Kathleen’s Winter

A few months ago, I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living. I don’t know why. I think it was free. Also sometimes I fancy myself a totally put-together lady who loves entertaining instead of someone who admittedly does love a good cocktail party but is also wearing leggings and no makeup and not minimal makeup, I mean NO makeup.

Anyway. Martha apparently has her shit together. (Except for that prison stint.) Every month she includes a monthly calendar with all the different things she does every day, to keep your home and life running smoothly. It looks like this:


And it makes me feel really gross. Because my February calendar of barely-getting-by looks more like, well, something like this:

February 1st: Wake up in the morning anticipating gliding through the day getting ready for Squeak’s birthday like a party goddess. Stumble through the day more like an insane person who definitely did not shower. Finish with a drink and a good convo re:Mormons.

February 2nd: Squeak’s Birthday! On Martha’s calendar, family and friends birthdays are totally blocked off because you know she just is truly PRESENT to those people all day. Not the case with a seven-year-old’s birthday. There’s a lot more “No, you can’t play with the harpoon gun I know you got it for a present.”

February 3rd: Spend day looking around dazedly and wonder if you should just move instead of clean.

February 4th: Investigate mortgage rates.

February 5th: Decide you can’t afford to move and begin extracting glitter from between the floor boards.

February 6th: Glitter.

February 7th: Laugh when someone mentions bulbs or seeds or something to you because pssh it’s winter. I’m not doing anything outside until I have to.

(Probably not even then.)

February 8th: Today the snow melted and Martha suggest surveying property for damaged trees. I surveyed our property for summer toys we lost and wash the biggest chunks off of a boat I haven’t seen since October and gave it to my kid to play with because he was bugging me.

February 9th: Think about Spring cleaning schedule. Laugh.

February 10th: Still laughing.

February 11th: Ignore the dryer vent that will probably one day kill us all.

February 12th: Celebrate anniversary with husband by having him forget about it and you passive aggressively talking about the day you met all day.

February 13th: Display beautiful flowers from husband!

February 14th: Valentine’s Day! Make a lava cake that you hide until after the kids go to bed. Think that some day they’ll probably put you in a home and call over their shoulders “Gonna go have some lava cake by myself now, Mom!” as they leave you there. Decide that you still really need a little time to yourself.

February 15th: Throw away all the half-assed valentines your kids made that even they don’t care about.

February 16th: Attempt a pilates video on YouTube. Laugh at how ridiculous that is. Go back to eating left over lava cake.

February 17th: Brother-in-law’s birthday! Celebrate by saying horrifying things to each other under the guide of “Cards Against Humanity.”

February 18th: Consider spring wardrobe. Wonder when you last wore pants. Don’t care.

February 19th: Wrassle two children to Mass and yep, that pretty much takes care of the day.

February 20th: Long morning hike…through Aldi.

February 21st: Bring fresh eggs to office…wait. I don’t have eggs. Or an office. Settle for offering children Cookie Crisp OR Fruit Loops for breakfast. Like we’re a friggin restaurant or something.

February 22nd: Try to explain fractions to daughter. Have her respond with “But they’re all pieces!” just like you did when you were little. Stare at wall and reconsider life choices.

February 23rd: Begin to prepare for spring gardens…by picking the obvious Christmas stuff off the potted evergreens you bought in November.

February 24th: Dinner with friends…which is free and involves childcare. DATE NIGHT.

February 25th: Don’t put on pants.

February 26th: Relax after church ignoring responsibilities until half an hour before bedtime and then run around like a banshee BECAUSE WE HAVE TO GET READY FOR THE WEEK GAAAAH.

February 27th: MIL’s birthday. Celebrate by drinking her wine that you can’t afford.

February 28th: Look back at the month and plan for March. Cry. Laugh. Decide you don’t care. Pour another glass of wine.

Week One and Two: We Still All Like Each Other.

Kind of. I mean, the principal and I fight sometimes. Mostly because he doesn’t pick up his underwear from the floor. But then we also make out sometimes. Because we’re married.

Ha! Sorry. That will never be not funny to me, you guys.

Anyway, the first two weeks of school are finished and overall? Pretty good, y’all.

We’ve been super busy, which has made actually hitting our stride with scheduling. Squeaks struggles with transitions, so I’ve been trying to keep us working for a chunk of time in the morning and get everything done. But now she’s trying to get everything finished super fast and doesn’t want to stop to fix anything like, oh, her nines facing backwards.

So tomorrow I’m going to try to switch it up and schedule playtime in the middle of the morning. Hopefully it would be enough to give her a break but having it actually scheduled will be official enough for her little executive function-challenged head.

One can only hope.

My favorite part of this year is that both my mom and my bonus mother are so involved. both of them homeschooled their kids* and help me out when they’re able to. This morning I had my prayer group and so I laid out all the subjects I wanted Squeaks to finish and my bonus mom took care of everything! I even came home to cute pictures of her doing her work.

*I know. My husband. He loves him some homeschooled girls apparently.

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My mom helps out almost every day. We’re learning Latin together this year (or relearning as it’s been awhile since high school for me) and it’s so much fun to have my mom and my little girl bonding over a language. She’s also doing a ton with Buddy while I work with Squeaks. And now Buddy can count to fourteen now, so that’s super fun.

I know he’s three. We’re still happy about it. Shoot low. That basically my parenting motto.

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One of the best things I’m doing differently this year is actually for me. After having a slight (major) breakdown last year, I realized that unless I’m a happy person I am not going to be a happy mother. Or a very effective teacher.

So I’ve started getting up with Buzz in the mornings, which gives me about an hour to myself before the kids get up. I get my housework done, and have enough time to do my own reading.

This year I’m following The Coming Home Network’s plan for reading the Bible and the Catechism in a year. (I’m only doing it on school days, so it’s going to take me a little bit longer than a year.) It’s available for free as a download or a $1 booklet at chnetwork.org. It only takes about 10 minutes (I read fast) and it really makes me feel centered to do some spiritual reading every day.

I also have a pile of parenting books that I’m working through. I read a lot, but I tend to get caught up in mostly novels. Which is fine, but then I ignore the ones that I should be reading to help me along my journey. So I devote ten minutes to that as well.

Finally, I make sure to say a rosary in the morning. I love doing a daily rosary, and doing it in the morning honestly makes my day so much easier. I know part of it is just the meditative/repetitive prayer aspect, but I love starting my day by petitioning the Blessed Mother.

So overall, we’re still doing okay. And I get to make out with the principal.

 

 

 

Five on Friday

1.) It’s FRIDAY. TGIF, amirght people? Last weekend was less of a weekend and more of a whirlwind cycle of parties and it was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. We saw amazing people and family and friends and I am so, so, glad that my kids are growing up with such a wonderful network of extended family and friends. I would so much rather they have that than be on their own.

And I got to dress them up in cute clothes. Which is always a plus.

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But, dude, I am tired. Most summer weekends are like that, right? Weddings, showers, parties, birthdays, whatever. Wonderful stuff that you love participating in, but a bear to schedule.

Except you know what? Tomorrow? We have NOTHING. An entire day when I don’t have to put on real pants. I know. (Which I’ve said one too many times, it appears because Sqeaks has taken to repeating, “We wear pants in this household,” which is my usual response to her desire to spend most of her days in various states of undress.) It’s pretty exciting.

2.) Also (kind of) exciting and (kind of) horrifying is that I packed away all the baby stuff yesterday. I’m in the process of packing the things we don’t really use and getting them ready to move and I realized that yup. We don’t really use the bottles anymore.

I know he’s not a year yet, and nobody crucify me, I still give him formula and we avoid milk and don’t arrest me, blah blah blah. But the bottles have stopped. He’s never liked them, and we’d gotten down to two two-or-three-ounce ones a day, just kind of right before bedtime and naptime. More out of habit than anything. He wasn’t drinking them. I was pouring money into a bottle and then letting it sit on the edge of the coffee table while he passed out sweetly.

So I just stopped and they’re gone. And I always said I wouldn’t be sad to see them go because they’ve been such a struggle from (literally) day one, but…I kind of am. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. *sob*

3.) In other news, I had time to pack away the bottles because I’ve been trying to get Buddy to nap normally.

He’s a champion sleeper at night- 11 to 12 hours, put down awake, not a peep out of him, etc. If there’s anything I’m proud of in my parenting it’s that Squeaks says the Hail Mary when she hears a siren (although that’s really more because she’s enamored with our priest) and that I stuck with the bedtime routine through all those horrible early weeks and got him sleeping through the night.

Naptime isn’t that great, though. Everything that I worked so hard to make sure happened at bedtime I just kind of ignored with naptime. We’re always in a different house, he wasn’t ever a good napper, all the typical excuses. For the last few months I’ve been letting him fall asleep in my arms around one pm and then sleep next to me while I rested or hung out in the room for a few hours. And this worked great. I got some downtime, and he got the sleep he needed.

Except remember that weekend I was talking about above? Yeah. It broke him.

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday literally crawling up my chest to avoid falling asleep. Fun for the whole family.

So yesterday I buckled down. At home, in the crib, regular naptime. We’re not exactly a cry-it-out family in that I won’t let them just scream and scream forever, but once I’m sure he’s comfy and not scared and just mad that I’m not in the room with him (how DARE you!) we’ve let them cry fora few minutes. And after a day or so this always works.

So yesterday was not to much fun. He stayed in his crib and “slept” the requisite number of hours, but he woke up every hour or so to voice his displeasure that he did not have company.

I cleaned the cabinets and put away bottles and ate half a loaf of banana bread because I am adept at eating my feelings.

Today should be better. God willing.

4.) Speaking of cleaning the cabinets, I did our pantry cabinet yesterday. Which is a sucking black hold of taco shells and bread crumbs because I apparently just buy a new container of them every time I cook with them. I refuse to box up and move a bunch of expired pancake mix.

I discovered three potatoes that must have fallen out of the bag. They had sprouted, like, trees. 

Also a bag of black mold that (according to the label) used to be hamburger buns. We haven’t had hamburgers since last summer. Oh wow.

5.) Totally unconnected, Buzz has this day-long company philosophy meeting thingy. He has to bring something of deep personal significance to him, and he wanted to bring a picture of me and Squeaks and Buddy.

(Awww.)

I, of course, had to vet the picture first. Because if the last picnic was any indication, his company is staffed by the hottest biochemists around and I am a little bit vain.

I picked a picture of the four of us from last Christmas. (Well, no, I really wanted the black-and-white shot from my sister’s wedding where I look super hot and am holding Squeaks and yeah, okay, Buddy wasn’t born yet but I was pregnant so technically he’s in the picture. Buzz said no.)

Buzz did not like my selection. “I look high!” he protested. Yeah. Well, you’re at the meeting. They can see you’re adorable.

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Quarter Life

This has been a bad week for my youth. I’m only 26, but in the last year or so there are definitely moments when I’ve thought “Absolutely not, I am too old for that…stuff.” A LOT of them happened this week.

I’ve been cleaning the basement and getting ready to move. I have a tendency to never throw anything away, and so I have clothes from literally every size I’ve been for the past six or so years. I have been A LOT of sizes, just fyi.

So I was sorting through them, and found myself going, “Nope, never again,” to things. And not just because they’re an absurd size that happy I-have-two-hours-every-day-to-exercise-and-I-hardly-ever-drink-and-eat-a-lot-of-broccoli! grad student me was and post-childbearing is-it-five-o’clock-yet? me will never, ever be again no matter what. But because grad-student me looked pretty ironically hot in the short plaid skirt and screw-me boots. Post-childbearing me (who still loves the boots, just with jeans or a tasteful skirt) would look ridiculous.

So there’s that.

I got super excited over organizing my seasonal decorations.

Yup. Just read that sentence. Literally every word is a cat sweatshirt and perm waiting to happen.

I’ve started using philosophy skin care products, and I realized that they actually work. As in, a wrinkle reducer ACTUALLY REDUCED WRINKLES on my skin.

I bought shorts. I always swore that only ugly Americans wore shorts, and there is no reason you can’t try just a little bit harder and wear a cute skirt or capris or something. But you know what? I’m tired. It’s hot, I’m tired, and, okay, they’re actually pretty cute.

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And last night, I discovered that no matter how bad the day has been, how nicely the kids sleep, or how tasty it is, I can. not. do long island iced teas anymore. Oof.

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Hey! I’ve been there!

Yesterday, my husband was browsing Fox News (as he is wont to do when not on HotAir.com), and came across this article on the release of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams following questioning regarding the IRA murder of a widow in 1972 and the subsequent outrage from the Protestant community in Northern Ireland.

I have many, many thoughts on this development. Chief among them is where my mother was in 1972, because I’m pretty sure if a guy with an Irish accent told her to off a widow with ten kids, she’d do it, because surely they asked for it. 26+6=1, baby.

I wrote a paper in grad school on the Good Friday Accords and spent a lot of time going through Adams’ writings and despite my general distrust of the IRA as a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, MOTHER I do believe that Adams softened over time and the peace process would not have gone as smoothly as it did without his pushing Sinn Fein to relent on some of the sticking points on which they had previously refused to budge.

I mean, by the time he published Hope and History, he was practically moderate…wait a second. That picture. Look at that picture there.

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Yeah, that one. I’ve been there! I went to church there!

Why did you go to church there, you ask? Kathleen, it’s the site of political protest. It’s scary. There’s barbed wire and angry artwork and violent-looking people.

Yeah, I know.

See, if you’re even in a region torn apart by sectarian violence and distrust (no matter how well things are going recently), maybe don’t have me plan your itinerary.

Buzz and I honeymooned in Ireland. It was amazing. We had an awesome time. It was wonderful.

And, okay, the TSA guy rummaged through my underwear which you REALLY DON’T WANT THEM DOING ON YOUR HONEYMOON and I didn’t have my luggage until the day before we flew home and I was pretty sure we were going to be murdered in a country house by a ghost widower, but we also got to stay in a castle with a four-poster bed and a claw foot tub in the middle of the living room. So…it evened out.

But we couldn’t just do the normal Ireland tour, no. Pssh. That’s for wusses. I’m a historian! There will be no silly kissing of the Blarney stone here! Ha! I’m going to Belfast! And Omagh! I shall study and learn things and teach Buzz things and he can’t leave me because we’re married hahahaha.

*ahem*

Belfast was great. It was awesome. I loved it. We stayed in Queen’s Quarter at an adorable hotel that I was worried was going to be too much like an American chain but turned out to be delightfully bland and non-rapey after our previous stay (that’s a blog post for a different day.) We wandered around town, had dinner at an Italian place, the nice Polish woman at the front desk tracked down my luggage; it was a ball.

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We went to Queen’s College and I got a t-shirt that fit for all of five minutes when we got home before I got pregnant. I hung out with Galileo and took a lot of selfies.

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We discovered that in the UK they have beans for breakfast. Buzz was very impressed.

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We went to the Giant’s Causeway, which was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. We had so much fun hiking up the hard trail and then visiting Bushmills to reward ourselves.

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We were also there over a weekend. I knew we’d be there over a weekend, and so I figured out a Mass to attend. Which I did by googling “Catholic churches in Belfast” and then picking the one with the prettiest sounding name. (Matt helpfully queried, “We’re going to a Catholic church in Northern Ireland? I responded, “Uh, yeah, they have Catholics. That’s why there was a problem.”)

Ooh! St. Peter’s Cathedral! That sounds awesome! We’re going there! We’ve got the car out, we’ll stop for dinner and maybe walk around a little…

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Oh. Oh. My. So that’s literally on the Falls Road. Across from all this lovely protest mural artwork.

And this one.

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Right near where that guy back up at the beginning of the post was standing.

Yeah. We didn’t get dinner there that night.

And we also learned that even though the guidebooks say everything is totally fine omg, Belfast is a teensy weensy bit scary when you hang out around the barbed wire.

In case you were wondering, we got depressed and decided to scrap Omagh the next day. We went to Belleek instead.

Because if anything says happiness and we’re fine, no worries, no IRA here, it’s some painted porcelain

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Crazy pregnant bag lady.

I think the nesting thing has started. I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not like morning sickness where at 10:10 on Monday. November 12 it was all, BAM WELCOME TO HELL HERE HAVE A BUCKET YOU WON’T ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO THROW UP IN FOR A FEW WEEKS BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW SOME REASON.

And I certainly haven’t begun to do anything in his room yet. There’s a crib leaning up against the wall that has yet to be assembled. I think that should happen sometime next week. And I’m still throwing shower gifts and stuff in a box and not actually washing stuff yet. The shower is in about a week, and either we will be getting furniture to put all of his adorable things on or I will be ordering it (prime shipping) that night. So either way, it’s kind of silly to waste a whole lot of time in there until after that because it’s kind of…empty. And God willing we’ll have several weeks to get that straightened out after the shower.

(Although I did think he was coming on Tuesday night. Which was unpleasant. But actually ended up being less labor and more not eating and stress because the sink backed up [of course] and my husband is many things but happy and complacent upon not being able to immediately conquer any and all home emergencies despite not owning the correct tools to do so is not one of them.)

But it’s gotten to a point where I WANT to do those things. I want to set stuff up and get frustrated when I can’t. Because it’s another cruel twist of irony that God makes pregnant women a.) need everything absolutely perfect and fixed RIGHT NOW and b.) unable to lift more than 10 lbs frequently.

And I’ve made Buzz start cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Because there’s a baby coming! And he’ll need places for bottles! And formula! And binkies! And then he’ll get solid foods and God knows Squeaks won’t want to share her dishes so we’ll need to double them and oh good Lord, we need to move.

(Another thing in the back of my head I’m refusing to deal with.)

The kitchen was never really organized after I moved in. I moved all my stuff in before the wedding because I figured the last thing we needed was to spend the first two weeks of our marriage fighting over where my stuff would go and what that meant for our relationship and past relationships and the world as a whole, I don’t know, it was stressful. And we had those fights, just before the wedding. So we came home happy and at peace with each other and got to enjoy the brief weeks before the puking started.

Except in the kitchen. Because while I was crazy and irrational, I wasn’t crazy and irrational and mean and making Buzz eat off of paper plates until we unpacked the wedding china seemed rude. So I kind of piled all our stuff in the cabinets when we got back and didn’t really arrange any of it with any thought as to how to easily retrieve it. Which is why in order to use a mixing bowl you have to extract the salad spinner and any time I use a 9×13 pan I have to slam the door shut with my foot SUPER FAST before the rest of the bakeware falls out.

But no more! Because we have been going through the kitchen a cabinet a night. And let me just say? I didn’t think we were hoarders? At least until I actually looked at how we keep all our stuff.

Like our snack cabinet. That contained two bags of expired goldfish, three bottles of B6 that I purchased while out and nauseated, and a handful of Father’s Day cards that never got given away. (Be surprised this year, gentlemen.) And eight tons of other crap that I don’t even know but once it was gone I have a place to put my generic oreos.

(Yay!)

We also did the broom closet, which held one broom and EIGHT MILLION plastic bags. Because, I don’t know, we were going to use them? If we decided to move using only plastic bags? And also, holy cow do we spend too much time and/or money at Target.

So this morning I got to drag LITERALLY a cart full of plastic bags into Target to recycle. Like a crazy person. A crazy pregnant bag lady.

Tonight is Eva’s cabinet. I’m not sure if there’s anything in there that needs to be disposed of, but if it does, I’ve decided that’s Buzz’s job. I’ve had enough of being stared at.

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I was bad at planning a wedding. I was bad at caring about colors (I told the bridesmaids to buy a dress they liked), I was bad at caring about flowers (I ordered them two weeks before the wedding and my only request was please God don’t make it look like a funeral no, really, let me explain…), I was bad at caring about details and flipping out about things going correctly (My aunt dropped off a box of decorations at the restaurant that morning, the priest didn’t tell us where to stand during Mass, and the DJ literally got our first dance song wrong). I just didn’t care. As long as we were legally married and no one fainted or ran screaming from the church, I considered the evening a rousing success.

Registering proved to be similarly difficult. It was one of those wedding things I just could not care about. I loved that people cared enough to give us gifts, but I seriously did not want to pick them out. And, well, let’s just say it was a rather fraught few days between Buzz and I. We do not have similar tastes. Or perceived needs. Or…anything really. It’s amazing that we’ve been so happy together.

I figured that registering for baby stuff would be equally as difficult. And I wasn’t thrilled out the prospect of celebrating the impending (eleven weeks holy God) arrival of our bundle of joy with fights and screaming and that one time I yelled pretty awful things at Buzz at Target.

But I was wrong! Registering for a baby is awesome! First of all, it’s really like comparing apples and oranges. We didn’t really register like you register for a wedding when you pick out EVERYTHING. We kind of just listed the kind of car seat we want and what crib, what wrap/carriers, etc. Just in case people wanted ideas or wanted to know what we’d end up buying if they didn’t. Way easier than selecting the hand towels you want to use forever and ever, amen.

Also, my husband loves to research stuff. Like, if Consumer Reports has a category for it, we are not allowed to buy it without careful research. This process bugged me when we were selecting (or rather, ending up NEVER SELECTING) a vacuum cleaner. It sucks up dirt. If it doesn’t work, we’ll get a new one in ten years like everyone else on the planet. This process does not bug me so much when we’re selecting the thing that will be cocooning my infant and Squeaks’ little brother as we hurdle down the highway at 65 mph.

(Also yes, I drive like an old lady.)

Finally, all little boy stuff kind of looks the same. I mean, you get to pick between geometric shapes, owls, or monkeys. That’s nothing compared to the relationship minefield that was silverware for us. (The pointed ends are apparently not useful and therefore should be banned except for the highest of holy days. Or, no, they’re pretty and I like them.) And, you know, I kind of have the trump card here with the pushing your huge familial head out of a rather tiny hole (Have you SEEN 10 cm? Because it’s not huge.), and therefore if I want owls, I get owls.

So, in general, the registering went well. There was lots of cooing and oh how cute! And oh my gosh, can you believe we’re having another one!?

Buzz’s maddeningly practical side was not completely gone, however. We selected the My Little Snugabunny bouncer. Which has little bunny ears above the little cocoon part. And it’s so adorable that if it was physically possible for me to ovulate right now, the My Little Snugabunny would have made me do so.

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See?

My husband was less enamored.

Buzz: “I was going to say that you know there’s no real reason for the bunny ears, right? But I’m sure you know that.”

Me: “No. Really? You mean they don’t serve any evolutionary purpose? You know I have a master’s degree, right? THEY’RE LITTLE BUNNY EARS. THEY’RE SO CUTE.”

Buzz: “Okay. But they’re pointless and add $20 to the price. It’s the most expensive bouncer we found.”

Me: “No one has to buy it for us. If we don’t get it and we have to buy a bouncer, we’ll just get a cheap basic one from Target.”

*pause*

Me: “No, actually, what will happen if we don’t get it is I’ll call my mom and tell her we didn’t get the my little snugabunny and you won’t let me buy it and it’ll be at our house the next day. No, she’ll probably find it in a store somewhere and bring it over before dinner.”

Buzz: “Oh. Of course.”

See? He’s learned so much from last year.