lot of regular old weekdays off. Which is thoroughly enjoyable for a person like me who would rather go to the zoo in the bitter cold of January on a Wednesday and have the whole place to myself with no special programs, shows, or animals than go in July with all the cool stuff and all the people too.

Anyway, this year Josh had to work a full day on Christmas Day, so back in November he asked the person who was working Christmas Eve if she wanted to do half days of both with him so they could be be around for stuff with their families on both days and she was all for it.

But then just before Thanksgiving another lady he works with asked him if he could cover for her Christmas Eve afternoon so she could leave earlier in the day to drive to CA to see her kids. She's a single mom, and her working in the afternoon would mean she'd leave Utah at 7pm and drive all night to be there for Christmas morning - or miss it. Of course he said yes.

So he wound up working most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. Which is why our Christmas Day pictures (which number a grand total of 30) were taken at 2pm and they have pictures of a progressively drooping (and eventually sleeping) dad in the background.

He was totally exhausted, but the boys were happy to slowly open their presents and lick a bit of every dang piece of candy the dumbest (and most panicked) Santa in the world gave them.

They both got new colored pencils and notebooks for the car. Tommy has finally taken up coloring (thank you Preschool!) and John is following because if there's one thing these boys love, it's doing the same thing.

Tommy got Magnetix. Santa is stupid. It boasts on the box "108 pieces!" and Santa thought "he'll think it's so cool to build stuff with these tiny magnetic pieces!" But that was false. What is fun is taking all of these pieces out of the box and making the "longest pewer (gun. cuz guns say "pew!") ever." And then stringing that pewer out in the middle of the floor. On the other hand, Tommy is happy. So Santa is a little smart.

They were just so happy to *finally* open their presents, and Josh was so excited, and every new present was exciting and fun and very very interesting.

After slowly opening presents and John taking a nap while Tommy touched EVERYthing, we left the mess in the living room and went to visit the grandmas. Which was (as always) a lovely time. 

We stopped at Grandma Egbert's and exchanged gifts and did puzzles and looked at her amazing Christmas village. The boys had a blast. 

Then we went to Grandma Reilley's and exchanged gifts and ate food and sat around talking and playing withe gifts until well past bedtime. We all had a beautiful time. 

The boys were especially excited about the marble run that Grandma Reilley gave them. 

We set it up and ran it over and over again. Now it's part of our morning routine, wake up, dump out the marble run pieces and start whacking each other with "the longest pewer ever" then run as many marbles as we can find (2 or 3 usually...we need more marbles) down it until "pewering" sounds more fun again.

Oddly, Josh working made our holiday even better than normal. It was mellow, and slow and calm and relaxed. We were excited longer than normal, and we had a beautiful time.

I got family pictures from the fabulous Tracy Layne and Josh got a Kindle Fire. Both things we've wanted for a long time and have been saving for, and it just so happened that we found great deals in time for Christmas that lined up with our saved cash.

Josh's only surprise was a cooshy (but wildly unattractive) bath mat because we'd been using an old towel on the floor since we moved in. Though it sounds like a super lame gift, this was my embracing his cooshiness. Letting him be him.

By far the best part of Christmas for me was opening a gift from Josh. He wrote a letter that I'll save for the rest of my life and read often.

And of course, because I know you're dying to know, the boys both got flashlights. And spare batteries. But not too many spare batteries because batteries are stupid-expensive. I think next year they'll get crank flashlights and can fuel them with their own power.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Being A Mom

I've been struggling with balancing work and home life. I'm torn between wanting to quit to stay home with my babes, and really loving my job and never wanting to give it up.

There are plenty of days that I hate my job, and I hate going to work, and I just want to stay home and read stories with my kids, and sit with them to build marble runs, and eat cereal out of the box for lunch. But that's what weekends are for, right?

There are also plenty of days that I wipe my brow dramatically as I drive off to talk to grown ups, thanking my lucky stars that I don't have to sit and build marble runs, or read the Cat In The Hat one more time, and I can eat a whole meal (a real one even!) all by myself without sharing.

So you see, I'm torn. Just like every other mom I know. 

Of course none of that has anything to do with our finances which mostly require my employment. But I sometimes wonder, if I wasn't working, would we be able to adjust to life without my income? Are we within the adjustable range? Or is it really really necessary for me to work? As stupid as it sounds, this is the least of my worries. I'm far more concerned about whether or not my kids are happy (they are) and I am happy (often) and Josh is happy (usually).

For now I am happy to keep working. Though I have bad days during which I text Josh saying "tell me I love me job? Because I can't remember right now." And he does.

Being happy with working also means making extra effort to thoroughly enjoy the time I am not working.

On Wednesday afternoons I leave work a couple of hours early, and I come home determined to be a fun mom. The kind on pinterest. The kind my boys get to boss around. The kind I wish I could be all the time, but simply lack the patience to be.

So this Wednesday, when I walked in the door and the babies came running for me (there's nothing quite like someone being SO happy to see you, is there?) they immediately told me they wanted to go outside. So I dropped my bag on the kitchen table and we got on our snow clothes. All of us. But especially Little John. Who couldn't put his arms down if he tried.

I thought we'd just play in the backyard for while, which we did. Even built a snowman (while singing about building a snowman - thank you Frozen) and "threw a snowball fight" (thank you Tommy) but before long John started walking down the street.

For every ounce of Tommy never wanting to leave my side, John has a pound of explorer in him. He can't stand to be in the backyard when there's a perfectly good sidewalk leading somewhere RIGHT THERE! So I followed him, and Tommy followed me, and we decided to go to the park. Once Tommy realized we had a destination, he took the lead and insisted that we "follow my froot-pints!" and we did.

In case you're a idiot  first time mom, let me help you with one concept. Wet slides are water slides. And water slides are slippery. And if you're trying to take an adorable picture of your child going down the slide, you're likely to catch one of these.

And at the end of that, is a baby on his bum who has just launched 2 feet from the end of the slide. Of course this means he doesn't want to go down again without you, so of course you go up to slide down and show him how it's done. Which is a nice idea, but when you wind up on your butt 2 feet from the end of the slide you sortof feel foolish.

So, the equation is: snow + plastic slide + snowpants = shooting down the slide like a bobsled. You're welcome.

Of course eventually we learned that it was more fun for me to stay on the ground and catch the babes as they shot out off the end of the slide. 

Those are the kinds of days that leave me loving motherhood. Playing in the snow, hot chocolate, bubbles baths, and home in time to make dinner? Lovely. 

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