Monday, April 30, 2012

A Calling

I was a great mother this morning. Actually, I've been great all day today. I dropped Gianna off at school rrrrrrright under the wire, then I bought myself some coffee (mudslide latte HALF CAF whole milk and whipped cream hope Brad doesn't notice the little swipey swipe of the debit card but who am I kidding, he will for sure), THEN I thought to myself, "It is a beautiful day and I will take my darling son to a park to play. I will not bring a book to the playground. I'll sip my coffee and I will enjoy the sunshine on my face and the fresh air and the delight of my child. And I will not be bored." So I did, and I wasn't (mostly.)

So it came to pass that I was driving home during the Diane Rehm show, where Marilu Henner was discussing her rare gift of "highly superior autobiographical memory." Rare whatever I am telling you I have this thing. I don't actually know who Marilou Henner is, by which I mean I couldn't pick her out of a police line-up if I had to. She is apparently an actress in the movies. The movies I haven't seen. But no matter, I was certain that I have this utterly impressive ability to remember my life's events in totality and with great specificity. She mentioned that "they" (yeah, "them," ok so I only heard the second half of the interview) are doing a study on people like her and me at UC-Irvine. And I knew in that moment God was calling me to fly to Cali and be studied, that I could truly contribute to the betterment of science. Forget hitting up the library on the way home to snag some more reading material to inhale while I put the Doms down for his daily siesta. Forget driving BACK out to Gianna's school with some generic-brand Tylenol for her sweet little sore throat. I have business to attend, and that business is on a respected university campus.

Or not. I do have a knack for remembering odd, specific details like exactly where I was and exactly what I was wearing and exactly what I felt for many, possibly most, moments of my life, important and non. But at the same time I have to admit that in the last five years there are a lot of holes in my chain of life events....and a lot of blurry memories, too. I'd probably not pass muster with the sciency folks at UC-Irvine.

And even if I did, I am right where I am supposed to be, re-heating the rest of my latte in the microwave and enjoying a few moments of peace and quiet after I successfully transferred a sleeping Dominic from the car to his bed after our medicine run. And when I am done with this little post I will dutifully fill out and return the ASQ-SE (Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social Emotional; A Parent-Completed, Child-Monitoring System for Social-Emotional Behaviors) only two weeks over-due and then do some laundry and probably clean up the kitchen.

The lack of sleep and the worries that come with parenthood have probably diminished some brain cells but I am not really just making memories for myself anymore, I am being present in the memories of my kids. Whether or not Dominic remembers our idyllic morning at the park today or Gianna remembers that I brought her relief via Target-brand acetaminophen in any specificity, I don't know, but it probably doesn't matter. What they lack in details will surely be made up for by the general sense of my imperfect but fiercely loving presence. I hope. I hope.

Friday, April 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes

1. First things first....the belly. 28 weeks. Already starting to garner the "When are you due? Ohhhh...not until July? Wow" comments. Those are always fun.

2. Related to the first item, I've noticed when I scroll back through the pictures on our camera that Brad has begun randomly taking shots of my ever-expanding behind wearing his stolen boxers. Helpful, very helpful. Those boxers are more comfortable than any yoga pants I have in my arsenal right now and I don't care who knows it.

3. I rue the day that the children discovered that a) music can be played in our car and b) there is some music they like more than others. This is terrible. Now, instead of sipping a little coffee and listening to NPR in relative peace on the way to take Gianna to school each day, Morning Edition is punctuated with cries of, "Music!!! We want music now, mom!!!" And then, if I give in, we have to listen to the only two Frank Sinatra songs on our iPod in a continuous loop. Save me.

4. People talk a lot about how much money babies cost, which I always think is pretty bogus, because generally babies are cheap. Kids, now, I could see the argument about kids being a little pricey around the age of 4 or so because you start wanting things for them like ballet classes and giant car seats but babies...nah. Cheap. Anyways, no one ever talks about the hidden costs of pregnancy. Mainly, toilet paper consumption. The combination of a small person sitting on my bladder and constantly drinking water to stay perfectly hydrated equates to a toilet paper usage that is astounding.

5. Gianna is going on a field trip with her school today to a butterfly show and then to a park to eat Chik-fil-A for lunch. I'll let you guess which item she is most excited about, but all I'll say is that I am indeed raising her right.

6. The Easter chocolate is pretty much gone at this point. And it makes me sad.

7. Recently, Gianna has been begging for a pet so last night we took the plunge and there are now 3 earthworms more or less happily ensconced on a bed of leaves, grass, and dirt in an old shoebox. We'll be ready for a dog real soon.

Have a nice weekend and for more Quick Takes go over to Conversion Diary :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dating Advice

Sometimes, I really like to tell people what to do, and this post will be one of those times. As Gianna has gotten older, and we're adding more little people to the mix, she needs "Special Time." The most important of which are her dates with Brad. I feel strongly that she needs to learn from him how a man should treat her, protect her, and respect her. I hope these efforts translate to when she is a teenager and she'll know her worth has nothing to do with the way she looks, so she won't need to seek out acceptance and approval from scary and hormonal teenaged boys Please Lord Protect Her.

or we'll just ship her off to a convent
I, also, work in some "Special Time" with her, because she is at school all day and when I pick her up everyone is grouchy and tired and hungry and it's not prime bonding time. I like having time with her when we are both moderately well-rested and there are no other distractions. I like listening to her talk and hearing her budding ideas about the world and the people around her and the things she is interested in or the things that scare her or what she wonders about. I anticipate that in the next year or so Dominic will start to need this special time set aside for him, too, as opposed to the general hanging around together we so all day while Gianna is at school.

Luckily, kids are cheap dates and it really doesn't take much to show them a nice time. To get you pumped up for your own "special time" with your kids, here is a handy list of things we have done for our "dates."

-take a walk
-go for a bike ride
-go out for ice cream
-go to Half-Price books and pick out a new book to bring to a park and read together
-go see a ballet or a play
-go grocery shopping or run other errands with just that child
-go out for hot chocolate
-play a board game of the child's choice

Eventual dates:
-go ice skating
-go to a sporting event
-go swimming

Just to prove a "date" doesn't have to be fancy, here are some pics of Brad and G's most recent outing; he took her to see his place of employment and then they went to her restaurant of choice (Chik-fil-A).

Brad=happy to leave Casa de Crazy, G=interesting wardrobe choices, and Doms=slightly underwhelmed when informed of his impending nap
Brad's headset was a big hit
A pleasant side-effect of the focused attention is that it seems to encourage Gianna to be more generous toward the Doms. She is almost always sure to bring him home a treat from her dates with us. I love when stuff like that happens. Makes me not have to work as hard.

 I feel like I spend a lot of time guiding, disciplining, directing, begging, escaping, etc etc. the kiddos. "Special time" grants me the space to really see my kids for the human beings that they are, which are critical moments to fall back on when they are acting like less than rational beings. So go ahead...get out there and enjoy your kids! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes: LikeThis and Like That

Ok so where were we??

1. Last week, to kick off Palm Sunday, Dominic dropped a kneeler on an old lady's foot. It was a total accident and we apologized profusely in hushed and urgent tones but she did not offer up her sufferings well at all. For the remainder of Mass if Dom made so much as a peep, she would glare darkly at us. It was...awkward. Real awkward. Especially when you consider how incredibly looooooong Palm Sunday Mass is.

2. Easter-wise, a good time was had by all. We even managed to make it to the Vigil on Saturday night. Dominic passed out in the car on the way home and awoke Easter morn attired thusly:

Doms needs coffee before he can be expected to get hype about Easter egg hunting
lots of sugar helps, too
3. I may or may not have had too much fun with their Easter baskets this year.

4. Some of our crew prepped and ready to take on the Vigil

really hope my friends don't care that I have put a picture of their offspring on the interwebs basically without their permission
 5. This Lent I really, really tried to pray more formally, as opposed to my random desperate utterings of "Oh sleep...soon...thanks" I'm not sure that what I am doing is praying without ceasing in the actual sense so I tried to make things a little more intentional. Kinda worked. I also tried to really focus on doing the things I'm supposed to be doing, like laundry and meals and keeping the house and children decent. I had some success with that endeavor but now I'm just really, really tired. Being a grown up is seriously hard work. So I've taken the week off.

6. Although, according to this random Hilary Rosen person, what I am doing is not actually work. I can totally take it easy.

7. My mom brought us a Sam's Club-sized box of Oreos for Easter. They are sitting on top of my refrigerator and they make me happy.

For more Quick Takes, head over to Conversion Diary....happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sporty Spice

So Brad and I both graduated from UK. In case you a) don't care about sports or b) were living in a cave, the Cats won The Big Game last night. I even stayed up (almost) all the way to see it.

I'm glad we won because Brad won't be sad, but I am mostly sorry that now I no longer have a legit excuse for letting my brows go au natural.

Those of us with unibrows are a sadly misunderstood population. No one knows our woes like fellow unis. The persecution and shame we are put through...I cannot speak of it. But in AD we had a leader, someone to look up to, someone who wore the uni without shame. Thank you, Anthony Davis, thank you.  You have brought us one step closer to the day when we can throw away our tweezers for good. Take your uni to the NBA and make us proud.