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Monday, May 31, 2010

"Ik hou van je"

...which is Dutch and translates into "I love you".

Kai was a bit 'fragile' today as I would like to call it.  A bit whiny at times, easily upset, quick to produce tears, in other words 'fragile'.  I don't like fragile days.  It makes me feel like I am walking on eggshells.  And I don't like eggshells.  They are sharp and make a mess and since my title is "Mommy" that means I have to clean up that mess.  I don't like cleaning up, let alone cleaning up messes.

Luckily there were the dogs to keep him occupied.  They had a great time chasing each other outside.  Kai had a great time chasing the dogs.  Add to that yesterday's toddler lesson: when you pull that "long thing at the back end of the kitty" she makes a funny sound.  All this made for one motivated (yet fragile) toddler...[Mommy sighs]

We had a few falls and some tears, but overall the day went by in a pretty uneventful manner.  By the way, it is AMAZING how well mommy's kisses heal all boo-boo's.  Usually he doesn't give a kick when he falls, but when he does and there are tears, he comes running toward me saying "mommy kiss mommy kiss" and when I then plant a smooch on the boo-boo, all tears are gone, pain is gone (or so it seems) and he runs off to continue playing / chasing one of the pets / etc.  It is absolutely amazing, those mommy kisses.  It makes me wish I was a bit more flexible, so that I could reach those hard to get to places that I manage to bump / kick / hit against objects that are harder than my body parts.  Man, that would have saved me a lot of friggin' pain yesterday when I kicked my little toe against the wooden leg of one of our ottomans.  Darn that hurt!!!  Wish I could give myself a big smooch there, as I certainly could have used some relief.  Well, I guess that is the privilege of being a toddler.  Good for him!

The bedtime routines are a 2-parent event in our house, so while David puts Kai down, I get my previously mentioned cuddle-fix from Ryder.  If Kai is still awake by the time Ryder is down, I usually go in to kiss him good night.  He has gotten as far as having me lay down in his race car bed, no, not to cuddle (did you read the previous post at all??), but to climb on me and wrestle with me.  It's our daily thing and it usually lasts a couple of minutes (if it was up to Kai, it would last longer, but it isn't up to him. It's up to me ;-)  Then we say our Good Nights and it's "Bye Mommy" (the cue that I can leave and close the door behind me on my way out).


Tonight, as the climbing and wrestling had come to an end, I kissed him and was about to tell him Good Night, when he said "more kisses" and gave me a serious of beautiful toddler kisses.  He then, laid down next to me, wrapped his arms around my neck and cuddled up against me.  Softly and quietly pointing out my eyes, nose, hair, cheeks, mouth, lips and chin.  Very, very sweet.  It was such a beautiful moment; one of those that I immediately wanted to bottle and make last forever.  As he nuzzled with me, I said "Ik hou van je Kai" (translation: I love you Kai) and there it was, in a soft voice: "Ik hou van je mommy".  Ooohhh...!!!  I had to put everything into gear to keep myself from bursting out in tears.  God, that slayed me.  As I gave him one of the biggest hugs a mother could ever give her 2-year old, he wrapped his arms around me and returned the favor.  


By far the best moment of the day.  Probably of the week, but given that the week only just started...who knows.  I will never, ever forget this day.  Just beautiful.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Catching Up


My brain is going at a pace that prohibits me from keeping up with it.  It almost hurts.  David and I recently cleaned up the office, turning it into a bit more of a comfortable environment to work in.  Me being sort type A, who is pro “throwing out / giving away what I haven’t used in over a year” – with occasional relapses resulting in clutter – and David, the artist, holding on to nearly everything.  Need I say more? A match made in heaven :-)

In line with the “clean the house frenzy” of a couple of weeks ago, I hosted a multi-family yard sale yesterday. To give you an idea of how much crap I had collected together with my mommy friends: 2 days ago I had to create a path from the door of the office to my desk.  That should explain.  Now here is the awesome cause for which we did this yard sale: our Annual Mom’s Weekend Out.  Last year we left Los Angeles behind us for a weekend in Palm Springs.  Go figure: 10 moms, no hubbies, no kids, 1 house, a pool and BYOB!!  Awesome!!  This year’s destination: Santa Barbara!!  Sweet!!  We’re going to stay at a B&B in the heart of Santa Barbara, which includes breakfast and a daily wine & cheese reception.  The yard sale went okay, we didn’t make as much as I had hoped, mainly due to one of the street signs that had blown off / been ripped off.  BUT, at the end of the morning, we were left with more money than we had started out with, yet I still have 1/2 an office of stuff that I am donating to Goodwill this week.  I want my office back.

Today marks one of the first really warm days in LA.  We’ve had a few, but for some reason this one really feels like the beginning of summer.  I don’t know if that is because it’s Memorial Day weekend, or what the logic is, but it really feels as if summer is starting.  I started cleaning the patio today.  The bar was dirty, the candle holders needed to be washed, the walls of the house needed spraying off, so now, all there is to do is the patio surface (a job in and by itself).  All I say is “some other day”.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, dunno, it greatly depends on when I have time.

‘Time’ is such a difficult concept in my life at the moment.  I was relieved to read that one of my followers is going through a similar thing of “where did the day go?” as she commented to my previous post.  I find myself incredibly busy during the the day, only to ask myself at the end of it “What all did I do?” and often I am not even able to answer that question.  Frustrating!!!  I really don’t waste much time, but most of the time is consumed taking care of the boys, which really doesn’t leave much time for anything else.  I have mentioned it before, but that’s why the afternoon naptime for the kids is so incredibly sacred to me.

That brings me to one of the big challenges that I am faced with these days: Ryder and his sleeping habits.  Oh lordy, where do I start?  I’m incredibly happy that I was able to wean him off the night feedings when he was 8 weeks old.  It went fast and easy, in 2 days they were over and done with.  Wahoo!!  But...we’re not sleeping through the night.  Oh heavens no!!  If only!!!  There are more things involved in order to master that:
  • the pacifier
  • the swaddling blanket
  • falling asleep (Ryder, not me, I have no problems with that)

“To Pacify or Not To Pacify?  That Is The Question”
The paci was oh so handy when Ryder was younger and he loves it.  It soothes him right away.  He has started finding his thumb (Mommy thinks: “Yeah!!”), but is not able to find it consistently.  So, now when the paci falls out, it lands next to him and when he turns his head, it gets stuck between his neck and the mattress, which wakes him up.
Option 1 (The quick-fix): pop the paci back in, but then within an hour we’re back to square 1.  This will get me up between 6-10 times a night and obviously ain’t working so well for Mommy.
Option 2 (the longer fix): pop paci in, rock him into a deep sleep, take paci out and transfer back into his crib.  This way I get up about 2 times a night, but the process takes longer.

Swaddling:
LOVE LOVE LOVE swaddling, but I gave life to 2 Houdini’s who did not last long in swaddling blankets.  Ryder is now out with hands and feet, but I still wrap the swaddling blanket around his waist as he likes the snug-fit.  I would like to wean him off that as well, as temps are going up and it might be getting too warm for him.

Falling asleep:
Contrary to Kai, Ryder loves to snuggle and cuddle.  I’ve been rocking him to sleep, merely because we both love it.  I never got to do that with Kai (he still isn’t big on snuggling), so I’m getting that fix through Ryder.  I taught Kai to fall asleep on his own when he was 4-5 months.  It went pretty easy and ever since he has been an amazing sleeper, in every way: I can put him down wide awake, give him a kiss, walk out and he is fine.  Hardly ever a problem, he’s awesome when it comes to falling asleep.  I would like to do the same with Ryder, but I also don’t want to give up the snuggling yet.  See my dilemma?

To anyone who is not a mommy, these things probably don’t mean a thing (I’m surprised you’re still reading at this point), but to other moms this may sound familiar.  These may look like insignificant things that you ‘just do / deal with’, but as a mom who wants to keep her household running as peacefully and happily as possible, these are things that take up a lot of time in our minds trying to figure out.  “When is the right time to do what” and honestly I don’t know.  I have no idea how I am going to go about this, but I trust that I’ll figure it out.  I did with Kai, so I will with Ryder.

Kai is doing well.  Though he is the one experiencing toddler hood first hand, David and I have a first class ticket as VIP passengers on the toddler hood train.  And sometimes it’s a darn bumpy ride, which really makes me want to request a refund.  But then there are also the journeys that are delightfully smooth, so smooth that I am convinced I got an awesome deal!  In other words, he really goes from the devilish (but cute) toddler one day to an angel the other.

At the moment we’re facing the “struggle with the tooth brush”.  To most parents who are facing toddler hood (through their kids that is), or who are just coming out of it, this may sound like a familiar story.  Brushing our teeth is a daily challenge at the moment.  Shaking our head, sucking the tooth paste of the brush, squirming away, throwing fits, you name it, we’ve had it or been through it.  I don’t know if he doesn’t like having his teeth brushed, or if it is just a control issue, but I hate those 2 times a day with a passion.  He’ll happily run into the bathroom when we announce that it is time to brush our teeth, plops down on the toilet seat cover, but then it goes South from there.  We’re still in the process of figuring this one out.

Up until last week, Kai was all about testing limits, being defiant, not listening, in other words, real devil at times.  Having said that, it seems as if over the past few days he has done a complete 180: he’s incredibly loving, wants to help in the kitchen, gives hugs and kisses, and is overall incredibly sweet.  He still tests the “No’s” at times, but overall, he’s really good.  He’ll bring things when I ask him, helps put the laundry in, wants to give the bottle to Ryder, is very concerned about Ryder when he sleeps and wants to constantly check his brother out on the video monitor.  Adorable.

I have to admit, the kid knows what he wants and is very smart in making subtle attempts to get it.  Here’s an example of what happened after dinner the other day:
Kai: “Kai and papa in auto” (‘auto’ is Dutch for ‘car)
David took him to the car, thinking he wanted to sit on daddy’s lap to play with the steering wheel.
Kai: “Kai sit in car seat” [pointing at his seat]
David opened the door and Kai climbed in.
Kai:  “Papa strap Kai in”
David strapped him in.
Kai: “Now, papa sit over there” [pointing at the driver seat]
David got in the driver seat.
Kai: “Now, papa and Kai go to Mak and Nini” (Mike & Nina are his godparents)

This is the alternative to the incessant “Kai go see Mak & Nini” that he sometimes gets obsessed about.  Smart way of trying it differently, I have to admit.  If one way doesn’t work, why not try it differently?

There is so much more going on, but at the moment my brain is fried of thinking about it, and Ryder is (once again) awake.  So...time to do some soothing.  Hopefully I’ll be back a bit more again this week.  New month, new chances.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

24 Hours in a Day - It Just Ain't Enough


I shouldn't even be writing this right now.  No, I should be in bed, sleeping.  THAT's what I should be doing, yet here I am, sitting down behind my computer, writing just a few sentences to send out a message to the world that YES, I am still breathing.  Barely that is, but nonetheless, that constitutes as being alive.

The past few days have been absolutely crazy and one of these days I hope to actually compile all the posts that I started and turn them into one, to kinda summarize my crazy week.  I am looking forward to that moment, simply because it means that I would actually be able to sit down and take a deep breath for a moment.  I need it and in the next 24 hours it looks like I am not going to get that.  Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the weekend, yet right now, I really just want to go to bed.  My alarm clock (the electronic one, not the human one - hopefully) will go off at 6am tomorrow.  Having a toddler and a baby I have gotten a little bit used to 6:00am wake up calls, however, I am far, far removed from actually 'liking' it.

That brings up the question: why is it that as children you hate going to bed and sleeping late, while as adults, you would do anything for a long, long night's sleep?  When does that change?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

All I Wanted Was a Milkshake


This afternoon, while I was having lunch with my boys, I all of a sudden got hit with an overwhelming desire to have a milkshake.  A hot fudge milkshake to be exact.  Home-made, nothing less.  As if I needed it.  I am still trying to lose the last 10 lbs. of baby weight, which for whatever reason takes a heck longer than it did with Kai.  Sigh...

Anyways, I wanted a milkshake and nothing or no one was going to keep me from having one while the boys were taking their naps.  Or so I thought.  First there was the ice cream.  Or better said, the lack of ice cream.  Me to hubby: “need to go and get ice cream, will be back in 10.”  So I did and so I was.  Made the chocolate concoction that I call ‘fudge’ to mix in with my shake.  And then...bingo!!  Kai came strolling in with a bright yellow piece of paper in his hands – obviously a page he had ripped out of a book.  While returning him to his room, I explained that it was nap time and that all his friends (real and imaginary) were taking naps too.  (This usually works, you know).  Mind, how I said “usually”.  Kai went down the usual list of suspects, which went something like this:

Kai: “Elmo take a nap?”
Me: “Yes, Elmo is taking a nap.”
Kai: “Uhm......Abby take a nap?”
Me: “Yes, Abby is taking a nap”.
Kai: “Uhhmm......Zoe take a nap?”
Me: “Yes, Zoe is taking a nap as well.”
Kai: “Uhhhmmm....uhm...Thomas take a nap?”
Me: “Yes, Thomas is taking a nap, and Percy, and James are all taking naps.  Just like you.  Kai also needs to take a nap.”
Kai: “TobyHat take a nap?” (for those of you not steeped in the culture of Thomas & Friends: that is a combination of Toby & Sir Topham Hatt)
Me: “Yes, he too.  Everyone is taking a nap.  Now it’s Kai’s turn.  Bye Kai, I love you”
Kai: “Bye Mommy!!” (as he blows a kiss)

Okay, back to milkshake-making!!  Wahoo!!  As I scoop the ice cream in the pitcher, the bars on my monitor go into the red: Ryder.  I go in, soothe him, and get back to what I was doing.  To make a long story short(er), this goes on for an hour and a half: me going back and forth between Kai’s room and Ryder’s room.  Neither one of them slept, I didn’t get to enjoy my milkshake.

And then, both of them at the same time...you’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!  You know, this would seriously be a good argument to be pro-cloning, gosh would it be helpful to have 2 of me in this household at times (but DEFINITELY not all the time – that would be too much of a good thing.  Oops, did I just say that?!?  Can’t believe I did).  Luckily David got up and went into Kai’s room, but before I had a chance to get over to the nursery, David called me in and showed me this:


 


 



He had decided to express himself artistically by coloring his bed and sheets with chalk.  Sigh...need I say more??  Guess what I’m doing this afternoon...!!!

Well, we are now 2-1/2 hours into nap time and both rooms are quiet – just in time for everyone to get up again in 1/2 hour (as otherwise we will have trouble tonight).  I finally enjoyed my killer hot fudge milkshake and added another pound or so to my post-partum body.  Oh well, it was good.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trashy Toddler


Sometimes I wish I lived out in the country, where the kids could just run out the door and go; freeing themselves from the massive energy overload that they are carrying around, driving parents up the wall and eventually leading to the destruction of even the sturdiest home if kept too long inside.  Sometimes  Frequently I want to just open the door and tell Kai “Run Free, Wild Child!” and even though our yard is considered spacious for LA-standards, there is just not enough room to really ‘run free’ – especially for a ‘wild child’.  As city-dwellers we then take our children out to the playground, hoping that that will do the trick. 

Last week we had one of those days when Kai was in desperate need of running around and climbing on items other than lawn furniture and the dogs.  So, I packed up the kids and off we went.  Our destination was a local playground, adjacent to a park where people run, play baseball, picnic, etc.  Enough space to run around.  Beautiful.  This was the perfect morning to wear both kids out, to ensure good naps and a beautiful afternoon in which everyone was rested and well-spirited.

Kai enjoyed the playground only briefly and then took off: running towards the big trees only to announce that the biggest one was the one he was going to climb.  You go little monkey!  Whatever helps you release all that toddler-energy is fine with me!  I will sit back and watch you do it.  He didn’t get any further than playing peekaboo, but that was adorable as well.

Once the tree was old news and no longer served a purpose to my little explorer, he moved on to finding the next item of interest.  And then, there it was....: the empty yogurt container in the grass.  The lid right next to it.  Kai spotted it and out came his determination: the “trashy” had to be thrown out in one of the trashcans that were all around.  Whereas I was proud of my toddler for his determination to save our environment and keep our parks clean and green, I wasn’t grooving too much on the thought of him picking up a dirty yogurt container that used to belong to who-knows-who and get his hands all of it.  Yuck.  It took an awful lot of distraction methods on mommy’s part to get the young man to move away (and to keep him away) from the “trashy”.  It’s fascinating how, once he has something in his mind, hardly anything can keep him away from it.  Well, there are things (read: food & milk) that would distract him enough, but I was lacking those at the park, so it was a bit more challenging.
Now here’s what I wonder: if my 2-year old toddler knows and is able to throw other people’s trash in one of the zillion trashcans that are around in the park, why was the (I am assuming) adult who enjoyed the contents of the aforementioned yogurt cup incapable of doing so?
I really wonder what people are thinking when they just leave their trash behind.  Or actually, there is the crux of the problem: they don’t (think).  I really don’t want to launch in to a speech on how we should limit our trash, pick up after ourselves, etc., but again, if it comes so natural to a 2-year old toddler to pick up the trash and throw it out, why is that any different for us?  Where, along the way, do we lose that sense of decency / responsibility / manners / logic?
Now, the last thing I ponder over is the inexplicable question of why he (Kai) is more obsessed about other people’s trash than about his own (at home).  If only I could get my environmentally-focused explorer to pick up after himself at home…that’d be just lovely as it would save me a lot of work (and frustration).
Oh, and by the way: despite all the running, the fresh air and the release of energy, naps did not happen.  Since that day, I have been waiting for that beautiful afternoon in which everyone was rested and well-spirited.  Maybe today?

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Nap Time


12-noon: Mommy & 2 boys return from play date.  Baby is hungry - gets fed.  Toddler is hungry - gets fed.  Mommy is hungry - eats.

12:45pm: mommy is excited for boys to go to take their nap, so she can get some work done.

1:00pm: Baby plays in crib, while mommy puts toddler down.  Crap, CD player won't work.  Just like yesterday afternoon.  Why did daddy get it to work last night?  Do I have bad ju-ju?  Tried everything, except throwing it out the window.  Still doesn't work.  Sh**!
Mommy tells toddler that "CD player is broken and he'll have to fall asleep without music.  Will buy new player this afternoon. Love you."

1:10pm: Mommy rocks baby to sleep with lullabies playing on single 1 player in the house that works.  Baby konks out in 10 minutes.

1:20pm: Excited mommy moves into office and starts working.

1:30pm: Mommy checks monitor and notices that toddler isn't in bed.  Mommy enters room and Toddler is playing with blocks.
Mommy: "Why aren't you sleeping?"
Toddler: "Music oh-oh!!"
Mommy (internally): "Damn player"
Mommy: "Let's fix it."
Toddler: "Okay Mommy"

Mommy fails mission, cuddles with toddler who now wants to wrestle.

Mommy: [sigh...]
Toddler: "Bye Mommy".
Mommy (relieved as this always means he is ready to fall asleep): "Bye Love"

1:40pm: Mommy calls Daddy.
Daddy's solution: "move the CD player from nursery to toddler room.  Baby isn't attached to the music yet, toddler is.  That way they'll both sleep."
Mommy: "You obviously don't know baby!"

Mommy downloads CD from internet so she can play on MP3 player.  Daddy has MP3 player with him. Crap.

Nevertheless, mommy goes in to nursery (baby asleep), steals player & moves it to toddler room. (It's worth the try, right?)

1:50pm: toddler asleep, baby asleep!!  
Mommy: "I guess daddy was right.  Yeah!!" 

1:55pm: baby wakes up crying.  I guess Mommy was right [usually: "of course!!"  today: sigh & "darn"]

1:56pm: mommy rocks baby to sleep.

2:20pm: baby asleep.  Mommy moves baby to crib.  And....baby opens eyes!!  Oh you've gotta be kiddin'!!!!!!

2:30pm: after 10 minutes of rocking, Mommy gets brilliant idea.

2:40pm: mommy moves laptop on which imported lullaby music plays which was downloaded earlier (see 1:40pm)into nursery.  Mommy rocks baby.

3:00pm: baby is out.  Mommy moves baby to crib.  Baby still out.

3:01pm: Mommy does happy-dance (in living room, NOT in nursery!!)

3:42pm: Baby & toddler still asleep.  Mommy is done writing.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

M for Mommy

I've been meaning to do this and as today seems to unfold in quite an uneventful manner (though it's only early afternoon), I figure I sit down and briefly explain where the name for my blog came from: mformommy.

Right before Easter, I had to go to the florist.  Mind you, I love flowers, but I do NOT like the ones here in America.  (Sorry, no offense.)  I am Dutch and in The Netherlands we have flowers.  REAL FLOWERS!  Beautiful flowers that are actually grown locally, that are (or at least 'were' when I still lived there) affordable and that would last (longer than 2 days).  I  miss my home country in that respect.  Oh and I miss the delicious cheeses, breads and oh so many other yummy things, but that's not what I want to write about, because if I do, I get hungry and I'm still trying to shed the last pounds that Ryder graced me with during my pregnancy with him.

Back to my story.  Where was I?  Easter. Florist. Right.  So, I pull up with my 2 boys in the Prius (yes, I drive a Prius and I LOVE it) and park the car in a parking lot that is between my florist and one of the world's most famous fast-food places.  I open the door for Kai, free him from his car seat and as he hops out, his head slowly moves backwards into his neck as he looks up - in awe - to one of the largest forms of advertising the kid had ever seen in his 2 years of life.  There it was: the golden arch!!!  In amazement he stares at this enormous sign that (probably together with our nation's most beloved soda) is the pinnacle of American advertising and that unfortunately symbolizes a big part of our culinary society [insert sad face].  The sign that I do NOT want him to become familiar with any time soon.  And then he exclaims in a voice that only communicates love and exhilaration:

"Mommy Look!!!  'M' for Mommy!!!"

Oh dear God, bless my beautiful little boy.  May he remain this innocent for a long, long time to come...
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It Just Doesn't Stop

Today I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I try, certain things just don't come to an end.  Unfortunately.  

It wasn't a particularly exciting day: aside from 2 brothers who decided to both be extremely high-maintenance, requesting my undivided attention almost 100% of the time they were awake this morning (see how that, in and by itself puts mommy in a bit of time crunch?), the day has been much like the weather: a bit gloomy, with some rays of sunshine, but overall not very bright, with some occasional wetness.


On several occasions I found myself flustered: standing in the middle of whatever room I happened to be in, looking around and noticing all the things that needed attending, yet not being able to move one bit into getting anything done.  Yes, that was my day.  Ultimately I did get my groceries done - but that was largely due to the fact that I put my bag together last night, so all I had to do was to grab the bag, the kids and get in the car, and drive to my beloved Trader Joe's.

And then, this afternoon while I was nursing Ryder and I was enjoying a moment of peace and silence (Kai was still napping and Ryder, well...he had his mouth full) it came to me: some things just don't come to an end. In a moment of clarity, I had cleaned the floors this morning and yet they looked as if they hadn't been attended to for over a week.  Then there are the laundry hampers: I think I have to buy new ones, these aren't working for me.  I am convinced that I have 'bottomless' hampers as I never seem to be able to reach the bottom.  I do laundry, turn around and the hamper is full again.  Huh?!?  Wha's up with that!?!


Then there are the dogs, the cat and my boys.  I love them all dearly, but open a door and at least one is bound to track in dirt.  The dogs and cat: they shed and 't is the season for shedding.  I clean, I turn around and there is...animal hair.  Well, I have to be honest: I can't leave myself out of the equation:  I shed as well.  The post-partum-kinda shedding when I lose all the beautiful thick hair that I worked so hard on collecting during my 40 weeks of pregnancy.  It's going and every time I brush my hair, clean the floors, or change my outfits, I am reminded of it.  [Sigh] On my part, the shedding does come to an end (one may hope so), though I never feel that is really true for the animals.
Well, and then the boys: it had rained last night and early in the morning.  David had left early, but hadn't closed the laundry door properly, so the dogs had taken the liberty of letting themselves in.  I woke up to muddy dog paw prints through the entire house!  
Last but not least there was my sweet & energetic toddler: right after breakfast was done, Sesame Street and Curious George were watched, he HAD to go outside.  It wasn't the "I would like to go outside", but rather the "If you don't let me go outside NOW my world will come to an end!!!!"  So, to keep the peace, I let him outside.  Yes, and then he came back in.  And went back out to go down the wet slide and land in the mud puddle at the bottom.  Oh,and he came back in.  You get the picture.  That combined with the paw prints...get the idea?  (Oh, by the way, this was after I had cleaned the floors.)


Long story short: some things just don't stop.  Laundry, animal hair, contents of my garden on my light flooring, only being a few examples.  There are many more that I could write about, but I won't.  I'm gonna kick back, pour myself a cuppa tea and watch some American Idol.  On purpose ignoring my floors.  It's dark, I am not going to notice.  Tomorrow is another day. 

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Monday, May 17, 2010

May 13: Kai's lesson today - Concrete Isn't Very Forgiving

As a mom you never want to see your children get hurt.  It is in our instincts to protect them and keep them from falling in every way possible and yet we sometimes have to let them do their thing - even if it results in them doing that thing we want to keep from happening: going flat on their face.  When I was pregnant with Kai, it had always been my intention to raise him with a certain amount of resilience.  And believe me, it was hard (and I mean HARD) to not give a kick when he tripped and fell for the first time, when he wasn't looking and walked straight into the bookcase, when he tripped over the little step between the kitchen and the laundry room.  As Kai got older, this got easier and easier and even though these days I have become pretty stoic as he trips, falls or stumbles, it doesn't change the fact that I as a mother I don't want to see my child get hurt - one way or another.  

So here we go: David is throwing the ball for Buster, Kai enjoys running after Buster, pretending to chase him.  Then it happened: he trips and does a face plant on the concrete pavers.  There were the few seconds of silence and then ... full volume!  He had scraped the area under his nose and busted his lip, which swell up in no-time. 

073110-kainose

The poor kid was besides himself.  Kisses and a sippy with milk helped start the healing process, one that was aided by Finding Nemo and eventually some yogurt (and of course tons of hugs and cuddles).  Kai's lesson today: concrete isn't very forgiving. 


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May 13: Living in the Moment

Being a mom is so incredibly fascinating: for the past several nights I have continued to make anywhere between 4-8 trips into Ryder's room nightly to soothe, re-swaddle, 're-pop' the paci, change a diaper, help fall asleep - you name it, I've done it (except feeding as Ryder luckily doesn't need to eat anymore during the night).  After several of these nights in a row, during which sleep happened for me in intervals of no longer than an hour, I am exhausted; my body aches, I have a headache, cramps and am just feeling 'blah' (for a lack of a better description).  You would expect that the last thing I would want to have happen is to continue my little trips into the nursery during the daytime.  Don't get me wrong, I would rather not and I'd prefer Ryder took a good long nap to catch up on what he lacked during the night, but when I was on my way home from having visited a friend of mine who had had her little girl this past weekend and David told me that Ryder had been waking up and crying a lot, I realized that there was a part of me that was looking forward to taking that little munchkin in my arms, sitting down with him in the glider and soothing him until he would fall asleep in my arms.


When I walked through the door, I was welcomed by Ryder screaming and David flustered, yet relieved about my arrival.  Despite having 2 kids now and having had my fair share of crying / screaming and squealing, it sometimes still is a mystery why they cry or are so upset to the point that you think their world has come to an end for them.  And sometimes you just give up trying to figure it out and accept that they 'just cry'.  This was one of those moments.  I could contribute it to so many things, but it's not even worth it as that list is just too long.

Obviously, those first few minutes upon entering the room weren't that enjoyable: crying, squirming and pushing - no, not my idea of enjoying motherhood, but what usually follows is just amazing.  There is nothing better than holding your baby in your arms, watching him get comfortable, relaxing and eventually falling asleep.  No matter how sleep deprived I am, no matter how badly I should be taking a nap, I give that all up in an instance in order to feel the warmth of my baby on my chest, to hear the soothing sound of his breathing and to just observe and enjoy this precious little 'being'.


I have to admit that pretty much every day I look forward to the children taking their nap: kids asleep = mommy being productive.  'Cause let's fact it: on an average day the 2 hours that they are both down and the few hours after they go down for the night are the only hours that mama can really do stuff.  Unfortunately, those few hours are just not enough to make it through my never-ending list of to-do's.  In the beginning I would find myself get slightly bothered when, during nap time, one or both of the children wasn't taking their nap 'as they were supposed to'.  It meant that I wasn't getting my stuff done.  It's hard when you see your to-do list grow and grow and you are aware that the amount of time that you have in which to complete this ever growing list of 'to do's' is so very limited.  Then, when those few hours get reduced even more because one or both of them aren't napping, it is easy to become irritated, annoyed, upset, whatever you want to call it.  However, when I reflect on the past 2 years AND these past 3 months in particular, I have come to the conclusion that nothing is more important than taking that moment (or that hour for that matter) to soothe my baby, sit with him in the glider and just admire his beautiful chubby face while he relaxes and finally falls asleep (again).  These moments are limited.  They are gone before I know it and when they are, I will wonder "where did they go?  What happened to my baby and where all of a sudden did this toddler come from?"  I want to cherish these moments and have decided that no matter how much time I spend on my 'to-do' list, it continues to get longer and longer anyways.  Instead, I want to soak up these moments of togetherness with my baby boy, because before I know it, my baby isn't a baby anymore.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 9 (Mother's Day)

As a mother I am every day reminded of the beautiful and gratifying job I have.  Most of the time I truly love being a mother, but occasionally it is oh so nice to get a break.  And that break was Mother's Day for me.  Ryder has taken over Kai's cold and baby & cold are like water & oil - they just don't mix.  2 nights ago, I was up every hour: as I entered my bedroom at midnight to go to sleep, Ryder woke up.  I had to go in to his room and soothe him.  This happened again at 2:30, 3:35, 4:20, 5:15 & 6:30 at which point I just stayed up.  Sigh... It's a shame I don't drink coffee, as it would have been great that morning.  Luckily he is starting to feel better now, but Mother's Day, and all that came with it, was a very welcome distraction.

For me, Mother's Day actually started the day before.  In the morning, we dropped the kids off at the godparents' house.  Kai was incredibly excited to go over there and on the way over could not stop talking about "Nini", "Mak" & "Maisy".  It is just so darn cute to see him get so excited about visiting them.  Clara was going to watch the bebe's, while the adults went out to take a work out class with Michael's personal trainer.  I am going out on a limb here, but oh, it was good to get my butt kicked for that hour.  I almost felt the pounds falling off my lovely hips.  The workout was so good that afterwards we went for sushi - yummmyyy!  Hey, we were told to up our protein intake that day, so sushi sounded like it fell right in line with that advice.  That night, a friend of David's came over to bring us dinner.  She had offered that right after Ryder was born, but it had never happened, so Mother's Day weekend was the weekend and we had a lovely dinner, without having to do anything for it.

Then...Mother's Day arrived!  Maybe the best part of the day was the sleeping in.  11:00am people!!!  I do NOT remember the last time i slept until 11, but it sure reminded me that I would love to do this more often.  Oh my goodness, it was pure heaven to lightly wake up and just turn over, knowing the kids were okay and I could just stay in bed.  Sigh...as I said: heaven.  Breakfast in bed followed.  Another treat!  My day was off to a fabulous start.  With breakfast came 3 cards - one from each of my boys AND 3 gift certificates to the massage place that lately has become David and my favorite: Foot Inspiration.  One of those certificates was going to be redeemed that afternoon as David had booked me a 2pm massage.  Did I say 'heaven'?

The rest of the day was spent in more relaxation: not doing anything, hanging with my boyz and making dinner with David.  There is something so enjoyable about cooking with my hubby and sipping a cocktail while the kiddo's are entertained by one of the Pixar movies.  Lovely.  The day came to an end with putting the boys to bed and spending the eve with David, curled up on the sofa watching some TV.  A nice and relaxing ending to a perfectly relaxing Mother's Day.

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May 2 - Laughter

There isn't enough laughter in this world.  Every time I turn on the TV, the news brings sadness: oil spills, plane crashes, terrorist attacks, murder, other varieties of violence, countries going bankrupt, and the list goes on and on.  This is largely why I hardly watch the news.  If I sat down on a daily basis to absorb all this misery, I would be on anti-depressants in no-time (and I doubt they would work).  So, I choose not to watch the news.  Some may call me 'ignorant', I consider myself 'a lot less stressed' because of it.  Maybe the new way to go is to invent something in the direction of the 'Happy News'.  It would certainly put our world in a different perspective and it might even uplift our spirits.  Really, there is not just bad news in the world, there is good news as well.  Unfortunately, according to 'ratings' (WHATEVER!) that is just considered not as exciting.  See, and that's where I think we are wrong: good news is a heck-of-a-lot more exciting than bad news.  Really, tell me: why would I sit down for 20 minutes and be reminded of this horrible society we seem to live in?  In my mind our society isn't that horrible at all.  Yes, it has it flaws, it DEFINITELY has flaws, but overall, we seem to overlook all the good there is going on in the world today.

One of those things (in my little world) may not be newsworthy to the other (according to the US Census Bureau) 6,820,799,999 global residents, but to me (the 6,820,800,000th one) it was a big thing: Ryder's first laugh.  And what a delightful sound that was.  There truly is no better sound than that of a child laughing.  It warms my heart and it reminded me that we should hear more of it in this world.

Let me digress for a moment: Kai has been fascinated (no, that's not the right word...yes, I have it: obsessed) with Thomas the Tank Engine movies and the Pixar movies Cars & Finding Nemo (we only just got started on building our Pixar library).  He has seen each movie enough to know what's happening in the next scene and is sharing it in his own delightful (and overly excited) way with all who are present in the room.  This time that happened to be Ryder and me.  Ryder is observing Kai more and more these days (something that is good and bad at the same time).  He was sitting on my knees, eyes fixated on Kai who was delighted about Thomas fixing Hiro and Spencer getting stuck in the mud.  All of a sudden, there it was: Kai's comment (I don't remember what it was) and Ryder's laugh.  They took turns: Kai commenting, Ryder laughing, Kai commenting, Ryder laughing.  I know that to others this may not seem like a big deal, but anyone who has kids, knows what it feels like - to hear your child laugh for the very first time.


The sound of a child laughing - it is absolutely precious.  Luckily I am graced with that precious gift on a daily basis.  I just wish we all were, as it would remind us that in a world where there is so much sadness, our focus should maybe shift a little in the direction of the good and the happiness around us.  it would make the world a better place - one laugh at a time.

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Welcome, welcome!

I have been married to David for 7 years now and aside from our 2 precious boys, 2 dogs and 1 feline family member, the closest direct family lives between 1,310 and 5,583 miles (yes that is 11 hours flying) away.  Several years ago, I took it upon myself to create a 'family website' where I kept a journal and posted photos & videos to allow family and friends to stay updated on what was happening 'over here' in Los Angeles.  For those who have ever started an initiative like that: you know how much work it is (if you want to do it well).  For those who have never embarked upon the journey of keeping a family website: it's a butt-load of work!!  Lemme tell you!  (No, on 2nd thought, I won't.  That would be too much work).  Anyways, it is a lot of work, especially if you don't know a single thing about creating a website and therefore have to re-invent the whole wheel of HTML and website design.  By now I'd like to think I am pretty savvy when it comes to the HTML language, just in time for it to be sooooo last year decade.  Why didn't I think about blogging back then?  (Don't answer that!)

The initiative for the family website came out of the necessity to have a permanent answer to questions such as: "Can you send us some photos?" or "Can you write so-and-so a letter and tell them a bit more about how things are going?  They would love to hear from you." and the list goes on and on.  There you are: a website containing (most of) the things that you are looking for.  And I really tried to keep it up.  Posting photos every month, writing as often as possible, even when there was really hardly any time to do so because I was busy remodeling the house,  getting pregnant, dealing with morning sickness, giving birth, getting used to being a mom to a baby boy, getting pregnant (again), dealing with morning sickness (again), giving birth (again) and getting used to (this time) being a mom to 2 boys.  The sad thing is, however, that every month I would send out an email to friends and family announcing updates on the website, but (not even) a handful of people would check it out (or: take the time to respond).  It's time to find other ways to get the stories out there and that's why I am starting this blog.  Well, it's not the only reason...

Over the past weeks I have become more and more excited about writing.  I've always enjoyed putting my thoughts on paper, but have never taken the time to seriously do so.  How serious am I about it this time?  I don't know, other than: I am currently enjoying it and would love to do more of it.  Unfortunately, the days in my life only count 24 hours and really, that just ain't much given they are filled with diaper changes, cooking, feeding, doing laundry, cleaning, running after a toddler, keeping a newborn engaged and happy, feeding, diaper changes, cleaning and did I say feeding?  (FYI: I make big babies; my youngest was born weighing in at almost 11 lbs.!!  YES, that's right!!!!  11 lbs....phew...BUT that's another story in and by itself....Anyways, those big babies, they eat a lot!)  In other words, my days are filled with being a MOM!!  And I am loving it, don't get me wrong.  I absolutely LOVE being a mom, though it does mean that hobbies, interests, fascinations and other things that take time are put on the back burner until the kiddo's are in school.

So, "Why" do you ask "are you starting a blog then?"  Answer: Because I want to.  I am not committing to writing daily, but given the fact that I enjoy it, I might actually be able to keep it up.  Who knows?  I would love to do something with my writing, really, but at the moment, I wouldn't even know what aside from starting this blog.  Hey, worst case scenario is that later, we have a good diary  / journal of these days.  Time will tell.

On that note, I want to welcome you here.  Welcome and thank you for checking out my stories.  I am a mom to 2 boys: Kai (2 years & 3 months) and Ryder (3 months). YES, they are exactly 2 years apart!  Not planned that way, but I guess I am just most fertile in April.  Was that too much information?  Oh well, sorry.

This blog will cover my journey of discovery in raising these 2 precious boys.  It will vary from simple sharings of what we did any particular day, to more opinionated pieces about what's going on in my world.  I am not expecting you to really care about my opinions.  If you do, great.  If you don't, no problem.

Oh, before I get started, let me explain my 'title' of HRH Mommy: In my house I am surrounded by an amazing amount of testosterone: my husband, my 2 boys and 2 male Australian Shepherds.  The cat is female, and though she still believes that she is the queen of the house, she is sorely mistaken (but I let her live in her happy bubble).  The queen in our house is ME!  If anything, I count double, simply to balance out all the male energy that I am surrounded by.  I love it (being surrounded by my guys), I do, but I also feel the urge to keep up my status - hence the title of "Her Royal Highness Mommy", or HRH Mommy for short.

So, here we go.  Again: Welcome!  And...Enjoy the read.

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