This Month's Topic: Focus on Finance

Quite the Birthday

We didn’t have a big party for Anna this year – Sarah and Jill still joke that her first birthday party was so large it was a cotillion –  but I’m still feeling pretty exhausted after her big day.

On Saturday, we’d planned a family “party” at The Beach Waterpark in Mason. When it rained, we bagged The Beach and went to an indoor waterpark called Coco Key instead.

It was awesome! The kids loved it, especially Brayden, which leaves me wondering whose birthday we were celebrating, anyways, but I guess that’s life… A few of the adults who shall remain nameless (ahem, Sarah and Jill) even left their kids with our parents so they could take a few trips down the water slides themselves. Then we shared some pizza and chicken fingers, stuck two candles in a cupcake, sang “Happy Birthday” and watched Anna open her presents. Success!

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I didn’t give much thought to today either, Anna’s actual birthday, but I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. There was the issue this morning of trying to get a proper birthday picture, which Anna wouldn’t quite cooperate with…

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But, once that was over, we went to the pool with my sisters, mom and a few friends and, once again, sang “Happy Birthday” and opened presents. Only this time, we ate peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Anna is one lucky girl!

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Just before naptime, I found this…

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…but I couldn’t get too mad at her since it was her birthday. Then, after naptime, there was a lot of emotional turbulence, but, luckily, happy Anna won out. (Why, oh, why was she was so angry at that bag of animal crackers? They were iced, Anna! Iced!)

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We met Kevin at Hahana Beach in Mariement – a sand volleyball/bar food-type place – at around 6 p.m. for dinner. It was great because there were a few leagues going on, but plenty of available space still. The kids quickly went to work playing in the sand.

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When we came home, it was time for more singing and cupcakes. I truly think this birthday was the first time Anna has appreciated the fact that, sometimes, singing and gifts are for her. It’s been nice to see her react so happily.

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And then it was finally time for presents… yes, more presents! Anna loved her Pottery Barn chair from Nana and Papa the best…

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…but that left Brayden feeling a little jealous, so we let him open one of the toys we’d hid after his birthday a few months ago.

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Yes, it was definitely quite the birthday, although, reading this, I’m afraid there’s a slight chance I may have had one too many cupcakes and cookies. Oh, well. I still call it a success!

Baby No. 2?

pregnancy testLet me clarify, this blog is about hypothetical baby No. 2… I think. In the seven months since Austin was born, I have taken one pregnancy test. It was more of a “No way. I can’t be pregnant, but I better take this test to make sure so I can feel better about finishing this glass of wine.”

Kyle and I decided a few months ago that we want to have our kids close together. It just makes sense for us. But I’m now starting to wonder: How close is too close? I want my kids to be close in age, but I also don’t want to rush this time with Austin.

I like that I can plop him on my belly and play airplane with him. I like that we can go down slides and, when he kicks me in the stomach, it doesn’t matter. I like that my main focus is Austin. It stresses me out just thinking about being pregnant and having to focus on that, too.

I do agree that the best gift you can give your child is a sibling, I just can’t believe it has been only seven months and baby No. 2 is already on the brain. I can’t believe how fast it is going. I guess when the time is right to have another baby, we’ll know. I don’t think there will ever be a perfect time. I just want to soak in as much time with Austin while I can.

While it is just the three of us.

“Sharknado” Night In

On Saturday night, Adam and I did something we haven’t done in a LONG while. We put the kids to bed, sat on the couch with popcorn and a glass of wine each, and we watched a movie.

It’s honestly been years since this has happened. Usually, after the kids go to bed, Adam and I putter around the house, finishing all the little tasks, like cleaning tPHvf6lEANnmQyD_3_mhe toy room and doing dishes, then sit down in front of the TV, with a pile of laundry or a computer, and watch something silly for about 20 minutes before one or both of us decides it’s time to go to bed.

Don’t get me wrong; we’ve had our date nights and those are as lovely as ever, but it’s become a rare event for both of us to sit in our own house, with nothing else to do except watch a movie together.

Why is that? I guess, for me, it’s the guilt. There’s always something I should be doing around the house. Always a to-do list to check off. And even if I’m not completing the list, I’m thinking about the things on the list I need to complete and mentally going over in my head when I will complete them. Sounds miserable and it is, but that’s the way I function.

Adam is an extremely hard worker and, most of the time, he has some work that he brings home with him from the office. He’s incredible in the fact that he waits until the kids are in bed to do said work, but it usually means he’s working from 9 until midnight or later two to three nights a week.

Lastly, we’re both way too tired to put forth the effort of watching a movie together. I know, that sounds sad, too. Effort to watch a movie? But trust me, it does take an effort. The kids have been going to bed later and later this summer, which I honestly don’t mind. The sun’s still up and it’s not nearly as hot at 7 p.m. so it’s their chance to be outside without burning up. Anyways, with the kids going to bed around 9 each night, it pretty much means our evenings don’t start until around 9:30 or so; that is, if all the little tasks go quickly.

Most of the time, I’m so thansharknado29f-2-webkful for the time to myself that I can’t wait to get into bed, stretch out and read something silly or watch something stupid on TV.

But last night was different. Maybe it was because we actually did a lot on our to-do list that I felt like we deserved this kind of night. Or maybe it was because I was REALLY excited to watch this “Sharknado” movie that I’d heard so much about. Whatever the reason, I am so glad it happened.

The movie was terribly, horrifically awesome. We had so much fun laughing together. We ate popcorn, drank some wine and just sat. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s on the SyFy channel and, honestly, it was totally worth it. (If for nothing else but to be able to laugh about it the next day.)

Admittedly, we watched the last 20 minutes in our bedroom (heck,  it was 11 o’clock!) and, also admittedly, I had vivid dreams about sharks all night. (Even though it was comical how silly the movie was, there were still sharks eating people; that gets to my subconscious every time!) But it was absolutely a great way to spend a Saturday evening in.

Will I watch “Sharknado” ever again? Probably not. Will I joke about it with my husband? Over and over again. Will Adam and I try to do this movie night in more often? We’d better! I hear there are plans for a sequel in the works… “Sharknado 2,” anyone??

 

My Baby’s Becoming a Toddler

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Anna about a month ago, before I took away her pacifier

My baby’s turning 2 on Tuesday.

You know me. I’m not one to be nostalgic, and I don’t know if it’s because we just found out she is going to have to get tubes or because she’s turning 2, but I’m feeling surprisingly sentimental.

She was standing next to me at the mirror today while I put on make-up, watching me and simultaneously applying her own bright-red, pretend lipstick. Even though she’s still very much my 5-pound baby daughter, in many ways, she’s also my little girl.

I’ve always thought of 2 as the true dividing line between toddler- and babyhood. Whether or not that’s true, there are definitely ways I now see Anna straddling the divide.

She’s my baby when I’m lifting her into my arms and, because she’s so light, I feel like I could be picking up a doll instead of a child. Or when she’s sitting on my lap with her head on my chest. Or when she’s strolling through the house with her green and pink bunny loveys clutched firmly to her chin.

She’s my baby when she’s sick, when her nose is running and her breathing is shallow and raspy. She’s my baby when she cries when I leave the room, or she cries when we’re at a restaurant because I have to leave to run to the restroom.

She’s my baby when she won’t let a004nyone hold her but me, when Brayden goes into her room to say “hi” after naptime but she keeps crying for me anyways. When she stands at the screen door and cries when I have to leave her with anyone but me for any length of time. When she puts her soft, little hand in mine when we’re crossing the street.

But there are times, too, when I see shadows of what my baby will be in a few years’ time. Of the little girl that’s slowly but surely forming inside her.

She’s my little girl when she takes a bite of her sandwich because I tell her mommy’s sad (and nothing else will work), or when she does what I’m asking her because I say “please.” Or when she realizes I’m out of the room and decides not to cry, but to sneak the bag of Goldfish crackers out of the pantry instead. Or when she rocks her baby doll to sleep and tells me, “Baby’s crying.”

She’s my little girl when she asks me if I’m OK when I hurt myself (“OK, Mommy?”), or when she grins her big, gap-toothed grin at me, or when she reads her books aloud to herself.

She’s my little girl when she drifts farther and farther away from me at the pool (wearing her Puddle Jumper, of course, and always reaching out to grasp my hand when IMG_20130724_184223she gets too far), when she insists on “I do! I do!” when I’m trying to get her into her car seat. When she throws herself at my feet and rolls around on the ground in the throes of a tantrum. When she runs up to me and, out of nowhere, hugs my legs.

She’s my baby girl, but she’s also my little girl. I’ll miss the baby, sure, but I think the little girl and I will get along just fine. So happy birthday, Anna baby, my sweet but sassy daughter.

Two Sick Kids Equals More Work for Momma

My kids went to the doctor’s office today. Both sick with a runny nose and an ugly cough. Both diagnosed with a cold that turned into a sinus infection. Although, Noah didn’t know he was seeing the doctor for his cold. He thought he was there for a blister on his foot.

Let me backtrack for a minute. Adam had to go to a work dinner last night and wouldn’t be home until late, so we went for a long walk with Colleen, Brayden and Anna. It was a beautiful night, a storm had just rolled through, which meant it was cool and less humid, and a walk was just what we needed after being cooped up in the house all day.

"The blister is right here, Mommy."

“The blister is right here, Mommy.”

During the walk, Noah kept stopping and crouching down. I thought he just needed to go to the bathroom, but it turns out that the Crocs he was wearing were rubbing on the inside of his foot and giving him a blister. Although it was a simple blister, one that everyone’s had the chance to experience at least once in their life, it was a big deal for Noah. He pointed it out to me when I put him in his car seat and threw his head back in despair as I examined it. My oh-so dramatic son.

The entire ride home, he told me his sob story through cries. It went something like, “Running with Brayden, want to catch Brayden, shoe hurt my foot, got boo-boo.” I heard the same story over and over and over the whole ride home.

When we got home, I instantly took both kids upstairs, plopped Sophia down on her blanket and performed first aid on my little guy’s foot. I washed it, put antiseptic cream on it and bandaged it. Noah was very interested in the entire process and retold his pathetic story, nose running the entire time.

Quickly, I dressed both kids in their pajamas and frantically fed Sophia her bottle. I squeezed my little girl as she coughed and sniffled her way through the bottle, and I watched Noah limp around the room on his “injured” foot.  It was going to be a long night.

After the books were read and the songs were sung, it was time to go to bed. Noah started up again. “Socks off. Band-Aid off. Boo-boo hurt. Snuggle time?” I did whatever he wanted. He was sick and had a blister on his foot. I was putty in his hands. While we were sitting on his big comfy chair together, he said something that made me want to cry right along with him, especially considering he paired it with the largest, glassiest eyes you’ve ever seen.

“I don’t want boo-boo anymore.”

"Thank you for paying attention to me, Mommy!" (I swear this is what she's saying when she smiles at me like that.)

“Thank you for paying attention to me, Mommy!” (I swear this is what she’s saying when she smiles at me like that.)

Ugh. That hurt. I didn’t want him to have it anymore either. And then I looked at Sophia, whom I’d moved from the blanket to the bouncy chair so I could snuggle with Noah for a moment. She smiled her sweet smile back at me with snot streaming from her nose. And my heart just about broke.

It is the WORST when your kid gets sick. You feel so badly for them and can only do so much to make them feel better. With both kids sick, it’s been just terrible.

They both need their mom, at the same time. And all I want to do is be there for both of them, at the same time. But I can’t. If I’m holding or helping one, the other one is left out in the cold. And that is just awful.

Even as I type these words my heart hurts. This is my life. This is how it’s going to be. I have two children, who may need me at the same time, and there’s only so much I can do. Sometimes, they’ll be quick fixes, like finding a shoe, or helping them out of the car, and sometimes, they’ll need me for something I can’t really fix.

Motherhood is hard. You love your kids more than anything else in your whole world, you do everything in your power to keep them happy and healthy, and you try your best to make sure they know no pain. It’s an impossible goal, and yet, every day, I have to strive toward it.

Last night, I went to bed feeling like a failure.  Both of my kids were sick and hurting, and I couldn’t make them feel better. I couldn’t even give them my undivided attention. It was and will almost always be divided.

IMG_7981This morning, at exactly 8 a.m., I called the pediatrician’s office to make an appointment for both kids, and, 40 minutes later, we were in the office, letting the doctor give my babies the once-over and receiving a prescription for antibiotics. As Noah led the way out of the office, limping the whole time (the doctor assured him he was going to make it and wouldn’t lose the foot), I breathed a sigh of relief.

I drove to pick up their medicine and began to feel better. Antibiotics would help. However, I know it will never be over, not really. They will have aches and pains all their lives, some that I can fix, and some that I can’t. But I will continue to wake up every morning working toward this goal: I will do everything in my power to keep my kids happy, healthy and feeling loved. It may be impossible, but it’s motherhood. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Day in the Life of a Working Mom

Yesterday, I felt the tiniest ounce of what working moms must experience every day.

I recently started working at an office once a week or so, to complete the freelance work I’ve been unable to get to at home in the roughly one hour of free time I have a day while the kids are “sleeping” (read: playing in their rooms until they complain so much I give up and give them suckers).

My mother-in-law had volunteered to watch the kids yesterday so I could work. Coincidentally, yesterday was also Brayden’s first day at camp at the YMCA. My mother-in-law told me she’d meet me at the Y so she could take Anna home with her from there, and then she could come back to pick Brayden up from camp later.

I was excited about camp. I’d signed Brayden up for a preschool camp that ran from 9 to noon every day for a week. Brayden had three other friends who had signed up with him, and – the best part – the camp, at least his week of it, had a cars and trains theme. Perfect, right?

Brayden was so excited on Sunday night when I put him to bed. “I get to go to camp after this nap, Mommy?” When I nodded, he replied “Yay!” with the biggest smile on his face.

For some reason, though, I couldn’t fall asleep that night, and when Brayden started screaming around 11:30, I was still lying in bed awake. It sounded like he was hurt, so I ran into his room and flipped the light switch.

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Brayden had to take a backpack to camp, so, of course, Anna had to wear hers, too.

“My leg hurts,” he said between sobs.

I gave him some Ibuprofen, told him it was just growing pains and laid down next to him, rubbing his back and trying to calm him down. He did, for a little bit, but every time he’d finally drift off, he’d start crying in his sleep and grabbing at his leg. I felt bad for him, but around 2:30, I decided it was time to swap out.

“Kevin,” I whispered to my unsuspecting husband back in our room. “I’ve been in Brayden’s room since 11:30. Would you mind going in there for awhile?”

Luckily, Kevin got up without question and took my place in Brayden’s bed.

The next morning, Brayden was fine.

“We get to go to camp now, Mommy?” “Now, Mommy?” “Now, Mommy?”

Unfortunately, Mommy was tired.

“Soon, Brayden, soon. Just finish your breakfast.”

I raced around the house, trying to get all of our stuff together, the kids and I dressed and fed and out the door so we could be at the Y at 9.

By the time we were loaded into the car and I’d made two trips back inside to grab things I’d forgotten, it was 8:50… and raining.

We pulled up to the Y, and I hastily ushered the kids out of the car and onto the sidewalk. We ran into the building and asked where preschool camp was supposed to be meeting. A lady at the front desk told me to take the elevator downstairs and find the last door on the left. We piled into the elevator, walked quickly down the hall and presented ourselves in front of the last door on the left.

“Is this preschool camp?”

A woman wearing glasses but nothing resembling a smile greeted us.

“It’s not here. This is preschool class. You can leave him here, though, I guess, if you don’t know where he’s supposed to be.”

Brayden, having already spotted kids on the floor playing with cars and trucks, kept trying to put his backpack in a cubby and join in.

“Brayden,” I hissed to him, “this isn’t your camp, buddy. We have to go find it.” To the unsmiling preschool teacher, I replied, “Um, that’s OK. I’m not going to leave him here if this isn’t where his camp meets.”

We hurried back down the hall to the elevator. Just then, I noticed I had a new text on my phone. It was from my friend, telling me no one knew where camp was supposed to meet or where the counselor was, so they were in the gym.

We met them there at five after 9. Because of the rain, all of the daycare and camp kids had been shepherded into the gym. It was loud, and pretty overstimulating for 3 and 4 year olds, I’m sure. By the time the counselor finally showed up around 9:10, four of the seven kids in the camp were sobbing.

Thankfully, Brayden wasn’t one of them.

I told him goodbye and left the gym, with more than a few backward glances over my shoulder. The camp was horribly organized. Should I really leave him there? What if the counselor didn’t pay him any attention? What if he got lost somehow? But my mother-in-law was waiting for me outside to take Anna, and, of course, I had to get to work.

I arrived at the office just before 10, already exhausted from my sleepless night and trying to push the image of the tiny preschoolers crammed into a gym full of older kids out of my head. It would be fine. Of course, it would.

And then I thought of the women – the many, many women – who do this every day, and who get to the office long before my pathetic 10 a.m. arrival.

Wow, is all I can say. Wow. You’re amazing. And I’m… I’m going to take a nap.

Losing the Baby Weight and Gaining My Motivation

Before I had Austin, I read a lot of magazines that promised me that if I breastfed, I would drop the baby weight immediately.

I now know that those magazines lie.

I was fully prepared to sit back, breastfeed and watch the weight melt away. OK, so maybe that’s possible if you don’t gain 40-plus pounds, but some of us look at pregnancy as a free-for-all and decide that ice cream every night is a good idea. (I felt like because I couldn’t have alcohol, I was entitled to ice cream; not the best life decision.)

This is me right before Austin was born.  I have a few less chin rolls now :)

This is me right before Austin was born. I have fewer chin rolls now.

At any rate, I found myself 9 months pregnant and dangerously close to being the same weight as my husband. Not ideal. It didn’t matter, though, I was going to breastfeed, the pounds would fade away, and, from under all of that baby weight, rock-hard abs would somehow emerge.

I will admit, in the first two months, I lost a pretty good amount of weight. I went to my six-week appointment feeling great about myself. But, after a few weeks went by, the weight didn’t seem to be “falling off” as I had been promised. I believe Heidi Klum lost her baby weight in, like, 17 hours, so I was naturally expecting the same results.

I will also admit that I have not been very diligent about exercising. We walk every day and, up until a few days ago, I was feeling pretty satisfied with my progress. I would find myself justifying it to Kyle, saying, “I mean, I just had a baby. I look OK, right?”

But, seven months later, I guess I can’t say that I just had a baby. So, I’ve decided I’m going to start running outside with Austin. I mean, he gets up at 6, I might as well make good use of my time. Plus, no one is awake at 6 to watch me struggle around my neighborhood. I know I don’t have a whole lot more to lose, and people tell me to just remember that it takes you nine months to put that weight on, so you should give yourself time to take it off.

Unfortunately, I’m getting close to nine months. I better get moving!

Empty Threats and the Desperate Parents Who Make Them

Noah went to “time out” yesterday.

Let me be clear. Noah goes to “time out” a few times a day, but yesterday’s “time out” was one that will be remembered.

Noah threw a toy up in the air while his sister, Sophia, was stretched out on a blanket in the room. It was a big “no, no.” He knows very well he’s not supposed to throw anything but balls. He also knows that when his sister is on the ground nearby, he has to be especially careful.

Adam reminded him of these rules after the incident. He threatened that if Noah did it again, he’d take the toy away and Noah would go to “time out.” About five seconds later, my little boy did it again. The exact same toy, getting even more height than before.

Not actually his time out spot, but that's the look we get as soon as time out is over, that wide-eyed, innocent, "I don't know what I did wrong!" look.

Not actually his “time out” spot, but that’s the look we get as soon as “time out” is over; that wide-eyed, innocent, “I don’t know what I did wrong!” look.

Adam took the toy, grabbed Noah, who was trying to escape the punishment by climbing over the couch, and promptly placed him in his “time out” spot. Noah began to wail and Adam began to count. I stayed firmly put on the blanket with Sophia, listening to the next few events unfold.

One, two, three…

I heard a scuffle and a slap. Adam gasped. “Noah! You do not hit Daddy!” Noah cried louder, and Adam started to count again.

One, two, three, four…

I heard another scuffle and, again, Adam gasped. “Noah, you do not hit or kick!” Noah moaned and whined as Adam began to count again.

One, two, three…

This time, through the wails, moans and cries, Adam made it to 30. Noah immediately stopped crying. He clearly knew that when we hit 30, “time out” was over. Little stinker.

But Adam was not done yet. “Noah, if you hit or kick anyone, we will never do anything fun ever again.”

And that was the end of “time out.”

Adam and Noah returned to the room, Noah completely unfazed, smiling and getting back to his toys, Adam red-faced and sweating. I couldn’t hide my smile.

“So, Noah isn’t going to have any fun ever again, huh?” I chuckled.

My good-natured husband smiled back. “Yeah, thinking back on that, it wasn’t the best threat I’ve ever made. Oh, well.”

We’ve all done it. We’ve all reached the end of our ropes and said things we don’t mean. I’ve done it with my parents, my sisters, my friends, my husband, and, especially, my kids (well, just Noah at this point, but I’m sure Sophia will hear them soon enough).

Just today, I told Noah he wouldn’t ever wear shoes again if he kept taking them off in the car. Good one, Sarah. Way to teach him.

I guess there’s something so satisfying about making a threat. You feel in control. Like you’re the boss. Then, a few seconds later, you realize how ridiculous you sound. And how ridiculous some of those threats really are.

I especially love the threat, “If you don’t stop, we’re going home.” Heck, no, we’re not going home. We just spent 45 minutes getting all of our stuff together to get out the door, I’ll be darned if we turn around now! After the baby/toddler phase ends, I do believe that threat may become more plausible. As the preparation time and equipment packing lessens, the more apt I will be to turn the car around and go back home. But right now, I need the time out of the house, and I’ve worked especially hard to make sure we get it.

My sweet, little stinker

I’m sure the threats will keep coming, whether I mean them or not, and whether Noah takes them seriously or not. Sometimes I will follow through, like when I tell him that I will take the toy away if he throws it again. Other times, I’m equally sure, it will simply exist just to make me feel better, and maybe even let me laugh at myself for a second. Afterwards, we’ll move on.

Yes, the threats will continue, and my poor kid will just have to go through life without any fun and without any shoes. You hear that, Noah? No fun and no shoes!

Now, let’s get your bathing suit and Crocs on. We’re going to the pool.

 

The Benefits of Adults-Only Trips

This has been the first year where both Kevin and I have felt like the kids are old enough for us to take a night here or there without them (not that we haven’t before, of course, we just feel better about it now).

Kevin’s OK if I leave them with him for an occasional overnight, or three in a row, as I’ll be doing in September, and I’m OK if he leaves them with me… often, actually, although most of that is job-related.

And, needless to say, we’re both OK if we’re able to leave them with his parents or my parents and go somewhere together.

So, now that I have some nights like this under my belt and a few more on the horizon, I feel adequately credentialed to speak on the benefits of adults-only trips.

1) Naptime and bedtime routines don’t exist for you.

As much as I love naptime and bedtime at home, they’re actually more of a buzz-kill when you’re traveling.

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Look at how relaxed we are!

In Disney World, we’d take the 25-minute-long bus ride back to our hotel every day so we could put the kids down for naps, and then pack everything back up and take the 25-minute-long bus ride back to the park when naptime was over. One day, we skipped this routine, and the kids melted down early and often, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t have kept naptime. I’m just saying it can really put a cramp in your day.

When you travel without kids and realize that 2 p.m. means nothing more to you than, “Oh, I’m hungry. I was having so much fun I forgot about lunch,” or that 8 p.m. means nothing more than, “It’s 8 p.m., and I’m not at home! Bring on the Jell-O shots!”, you’ll realize the benefits are pretty self-evident. (And yes, you should also realize the Jell-O shot line was a complete fabrication, even though the celebratory sentiment was accurate.)

2) Car rides and flights are actually (gasp!) relaxing.

You can read celebrity gossip magazines or books to your heart’s content. You can also be in charge of your music choices. (That’s pure heaven when you’re usually listening to kids’ sing-a-long songs… although, let’s be honest, “Rent” has been playing in my car of late. I’m always so proud when Brayden chimes in, “My T-cells are low. I regret that news.”)

You can also sleep in the car or plane, rest your head against the window and watch the world go by, or have a conversation that lasts longer than two seconds. (If you couldn’t tell, I feel particularly strongly about that last one. I can’t tell you how many times Kevin or I have said, “Tell me later. I can’t hear you,” over the banging or screaming that always seems to follow our children.)

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This is awesome!

You also won’t have anyone there to kick your seat a million times a minute. Unless you’re sitting in front of a kid on a plane, in which case, sorry, you’re pretty much out of luck. And no, I don’t think politely turning around and informing the child’s parents that you left your kids at home so you wouldn’t have to deal with such annoying kid stuff is going to get you anything more than a glare. (You should definitely be safe from cussing, though; there is a child present, after all.)

3) The only mouth you have to worry about feeding is your own.

This is probably particularly foreign to you by now, but yes, sometimes, the only person you’re responsible for in the near vicinity is you. So chow down, baby!

My friend and I recently went to Cleveland on an overnight trip to visit some college friends. There were couples there with young children, and, when it was time to eat, I can’t tell you how strange it felt to only get myself a plate. I can’t tell you the last time I missed a meal, don’t get me wrong (so you’re probably gathering by now that the line earlier about how I was having so much fun I forgot to eat lunch was also a complete fabrication), but to only be in charge of one plate was just so amazing and new. I actually felt bad about all the other parents trying to scarf down their food in less than five seconds so they could be on kid duty and the spouse could eat.

I felt bad, but I ate. And I even went back for seconds… yeah, that could’ve easily happened anyways, though.

4) You wake up when you want to wake up, instead of to your child crying or screeching “Mommy!”

Sure, the kids are pretty reliable alarm clocks most of the time, but really, sometimes you just don’t want it to be them waking you up. You’d rather be woken up by birds singing, the smell of pancakes cooking from the kitchen or… basically anything other than your child crying or screeching.

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Be warned, though: You will start to miss their little faces, especially when you think about how they’re starting to play together on purpose!

When you wake up under a different roof than the roof under which your children are waking, you’re free. The getting-ready process is actually an opportunity to take your time and think through some things, rather than rushing as fast as you can because your kids are grabbing your legs and crying, and breakfast is another example of how amazing it feels to only have one mouth to feed.

5) You aren’t packing everything from your house into a suitcase.

You may be a notorious over-packer, as I am, but at least when the kids aren’t going you don’t feel like you’re packing everything but the kitchen sink into your car. You only need to re-read Jill’s post on packing from last month to know the amount you have to pack for a trip when you have kids is borderline insane.

So throw in that sarong you haven’t worn since you had kids, or that fedora you bought because it was so trendy but, of course, you’ve had nowhere to wear it yet.

This is your time to shine, adults on adults-only trips! Enjoy it! Bring on the Jell-O shots, or, if you’re past that stage as I clearly am, maybe the “Rent” soundtrack?

 

 

Baby-Led Weaning?

OK, so it’s really only one question…

I recently bought a book about baby-led weaning and started reading. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of anything non-fiction or non-chick lit, which is why I quickly put it down and moved on to Mindy Kaling’s book.  (If anyone’s wondering, it’s hilarious.)

But, for those of you who may not know, and according to babyledweaning.com, baby-led weaning means letting your baby, usually around 6 months old, feed themselves from the very start of weaning. (It’s also important to clarify that the term uses the British definition of “wean,” which means adding complementary foods, whereas in the United States it means giving up breastfeeding.)

Anyways, Austin turned 7 months old today, and the only real “complementary foods” I’ve given him so far are green beans and cucumber. That’s it. I’m completely terrified of anything else. So, I thought I would use my blog today to get input.

What kinds of solids did you feed your 7 month old? I need inspiration, please!