Monday, July 27, 2009

Two unrelated things come together

Two weekends ago, we boarded the commuter rail train with the idea of spending some time in Fremantle. It was a wintry, off-on rainy day, so before long, Ellie (our chronically underdressed child) was cold. We decided to disembark in Cottesloe and buy her some new long johns at a good outdoors store there. This led to more shopping and the purchase of much new and fancy athletic gear for Mama. I've never been one for the gym, and here that's more true than ever with such great outdoors; however, I hadn't really been taking much advantage of that either, and it was time to end excuses. Markus ensured I was fully geared up: new professionally fitted running shoes (whoa! what a difference!), super-breathable but warm exercise top and pants, and such technologically-advanced socks that they practically do the exercise for you. Seriously. When that man seeks out to destroy my excuses, he doesn't hold back. His point is that every weekday I drop Ellie off at school across from the beach, where there is a walking/cycling path that runs for miles. It isn't going to get any better than that, so off I had to go! This morning was to be my first day at it. I even wrote it on my to-do list. Jogging stroller in the car, complete with super-thermal stroller blanket for baby Stephanie (thank you, life in Holland for those two pieces of essential gear) more excuses.

In the wee small hours of this morning, my dreams included two people from high school who I didn't like. They were a couple then, and they are now married with child(ren?). In my dream, it was them as they are (supposedly) now, including a small child who was their beautiful daughter. We were all riding together in my car, and I was so happy to see them. The dream left me a bit confunded and not a little lonely and homesick when I woke up. I think the underlying message was not about those particular people but rather I really miss familiar faces. Markus and I were recently talking about how long it's been since we were in the States, and this is the longest I've ever been away. Yes, I've moved every 2-4 years my whole life, but most of that was within one country... the country I haven't lived in for nearly 4 years now and haven't visited in over a year. Lemme tell ya, there's nothing like waking up homesick in the world's most isolated capital city to make one feel far from home.

Dejected and tense as I was, this was to be the morning for starting my new exercise routine, so I geared up and off we went after dropping Ellie off at school. As usual, Markus was right. It's hard to beat this locale:

Baby Stephanie was beautifully cooperative and was happy as a clam (as ever!) in the jogging stroller, munching away on crackers from the Snack Trap (clever little unnecessary-but-useful thing!). I walked to a small playground and back again, stopping at the playground for my little swinger.

Back home again, showered and belly full of healthy food (exercise helps motivate in that department too!), I feel so good having gotten some needed exercise and I realize that I no longer feel tense, sad or lonely. I just feel refreshed and good! And I feel even better knowing that Markus's leave has been approved for our trip back to the States in a few months' time. Next up, flight planning...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mothers of littles are never alone

Even when I need a bathroom break, baby Stephanie is right there to help me with the toilet paper.

I thought I'd spare you an image of her stuffing little tp bits around my legs. This helpful habit of hers is very stressful to her big sister, who has been known to wail in distress, "Mama! Baby Stephanie is trying to touch my po-po!"

First puddle walk

Despite all the rain we've had, it doesn't tend to build up much due to the accompanying wind and decent drainage in our neighborhood. This has left our big puddle fan (Ellie) disappointed on many an occasion. Baby Stephanie didn't know what she had been missing, until this weekend when we opted to go for a walk in light rain, when it suddenly gave way to brilliant sunshine and fresh puddles in the road. Ellie was in with gusto, but baby Stephanie was reluctant at first, not really seeing the point. As is increasingly the case, she started mimicking Ellie, and then she really got into the action, sitting down a few times to splash with her hands in the muddy water and cutting our walk short so we could take them home and give them a warm bath.

Cute little girly raincoats and happy splashers!

Wanna go Baba!

Last Thursday was one of those devilish weather days I've moaned about in previous posts, a mix of sun and horrendous showers and gale-force winds. Of course, a clear period gave way to deluge while Markus was cycling home from work. The poor man arrived at the back door drenched and frozen, ready for a hot shower, warm dry clothes and a cup of tea. As usual, the girls lit up when they spotted him! Baby Stephanie was particularly thrilled, because we'd been home due to inclement weather, but now her go-go man was here! I swear every bit of her little body was smiling as she rushed to grab his shoes and head for the front door while chanting, "Wanna go, Baba! Wanna go OUT!" Unable to resist her charms, he knew he'd forego his tea and head out with her, but first he had to have his shower and fresh clothes. She followed him into the bathroom, his shoes in hand, and was clearly demanding an explanation for the delay in her baby Stephanie language.

It's a tough job being the go-go man, but someone has to do it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Socks for Lolo

You know from my frequent whining that it gets quite cold in our house. Bare feet are the way forward here, but we have put a ban on them in our house because it's too darn cold. Ellie has long felt that Lolo should not be exempt from this rule, that Lolo's feet are too cold and she's going to get sick and she'll need to go to the doctor and get medicine because Lolo is sick because her feet were cold because she needs socks! So there. Apparently, it was high time this Mama got busy and knit some. I heavily adapted the math from this pattern to fit Lolo's unusual feet (very small feet, very large ankles), and even so, the socks are held on securely by two hairbands. At least the hairbands match the yarn, so Ellie is happy as can be, reassured that Lolo is now properly dressed (we don't discuss Lolo's short-sleeves...).

It's only natural that now Ellie is concerned that Lolo doesn't have shoes, and she has asked me to make her some. I tried wiggling my way out of it by saying Lolo is a baby who doesn't walk, so she doesn't need shoes. Ellie was ready for this, demonstrating that like any good mama, she will help her baby learn to walk.

I've got to figure out how to make Lolo shoes.

News on knitting

My enthusiasm for knitting continues unabated, and I am already a hopeless collector of yarn. My addiction is rather insane, but knitting is a lovely hobby if you like working with your hands and enjoy peaceful activity too. I really need to go back to the start and learn proper technique. I am such an impatient learner that I skipped right ahead to finding my own way to hold the yarn to achieve even tension (where all the stitches look the same) as a beginner, and I didn't bother learning the hard way how to hold it properly and work up to good tension. As a result, I'm usually very proud of my completed projects, but the actual work takes ages longer than it should because my movements aren't economical. I haven't made time to learn good technique because I always want to make products rather than just process. The ability to create has left me impatient with the process of creating (a common theme for me as a learner)...and I have to work on that. Until I do, I will keep churning out (slowly) new projects that hopefully will delight their new owners as much as they delight me to make them.

Since I finished Ellie's vest, I have made several pairs of handwarmers (which I gave away before photographing, alas),
a scarf for a girlfriend's birthday:

and socks for Lolo.

I loved the scarf so much that I was tempted to keep it, but it will be given. I think about the person I'm making for as I create, so that scarf feels like it's hers even though she hasn't seen it yet. The handwarmers were fun, quick knits. I'd intended to make lots more, but I want to move on to new challenges right now. Next in my sights: a soft, gorgeous wrap from the fabulous Malabrigo yarn. Ooo, that yarn is so buttery soft!
I think I need intervention.

Glimpses of natural splendor

We've had a heckuva lot of rain lately. I try not to complain because the water table sorely needs replenishing, but it does get tiresome when one has become so accustomed to the sun! The worst was a winter storm that came through with tremendous rain/hail showers and strong, gusty winds (up to 125 km/h again!). The wind just whistles through our house, where there is hardly any insulation and the doors all have gaps the size of Texas (okay, Rhode Island, but still...). All that whining I wasn't going to do aside, poor weather makes you appreciate fabulous weather all the more! Last Wednesday was a classic example of amazing weather, so beautiful you just wanted to live outside all day (or at least until the sun went down and you got too cold).

Take a look at the polka dot popcorn clouds...

the flame tree...

and our backyard fence resident kookaburras...


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tickle kisses

I cannot resist baby Stephanie. Her cuteness is too much for me. This little movie was captured well after her bedtime one teething night (darn those molars!). I was tired and very much wanting to relax and knit, but there was a bundle out of bed who needed kissing. She had gotten hold of my knitting tape measure, one I really like and paid too much for because it is soft but retracts into a lovely small case with a clay dot design on it. She and Ellie are both big fans of this tape measure, and I've been nervous about losing it to their whims. Alas, this movie captures the death of the tape measure. Witness as she accidently whacks it on the floor and pops it open for the third time that night, to be repaired no more. And I can't even get mad at her. She's just too darn cute.

Name calling

I managed to offend an Aussie mum today.

When I picked up Ellie at school, her joined-at-the-hip friend was standing with her at the door, watching her own mum and I approach. She gleefully shouted, "Hi Mummy!" which Ellie echoed just as gleefully. I gave Ellie a cuddle and kiss and said something like, "Silly girl! I'm not your mummy! I'm the mama!"

Of course, a third mum was nearby and seemed shocked. Full of disapproval, she demanded to know if I'd really just told my daughter I was not her mummy. I told her, yes I had because I'm not; I'm a "mama". Mummy is an Aussie term, and I'm not Aussie. Wrong response. It increased her huffiness ten-fold, and she walked away, mumbling "it's used all over the world, not just Australia." My just-as-huffy response (which I was too dumb to keep to myself) was "Yes, in all Commonwealth countries, but I'm not British either. For the record, I don't want to be an American 'Mommy' either." She shook her head woefully and glanced sideways at me with undisguised distaste. Sigh.

I know it may seem puzzling why this even matters to me. Most people who don't understand it happily go by the most prevalent term in their culture. My home culture is American, but I've moved so often (every 2-4 years my entire life!) that there is no one term that seems obvious to me (even though my own mother was "Mommy" and now "Mom"). After four years in New Orleans (where Ellie was supposed to be born), I felt a strong affinity for Southern hospitality, and there it's always "mama." Living internationally now, the most multicultural term we've encountered is "mama". "Mama" just seems to fit me.
Really, truly NO OFFENSE MEANT! I did get riled by her huffiness and unfortunately fostered the incorrect anti-Aussie impression with my poorly-chosen responses, but I'm not anti-Australian or -British or -what-have-you. With all due respect to "mummies" (and "mommies") out there, I have fought to keep "Mama" and I'll keep fighting as needed. It's the name I prefer, and it's mine to keep. I'm just "Mama". That's who I want to be.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hooray for First Aid!

When Markus and I took a refresher First Aid class just before baby Stephanie was born, our teacher opened with a story of two young mums she had encountered recently at a local cafe. Talking and gesturing with her hands, one of the women knocked a freshly filled hot cup of coffee off the table and into the pram with a baby. Neither of the mothers nor any of the cafe staff knew what to do to help the poor screaming infant. Thank goodness our First Aid teacher was there!
That story stuck with me. Knowing first aid and remembering it at the crucial moment are often different things, and I have worried from time to time that my memory would fail me when I needed it. Today, I got a good test, thankfully on myself and neither of the girls. I reheated a cup of tea in the microwave while chasing kiddos, and clearly, the cook time was too long! When I reached in to lift out the mug (with baby Stephanie wrapped around my leg), I immediately noticed how over-hot the mug was. Not wanting to make any sudden moves and slosh the liquid onto either of us, I as-quickly-and-carefully as possible moved the mug to the countertop...but that took enough time to sear the everlivin' crap out of my thumb. I immediately turned on the sink to ice cold water (thank you winter pipes!) and let it run over my thumb and fingers. The thumb was stiff and turned white instantly. So there I stood with the ice cold water running over my thumb, thinking, "Well, this is the moment! And I don't remember what to do! What did she tell us to do for burns? I can't remember!" After several minutes, I switched to a glass of ice water with some ice cubes floating in it so I could get a phone and call Markus to ask what he remembered. And the answer?
Submerge the burned area in cold (ideally) running water for 20 minutes.
I really didn't think I remembered what to do, but clearly I did remember. I acted instantly and, although the burned area is still white and very damaged, I probably saved my thumb from extreme nastiness, as the cold water dissipates the heat and prevents the burn from getting worse (did you know that burns continue to worsen well after the heat source is removed?). I highly recommend everyone take a basic First Aid course if you haven't recently done so.
Oh, and don't grab too-hot porcelain with your bare hands. That's a good take-home tip too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My life as an adult

Some adults are sleeping in.
Some adults are reading a newspaper and sipping coffee.
Super husbands are watching the kids while their wives go see Harry Potter and munch popcorn at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.
Thank you, Markus!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Re-vamped playroom and new art box

Any organized parent or teacher of littles will tell you of the importance of rotating toys. Leave a minimal number of toys available at any one time, and then rotate those out on a regular basis. Rotation makes old toys new again. Too many toys out at once is just overwhelming, and ironically, it can lead to too many new toys entering the house as kids stop seeing what they actually have. While we weren't adding any, we certainly had too many out. When I sat dejected in the middle of a very messy playroom one afternoon, I took a good look around and realized that if I were a kid, dumping everything everywhere would be my first inclination too. How else could you see what there was or decide what to choose? Once something was dumped on the floor, it wasn't even obvious where it should be put back. Too much!!!

Unfortunately, knowing this didn't translate into making the time to fix it until this week, mostly because it was definitely not a task that could be completed with children watching. The other night while the girls were asleep, I went through and took it all down to a minimum level. Now, each shelf space holds one or two items at appropriate heights for their users. A cleared desk is topped with a pad of paper, a sketch book, and a tackle box/art box for Ellie (and an unplugged phone for important business calls). The room became inviting, interesting, and fun again. I expected backlash at the absence of most of their things, but there hasn't been even a hint of objection. Instead, both girls happily entertain themselves without any hesitation or deliberation, and they can easily see where toys need to be put back. Ellie is enraptured with her new art box, so much so that this morning she bypassed my sleeping body and was busily engaged with it when I woke up who knows how much later.

I plan to rotate some contents of the tackle box weekly too. Right now, it contains twist-up crayons, muffin tin rainbow crayons, feathers, goggly eyes, colorful pompoms, scissors, glue stick, beads and string, stickers, paper strips for cutting or gluing, and a small blank book I made with card stock and computer paper.

Sunshine-y girl

In the weeks leading up to Ellie's school holidays, Ellie's behavior was becoming more and more difficult to manage. Her teacher called me in for a meeting, because Ellie had become so challenging at school. She had latched on to a friend in an obsessive way, becoming teary if separated even by one friend between them at circle time. She didn't want to work anymore; she only wanted to cling to her friend...and her friend wasn't enjoying the over-attention. Ellie claimed to be "too tired" to learn, which was a red flag for me since she has always loved to learn new things (that has been her idea of a good time since she was a wee bub). She became so difficult at home that I was truly at my wit's end, even succumbing one weekend to abject misery and the desperate need to escape my life for just a few hours. It was not pretty, and I really didn't know what to do. The idea of two and a half weeks of school holiday seemed monstrous in some ways. What on earth would I do with this person who resembled my Ellie but really wasn't my Ellie anymore?

Then, school holidays started, and she has been the happiest camper from the first minute! How did I miss it? She needed a break! She was overtired, overstressed, and generally overcooked. Since she's not even four, it didn't really occur to me that she'd be needing a break from school. Before she started school, I thought five days a week from 8:30 to 1:30 would be quite a lot, but once we were doing it, it was just what we did. I forgot. It was simply getting to be too much. When she told her teacher she was too tired to learn, it's because she was too tired to learn! Hello? How did we miss that?! She needed a break. Now, she wakes up happy every day and stays that way. Yes, there are still little I'm-three-and-I'm-nuts breakdowns here and there, but nothing big enough to make me flinch. She loves her cubbyhouse and the revamped playroom, and she is happy to play on her own or with her sister or with me. We have played and played and played. We have enjoyed trips to the beach, to the animal farm, to the indoor playground, to the zoo. We have invited friends over for playdates and have been to other friend's houses for more playdates. And we have had lots and lots of downtime. It's been wonderful! My happy girl is back, and I'll be more mindful in the future.

Pink-clad little person

When Ellie was born and mountains of pink clothing were gifted to us, I hated pink. I dreaded pink. Why, oh why, did there have to be that gender-stereotype of pink? I refused to buy pink for her or for myself. There would be no pink, unless someone gifted us something unavoidably adorable. Pink was NOT going to define us! Here we are, nearly four years and two girls later, and I am a pink convert. I doubt it will ever be one of my favorite colors, but I have an appreciation for it that I never expected. Yes, pink has even found its way into my own wardrobe. Thanks to small European front loading washing machines, I wash whole loads of pink laundry. I do buy some pink clothes for Ellie (at her request), and baby Stephanie wears all of Ellie's too-small pink. And this morning, a pink-clad little person is sitting next to me.

It may never be one of my favorite colors, but sometimes pink melts my heart and steals my breath away.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A performance piece

I'm making up for a lack of consistent video posting with a payload! Here's yet another, shot today by Markus during cubbyhouse playtime, and I cannot wait to share it. Ellie love love loves Julie Andrews, most likely because of her gorgeous, crystal-clear, easy to understand voice. Her two favorite movies are (predicatably) "The Sound of Music" and "Mary Poppins", and both soundtracks get heavy use in the car. We are always listening to one or the other when Ellie is strapped into her seat, and she has worked hard at learning the lyrics. She doesn't always understand all the words (and there is no correcting her once she's decided what they are!), but her singing is downright adorable. I have never been able to get her to sing for the camera, but Markus managed it today. This little clip made me so happy that I got teary too, and I hope you will enjoy it. Here, she's singing "The Perfect Nanny" from "Mary Poppins", which is the nanny advertisement composed by the children and sung by Jane. Ellie emulates the British accent and substitutes lyrics as needed. My favorite adaptation is when they sing about not putting toads in the nanny's bed, Ellie has changed that to "dudes in your bed". Enjoy!


I woke up this morning with another (the same?) cold, this time with all the obvious symptoms: sore throat, cough, headache, etc. Markus recognized my need to sleep in and took the girls out for a fun morning along the beach to ensure peace in the house. They came home again, smiling and happy. We enjoyed cups of tea in the sunshine and put baby Stephanie down for her nap, where she snoozes still. Markus and Ellie are playing in the cubby house. She carefully carried out her tea set and prepared him delicious tea and a birthday party. I could hear chants of "Hip hip HOORAY!" floating across the backyard. Then more trips into the house for Lolo, Lolo's crib, Lolo's favorite books...signs of a busy little girl making the cubby house her home. Markus carried out a little rocking chair, and the two (three, counting Lolo) of them sat there reading, and I sat inside smiling, listening to them until Ellie shut the door to keep out the cold breeze, and I felt how truly blessed I am with this life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


As promised, the moderately lengthy movie of Ellie's play in the backyard, slightly modified from a private monologue to interact with her audience. Prepare yourself for a vocabulary lesson. Today's new word is "pindle."

p.s. How cute is the cubbyhouse after Markus spent last weekend painting it?! We love the cheerful yellow!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fun Saturday out

So, what did Markus do with the girls while Jennifer was flat out in bed this past Saturday? Zoo and beach, of course! As Ellie would say, "How fun was that?!"

I often wish we had a sweet photo of the girls together, but you see above why this does not happen. They are awfully cute just keeping themselves busy, though!

And we cannot neglect a video posting. Baby Stephanie is such a dog lover, and this past Saturday she found that love reciprocated big style by an adorable yellow lab puppy:

American invasion

When we pulled into the carpark last Thursday morning before school, we peered across the ocean and saw this awesome sight:

It is the USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier normally stationed off Japan that is now docked off Cottesloe beach for a week of shore leave. There are American sailors all over the place, which is giving me freaky flashbacks to my military brat upbringing. The funniest part of this new addition to the shoreline was how it influenced school drop-off on Friday. We were tickled to note the number of dads who volunteered for drop-off and made their kids a bit late to school due to oogling the ship from the shore.


I just uploaded photos from our camera starting with the past weekend when Markus had the girls out of the house, and lemme tell ya, there's been a whole lotta cuteness goin' on! I have to admit that I was secretly dreading Ellie's winter holidays a bit. She had been so tantrum-y for the past few weeks that I didn't know where I'd find the stamina, but these first three days have been amazing! Thanks in no small part to the awesome cubby house, she has been happy as a clam, and her happy-go-lucky baby sister has been quick to follow the lead. Before I get carried away with the easy living (and hallelujah, it's been good these days!), I'll just move straight on to the photos. I'll do one day at a time so it doesn't get too confusing. Here's yesterday:

The day started with extended play in the backyard, which has been totally transformed by the presence of the cubby house. Ellie now has an entire play worked out involving Lolo, her stroller, and the cubby house as "home" after a series of errands all over the yard. I've got a movie of that to be posted soon, but it's a bit long and only for die-hard fans.

Then, we headed off to O2H to buy fruits and veg. Stephanie feels very comfortable there from our weekly trips, and she likes to do a bit of re-arranging (note the potato on the seat cushion).

Both girls enjoy the fabulous fresh produce and usually can't escape a visit without eating some onsite.

After that, we visited the local plant nursery to choose plants for the cubby house windowboxes. Ellie wanted everything, but she eventually settled on some blue lobelia and some white "fairy flowers" (they are fairy-crazy here in Oz!).

We also chose some strawberry plants for her to tend in a pot outside her cubbyhouse. She is very excited and checks them multiple times a day to see if any strawberries have appeared.

The afternoon was more play outside. Ball rolling back and forth, children rolling in the grass, bird watching, and definitely more cubby house. Papa came home early to relieve a still-recouping Mama and take the girls to the playground. What a fun day!

By the way...
I'm often asked the secret to my photo collages, and it's no skill of mine, believe me. Once again, the credit goes to my beautiful friend gail, who is not only blessedly responsible for the beginnings of my foodie ways but also should take credit for any decent blogging I do. She guided me to picnik, which is super-easy online photo editing like Photoshop for those of us without a clue. I highly recommend it!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Flat out

I spent the best part of the gloriously sunny weekend lying flat on my back in bed, sick. Yuck. I have no idea what it was (such deep exhaustion!), but I seem to have skimmed over the top of something nasty. Now the rain and clouds are back, but I'm thankful at least that if I had to miss the sun, it happened over the weekend when Markus could play with the girls. Ellie is out of school for two and a half weeks for winter holidays, so being sick before instead of during that time was helpful too. Not that it's ever fun to be sick. These are the times when you can't help but fervently wish you lived within 20 minutes of family. Having some extra help on hand would be fantabulous, but the lack of it is part and parcel of this wild expat lifestyle. Hope whatever it was/is will clear my system soon!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

In the US, the 4th of July is a celebration of our independence, though this year we will have to add a syllable to that for my sister and her new husband! They celebrated their wedding at his family's farmhouse in marvelous country style, complete with requisite 4th of July barbeque, beer, and cupcakes! Sent off in a cascade of sparklers, we wish we'd been there to see them shine!

Happy Interdependence Day, Elizabeth and Matthew!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Anniversary prezzies

As our very first anniversary approached, I was at a loss for what to give Markus. He is ridiculously tough to buy for because he is not a stuff guy, he doesn't want much, and his needs are pretty well covered. Birthdays and Christmas drive me mad scrambling for ideas, and forget suggestions when other people ask me for help! So an anniversary gift was looking really tough. I turned to tradition. In the US, tradition dictates a specific gift for each year of marriage. I don't know anyone who follows this list anymore, but it gave me a great starting point and we've stuck to the list ever since. This year was "wood". Despite teasing on both sides, saying we'd wrap up sticks from the backyard, we both came through in style!

Markus gave me two beautiful, local art (my favorite!) gifts. One is a collection of miniature treasures (the frame is wood), and the other is an aboriginal carving on a nut from the boab tree.

I gave Markus a wood kaleidoscope, and I wish I'd made a video of him opening it. First, he unwrapped the base. He looked at it very carefully, set it gently on the table, and gave me a very polite "Thanks, honey, it's really nice wood" comment. That's not the gift, it's the base, I assured him. Oh, the look of relief! Then, he opened the main gift, carefully unwrapping to reveal a tube of wood with a glass bead on top and a small metal plate with a central hole on the bottom. There was an unmistakeable "WTF?" look on his face, which he was valiantly trying to suppress. You could see the wheels turning: "Did she give me a pepper grinder? What the hell?" Then, he lifted it to his eye and became a boy again: "WOOOOOW! WHOOOOA!!! Looooooook!" and so on for many minutes, as I lost him to the simple joy of a kaleidoscope. Thanks to the miracle of technology, I can share it with you too:

Last but not least...wouldn't you know that the cubby house fits right in to this grand scheme? Delivered and assembled on our anniversary, it is only natural that it also be a gift of wood.

Note: the music on the kaleidoscope video is "El Corazon" by Arno Elias from the Buddha Bar Nature CD

Parenting lesson #5782 (or #1): EMBRACE REALITY

At 3:30pm on the afternoon of our fifth anniversary, I was sitting on the kitchen floor, sobbing post-tantrum (mine). The day had gotten off to a very rough start. Ellie has been an unusually tough cookie to manage for almost two weeks, and she had eaten through my patience reserves before 8am. Baby Stephanie, normally so easy to please, wouldn't nap. She was too tired to eat but too hungry to sleep, so she just fussed and wanted 110% of my attention. Each time I tried to do anything I wanted to get done, one or both of them would throw a fit or cry. All I'd hoped to do was clean up the house and myself, bake a yummy dessert, and look nice when Markus came home from work for our date at home after the girls went to bed. I didn't think that was too much to expect, but clearly I needed to let go. I picked myself up off the floor, called our favorite restaurant to book for the next night, found a babysitter, and then invited the neighbors over for some craft and play time. EMBRACE REALITY. Life is seldom perfect, and even more rare are the moments that go smoothly when I really want them to. I can rail against it (i.e., cry on the kitchen floor) or I can shrug it off and accept the blessings I have along with the challenges. And you know what? Markus and I had a really nice night. No, the house wasn't clean. My eyes were puffy from my crying (I'm thinking there must be some PMS mixed in there), I was wearing pajama pants, and I hadn't brushed my hair...but it didn't matter. I made a super-quick-to-prepare and delicious dinner, we opened a bottle of wine from our trip to Cullen Vineyards, and we gave each other anniversary presents as well as shared time. It wasn't at all how I'd planned it, but it was every bit as enjoyable. Embrace reality. Here's to many more wonderful (busy, challenging, unpredictable...) years to come!