Thursday, November 27, 2008

A little too excited about seeing the Snoopy balloon for the 28th year in a row

Is there anything better than watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade sitting on a couch with a sleeping baby in your lap, a toddler snuggled up next to you on the couch with his Phent, his pillow, and his "covers"?

Yes, sitting on a couch with a sleeping baby in your lap, a toddler snuggled up next to you on the couch with his Phent, his pillow, and his "covers", and a piping hot cup of Starbucks coffee in your hand. Thanks Ryan!!

The coffee was an especially welcome treat after Wesley woke up the whole fam-damily at 5:30. We rolled Charlie's Pack and Play into the bathroom and loaded it up with toys, but we could still hear him. "Water? Mama? Papa? Water? Please? Books? Help? Help please? Uh oh! Help! Help!"

Ryan took him to McDonald's for some Thanksgiving pancakes while I dozed in bed with the Wes-man until about 7:30 when Ryan returned and we took advantage of Ryan's parents' unconditional love of their grandkids and put both boys out into the hallway and closed the door. We woke up just in time for the parade to start and I watched the entire thing in my pajamas, as is my tradition.

(Actually, the dog show is on now, so it's really time for me to take a shower already. Good grief.)

Am I the only one who still gets a little vaclempt when Santa arrives in Herald Square? My goodness I love this parade. Even more now that I have the memory of Charlie dancing along with the Rockettes in his winter wonderland jammies. He had to take a nap before Santa arrived, but he was quite enchanted with the Sesame Street float and the Snoopy balloon (in a shrieking, pointing, jumping kind of way).

Ryan and I have much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Eat a piece of pie (or three) for me!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

OK, yes, we need to get out more

Friday night my sister came over to hold down the fort while Ryan and I went out for dinner. All afternoon I carefully got everyone in their pajamas, put the bottles out, filled the bottle warmer with water, and gave Charlie some dinner. I fretted endlessly about my outfit, finally settling on a pair of brown wool pants and a sweater. I opened my mouth to complain to Ryan that I was "dressed like someone's mom" but then remembered that I am someone's mom, two someones' mom in fact and figured that my old pants actually buttoning was good enough for tonight. Besides, it was too cold for my Inappropriately Short Skirt and I lacked the matching Inappropriately Low Top to turn it into a "going out outfit".

When Katie arrived we shot out the front door like the house was on fire. I barely remembered to summarize Charlie's bedtime routine and show her the bottles Wesley was supposed to eat. I forgot to tell her where we keep Wesley's diapers and he fell asleep half dressed while she went looking for one.

Ryan held the car door for me and then spent the ten-minute drive to the restaraunt reminding me to calm down, that we don't have any small hungry children with us, that it was not a bad idea to go out on a Friday, that who cares if there is a long wait because then we will just have more time to relax together, and please stop appologizing and glancing anxiously into the back seat. The sight of a completely full parking lot and a patio filled with well dressed people enjoying drinks around a warm fire set off my panic alarms again as my subconsious flashed through images of entertaining a fidgety toddler and angry infant through a long hungry wait.

The never ending cries for food make you tense, you know? I didn't realize just how tense until I was in a situation supposed to be relaxing and pleasant.

At the hostess station we had to wait behind this annoying couple with lots of questions. I think I behaved appropriately but my inner foot was tapping and I may have rolled my eyes at Ryan a few times. Finally the hostess took Ryan's name and told us the wait was forty-five minutes and I yelped "OH THAT'S NOT BAD!" Ryan ordered me a glass of wine and we found a table right next to the fire outside. I'm sure if I hadn't asked for a glass of wine he would have suggested it anyway, given the way I screeched at him in the parking lot for passing the Mercedes SUV in the close parking space with it's backup lights on and sat hyperventilating and tugging on my seatbelt as he calmly turned around and went back to claim the open spot.

While Ryan was at the bar I saw another couple who was waiting for a table, standing unspeaking side by side, she angrily clutching their pager to her chest, and decided that I was going to relax and start having fun that second. Because anxiety? Is not an attractive emotion. Plus, Charlie and Wesley were in great hands, had days worth of food, and most importantly, THEY WERE NOT AT THE RESTARAUNT WITH US.

If not for the great looking menu we had perused during the wait I would have been a little disappointed when our pager went off and we had to leave our table by the fire. I could have sat there all night hanging out with Ryan, speaking in complete sentences, interrupted by nothing except a waitress asking if we needed more to drink or anything to eat. From our table we were facing a wall that had exposed metal beams sticking out of it. My first impulse was "Forehead stitches. Someone's going to run into one of those and need forehead stitches" despite the fact that they were about fifteen feet off the floor. Those beams were very distracting until our waiter delivered our chips and three types of salsa (all delicious, I liked the green one best) and then it was all about the food.

THE FOOD.

The salsas were fantastic, and then the waiter brought us freshly baked cornbread, which was amazing. And then our entrees came and they were SO GOOD. I told Ryan as much after (and during) every single bite.

We were out until 9:00 and then our car turned back into a pumpkin so we went home. Wesley celebrated our arrival by wanting to eat and I was in bed (sleeping) by 9:45. The boys gave us a little present by sleeping until eight o'clock Saturday morning (with a 4 am snack break for Wes, of course) when Charlie kicked down his baby gate and ran into our bedroom and climbed in between us for a snuggle and told us how much fun he had had the night before. That was nice too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You lookin' at me, Pilgrim?

Places Charlie has worn this hat:

Pilgrims

-out to play in the culdesac
-the grocery store
-out for breakfast
-church
-pajama shopping
-bed

I've had to tape the band back together twice.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Catching Up

At my six week checkup on Friday I learned, much to my delight, that I am now four pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. As it turns out, rolling up some turkey lunch meat and cheese and eating it dipped in mustard while standing over the sink is just not providing me with the calories I need to both maintain my weight and give Wesley the twenty-three feedings a day he requires. Woot! Also, Wesley makes a really great free weight. In a fit of motivation the other day I made several laps around the living room holding him and doing lunges. It felt great and he went to sleep! And then I had to run upstairs to get a diaper and my legs nearly gave out halfway up. I haven't exercised since then. It's safer that way. Now if I could just figure out another way to get rid of this delightful spoon shape I have before the summer so I can wear a bikini while vacationing with my sister who runs marathons.

Dr. Advisor asked me to have my next draft ready by the end of the year. It feels a little like when you want to buy a new couch and they tell you you can finance it and not make any payments until NEXT YEAR and you're all "Wow, that's great!" and then you feel a little sick when you realize that next year is a month and a half away. In January we will gather the committee and run through it all one last time before a February defense. I'm hoping it will go better this time than last time (I just read all the posts around that one and WOW, I was quite the delusional little optimist then!). I've been working steadily since I got my revisions back and now I'm through all the grammatical corrections and wording changes and am left with the more meaty corrections... like "The analysis [in this section] yielded results that were opposite of what I expected... additional discussion is needed if this is true." Fan-freaking-tastic! I'm saving that one for last.

Charlie likes us all to cuddle up on the couch and watch the Nightly News with Brian Williams at 5:30 before Ryan comes home. He asks "Watch news? Watch news?" until I sit on the couch and pull him up. Then he asks for "Pillow?" then "Two pillows?" then "Covers?" Yesterday we both wore our pirate hats. And I wore my inappropriately short skirt, as you can see (I wore that skirt to a playdate to show how together I was only seven weeks after birth and then spent the whole time finding creative ways to get green playdoh off the wood floor without bending over).

Pirates

Wesley is growing into quite the little cutiepie. He's wearing size 3-6 months and is getting difficult to hold with one arm. He regularly smiles at the ladies who teach his nursery class at church and has occasionally even smiled at me, the grumpy, unshowered zombie who feeds him twenty-six times a day. He loves to go outside, hates the car, and did I mention he likes to eat? Because he loves it. Which explains the 3-6 month clothes (and my insatiable appetite for carbs). But he really is cute. Today in the culdesac he layed in my lap, calm as can be, and I saw a glimpse of how it will be when he is a little bit older and not so needy. And Charlie does things like kiss Wesley gently on the head when he's going to bed...I love being a family.

They both looked so nice on Sunday I had to make them pose for a picture in the front yard.

DSC04259

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Big Love

A conversation in the car today...

Becca: "Can I have a nanny for Christmas? Wait a minute, I don't need a nanny, I need a wife!"

Ryan: "My friend at work says where he is from, Pakistan, if you have enough money you can have as many wives as you want. I told him you've been asking for a second wife for years."

B: [dissapointedly] "I don't think we have that kind of money."

R: "I don't think I could attract a second wife anyway. I still don't know how I got you."

B: "What are you talking about?! OF COURSE you could attract a second wife! Not that I would want to share YOU. Just the childcare and housekeeping."

R: "And since you'd be the first wife, you'd be in charge."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Holy Cow I Applied for a Job

I just hit "send" on an email that contained a CV, teaching philosophy statement, and references to Big Scary University South. The university which houses the very department which terrified me so completely I didn't even submit an application to attend as an undergrad despite their convenient location twenty minutes from my parents house. Maybe I was just feeling heady because I got both boys to sleep at the same time. Or maybe I was afraid that if I didn't send it soon I would get caught up in all the story reading, nose wiping, boo boo kissing, snack making, and evening news couch cuddling (Charlie loves this for some reason) and never send it. Or maybe I am COMPLETELY INSANE.

Already today I have done a load of laundry, split a scone and a triple espresso with Charlie (kidding on the espresso, he prefers black coffee), helped set up for the church yard sale, driven through Wendy's on a mad dash to get home and get everyone fed and in their beds before a scheduled phone call with Dr. Advisor Re: The dissertation and why I probably shouldn't make any career plans for the next fifty years, fed Wesley during the entirety of that phone call, got thrown up on during the phone call, burped Wesley during the phone call (with his head RIGHT NEXT to the phone, of course), settled Wesley into his swing "just for a minute" where he then went to sleep ALL BY HIMSELF (cue angels singing, parting of clouds, beam of light from heavens) during the phone call, discussed my dissertation, planned the next two months, and high fived myself when Dr. Advisor marvelled at how much I've gotten done since Wesley was born (thanks Papa!) since he "knows what it's like" (Um, no), returned a phone call to a friend, removed all references to the last job I applied for from my cover letter and teaching philosophy statement, changed date of expected graduation from August 2007 to May 2009 (awesome!), stressed about my application email, stressed, stressed, stressed, finally hit send already...

...and now here I am.

And both boys are still asleep.

You want to know something? I kind of enjoy the juggling. It is exciting to have a foot in both worlds. It is challenging in a different way than staying at home full time or working full time is. Today has been a good day. Although I still have to dream up something inexpensive, nutritious, and tasty (in that order) for dinner.

(I've checked my email six times so far. I am sure Big Scary University department chairs spend more than nine seconds considering job applications, but I just want to be sure I didn't miss anything. Behaving rationally has never been my forte)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Best laid plans

So. After vascilating all morning about whether to make the schlep to storytime or not, I finally decided with about ten minutes to spare that we ABSOLUTELY HAD TO GO.

While sitting on the floor stuffing enough Bum Genius diapers for Wesley to make it through the next several hours (because we have to make cloth diapers work again), I made Charlie take off the flannel pajamas he insisted I put on over his clothes this morning (well, I was only successful in removing the pants, resulting in a sort of grunge toddler look--athletic shorts and a t-shirt, with a flannel shirt on top, sort of Kurt Cobain meets Thomas the Tank Engine), and crammed his shoes on. I picked up Wesley from the kitchen where he was screaming in his car seat when Charlie came in carrying some toy that was too big to take with us. I told him to go put it back and turned to take (screaming, despite being recently fed, burped, and changed) Wesley out to the car. Charlie walked under Wesley's carseat and bonked his head, hard. Determined to get Charlie to storytime, the pinnacle of wholesome magical and intellectually stimulating childhood fun, I chirped "Ooops! I'm so sorry that happened, Buddy!" then unceremoniously stuffed him into his carseat with a perfunctory kiss on the general area of his head where he was gesturing.

We pulled out into the rain and headed up the street. The crying stopped (from both parties) and I started to feel proud of myself for getting out so fast. I even considered driving all the way to the "good" storytime downtown with Ms. Elizabeth (lots of songs in English and Spanish, sign language, books, bubbles) instead of the less awesome, more punative local storytime where they shut the door right at 10:15 and don't let anyone new in (where I could barely concentrate on the story for all the mothers talking to eachother). "This isn't so hard," I thought, "I am just as fun as I used to be." Even more fun maybe, since I now frequently remove my shirt in public.

We arrived at the library with ten minutes to spare and I found a parking spot right next to the door. Woo hoo! I was about to get out of the car when another mother gestured at me. I smiled politely and waved back. She waved more forcefully and said something I couldn't hear. I waved back. Finally she came to my window and told me that the library was closed for Veterans' Day. Awesome.

Charlie was whining "Books? Books? Stories?" as I pulled out of the parking lot. He didn't fully recover until I took him out for a pancake brunch on the way home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dissertation Schmissertation

Ryan read my last post and today he took me out for a lovely breakfast and then sent me off to the coffee shop to work on my project while he oversaw things back at the nut farm. When I left Charlie was in time out for going into the garage alone. Wesley was in that lull in neediness he has between feeding/diaper change and needs to fall asleep but cannot unless he is swaddled, pacifiered, and held correctly.

I am looking forward to dinner at my parents' and another exciting football game (last week's last second win over the #1 team in the country was so exciting Ryan and I both screamed and leapt off the couch. Wesley found this not a little terrifying and we were up very very late. It was well worth it).

And now onto item number two million on the list of concerns Dr. Advisor provided me with for my dissertation revisions. Don't worry, I'm not going in order. You'd know it if I'd already addressed the first one-million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine-hundred ninety-nine items.

(inconsistent use of hyphens, BIG RED X)

I just hope Charlie and I can sit together when we are both hooded in 2035.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Inevitable Freakout

"Could I borrow two eggs?!" I shouted out the window of my car to my friend standing in her driveway. I was GOING to make a cake to commemorate the election. A bundt cake, O shaped for Obama. I had already bought the cocoa powder, the toffee pieces and the chocolate chips. I had the recipe. But I had forgotten to buy eggs and after enduring a fifteen minute ride home from day care with a screaming infant in the back seat, and occasionally a whimpering two year old, there was no way in hell I was going to attempt the grocery store. Not after pausing in the daycare parking lot (before picking Charlie up) to wonder aloud why in the [explitive] he was still crying after being held and nursed continuously ALL DAY LONG.

Aside: Oh my gosh he just puked on me AGAIN. I really am going to lose my mind.

She brought me the eggs and I immediately felt guilty for being rude and explained that Wesley had pretty much eaten all day and when he wasn't eating he was screaming and my house was a giant pile of shit that was never ever going to be clean. She said "Oh, I'm sorry you had such a tough---" She stopped herself when she looked into the back seat where Wesley was fast asleep and Charlie was smiling angelically. She gave me a knowing smile and said not to worry about the eggs.

I came home and made my cake with Wesley screaming in the Snugli, the straps sliding down around my shoulders, Charlie taking all the cereal boxes out of the pantry and helping himself to huge handfuls of Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats. After feeding Wesley and getting him settled in the bouncer I was starting dinner when Charlie fell off of a chair I had asked him repeatedly not to climb on. He cried "Papa work! Papa work!" between sobs. I am no longer the comforter of choice, apparently.

By the time Ryan came home everyone was behaving nicely and I was making Rachel Ray's Sour Cream and Onion Turkey Burgers (highly recommend) for dinner. Charlie was hiding in his "fort" under the sink with Phent, eating Cheerios and Wesley was in the bouncer. Of course they turn into perfect little Stepford children the second Ryan walks in the door!

Some nights, like tonight, I think about how I'm going to go to bed, wake up twice to feed Wesley, and then it is all going to start all over again. And my throat starts closing up in panic. And then I feel guilty. And guilt makes me think about my dissertation and how I am not working on it and my career and how I'm not going to have one. Ryan asked tonight if I wanted to apply for positions outside of South. It would pretty much be the only way I could have a job appropriate for my degree. But I don't feel qualified to do the work required by my undergraduate research position, let alone a faculty job. I don't feel qualified to do ANYTHING right now except dole out time outs, change diapers, and make sure we don't run out of milk (and we're almost out of milk, FAIL). We will never move for my job anyway because if one of the boys needed me home full time for some reason I would quit my job without a second thought. I don't even WANT to move. I like our lives here (today notwithstanding).

And as much as I hate to cut off a good rant, this discussion requires much more thought than I have the ability to give it right now. I better go to bed. I'm sure everything will seem less impossible tomorrow (hahahahaha).

(Actually all I want to do is curl up in bed with Charlie and appologize to him for being such a stressed out, impatient shrew who wouldn't let him stop to look at the fishtank at school today and tell him what a wonderful, polite little boy he is and how much I love him and reassure him that our house will not always be this chaotic. But two awake boys would not help my mental state one bit right now so I will settle for sitting on the floor next to his bed, making sure he is warm enough and that Phent is within reach.)

DSC04244
"I think I finally pushed her too far!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

HOPE!

Election Day

Not as good without the pictures

I planned to have adorable pictures of Charlie and Wesley sitting next to an Obama Biden sign ready for posting today, but I just got around to taking the picture this morning and I think Ryan took the camera's cord to work. Santa has promised me a new digital camera to replace mine (which I'm sure stopped working only because it was seven years old and not because I've been encouraging Charlie's budding interest in photography... anyone need fifteen pictures of Charlie's shoes?), but that's not until December, or until I finally lose it from not being able to find the camera or cord when I need it, whichever comes first.

We voted early, last week. I was giddy as I explained to Charlie "We're going to go VOTE!"

"Tugboat! TOOT TOOT!" he replied.

"No, VOTE!"

"Papa BOAT! Papa BOAT!"

"VVVVVVOTE!!"

"vvvvvote?"

"Right! Vote!"

"Tugboat? Toot toot?"

I hope he wasn't too disappointed when we walked into our community center and stood in a boring line so I could play with a boring computer that he wasn't allowed to touch. One of the election volunteers took Wesley for me and by the time Charlie and I finished voting he had attracted a small crowd of retirees. It took so long to get out of there that I was almost late to my church Moms' group, which is where I talk about grocery store coupons and potty training secrets for two hours in exchange for free childcare and coffee.

(it's actually very nice and I have made lots of friends there)

To commemorate the actual election day we went to the polling place and took pictures with the signs. As we were driving there I said to Charlie "Today everyone in the country writes down which cantidate they want to be president and whoever has the most votes wins and gets to be president for the next four years!" He was quiet for a second and then said "Yeah" thoughtfully. Then he got distracted by a passing train before I could get into the discussion I'd planned on the Electoral College and the two-party system.

After the polling place we went to Krispy Kreme to get our star-shaped, red, white, and blue donuts THAT THEY HAD RUN OUT OF. I tried not to let the dissapointment at the derailing of my election themed morning show. I think Charlie was too busy coating his entire body with glaze to notice.

Tonight I was going to make an election themed dinner for us to eat while we watch the returns on TV. The only thing I've thought of so far was GOP Elephant Burgers, but given Phent's position of importance in our family I think that might end badly. Any ideas?

UPDATE: Ryan brought pizza home. A new election day tradition maybe?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Two!

There are no words to describe what a wonderful little boy you've grown into this year.

Joy

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Boy.

Trick or Treat!

Halloween Cousins
Charlie and Wesley with their cousin, Sibley.

Wesley Chick
Wesley's chicken suit.

Trick or Treat
Charlie and Sibley.

Trick or treating was a big hit this year, since Charlie understood the twin principles of "candy tastes good" and "people give me candy" much better than last year when all he wanted to do was be allowed to crawl around and play with the leaves on the driveway. Once I showed Charlie what his plastic pumpkin was for he didn't let go of it until we pried it out of his hands so he could go to bed. It is now on top of the refrigerator, loaded with treats, and he stands on the floor pointing at it and whining "Bucket? Bucket? Treat?" pitifully. Once we got home, though, he dissolved into tears the first time Ryan gave a piece of candy (the candy we bought to hand out, not Charlie's candy) to another kid who came to the door. Once Ryan explained that it was the other kids' turn to get candy (and that his candy was safely inside) he was off and running. He spent the next half hour standing on our porch holding a Hershey bar in his outstreched hand saying "Kids come? Kids come? Kids come?" He has a lot of love to give.