After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

An adventurous week; difficult news

IMG_7161IMG_7160IMG_7162I can’t believe that we are back here…to the hematology department at Children’s Hospital. The flashbacks are acute and many.

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. I ache for them-these parents. I feel embarrassed to be here somehow and yet…I know I have to, we have to. Something IS wrong for real-just not as wrong, or as real as for most of these people here. The reality of what is going on on the third floor of this hospital for kids is devastating. I AM embarrassed to even feel sad because it seems I don’t have the right to somehow, and they don’t need my pity, and there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I praise these doctors for doing what they do, for pushing forward, for trying their very best, for smiling…
But the real heartbreak are these strong, brave little people who are just getting the toughest childhood imaginable…and their poor parents.

I have been dreading this appointment since my daughter was 18 months old. We found out when she was 11 weeks old, (just shy of 3 months) and cut her “tied tongue” to be able to breastfeed, that she had some kind of bleeding issue. She would not stop bleeding no matter what the tongue specialist, her pediatrician and the ER doctor did. She was loosing so much blood she had to have emergency surgery right away…

This tiny little preemie baby girl who had already been through so much in her very short life…
It was one of the worst days of my life. Seeing her bleed uncontrollably in the backseat when I rushed her to the ER is an image imprinted in my brain forever…

My baby girl was in surgery for hours, her little pale body and all that blood. Afterwards she was groggy and swollen in my arms. I felt awful. She wanted to eat so bad but was too hurt to feed. Seeing her in so much pain was agony.

We spent 3 days at Children’s Hospital before the 4th of July weekend and she still refused to eat. I didn’t sleep at all and was a wreck. Grandma and auntie were home with big brother because dad had to continue working (even though I’m sure that was extremely hard on him).

I remember the nurses trying to help squirting my pumped breastmilk into baby’s mouth with a syringe- it finally worked enough to get her off the IV. She was this little girl in a huge bed surrounded by rolled up baby blankets with wires and monitors…
It was utterly terrifying.

On day two we saw a couple of doctors from the hematology department. They drew a lot of blood to test our baby girl for a bleeding disorder. Since she was so tiny yet-still on the preemie scale, they couldn’t take too much blood from her little body-so we had to come back for a follow up.

The follow up was on the third floor of Children’s Hospital a week later. Baby girl had gotten her color back and she had finally started to nurse again. My mom was thankfully able to accompany us this time, having flown in on the 4th of July withstanding delays and cancelled flights. It was such a support to be able to lean on her as we entered what must be one of the most depressing places-full of sick-really, really sick kids.

My daughter had lost too much weight to be able to draw the required blood panel for the full spectrum of blood disorders so the doctor sent her home with a liquid that makes blood clot in the event of blood trauma.

The tests came back negative for any of the more severe blood disorders…and for leukemia. I have never prayed harder for these results..

Then again the unfairness of it all, seeing all the other kids and their parents. How do they do it? how do they live and breathe when their insides must be breaking.
These caregivers are incredibly strong that goes without saying but…these kids…I don’t have words, little superheroes who just deserve way better lives.

Hoping for them as I’m standing here at the hospital with my two (big brother is in school) happy, healthy (for the most part) children, is the same for them, that they will beat this, they will get better and this will all be a distant memory…

The reality though is a punch to the stomach and the embarrassment of even feeling like this when I’m fine and my kids are fine is raw and present.

This is the 4th time here seeing her hematology doctor. When we saw him when baby girl was 18 months old we still didn’t get to do all of her testing, because of her low weight. I was informed that in order to complete everything we needed to admit her to the hospital for a few days to monitor her while drawing the required amount of blood for the full panel of blood disorders. I declined these tests knowing that she didn’t have the more serious ones and signing papers that I declined treatment was really difficult-was I doing the right thing?

I promised (myself and her doctor) to keep a close eye on her, knowing full well that you can’t bubble wrap your kids (no matter how much you want to).

Fast forward until now, there is no more denial. Every time she bleeds from simple cuts and scrapes it is way too much- abnormally so. Her new pediatrician ordered more labs at her 3 year check up and testing confirmed without a doubt that our daughter does have a bleeding disorder. He sent us straight back here again…so here we are.

This has truly not been the best week..

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An adventurous week: Day 3

Soo since the social security office has picked the very convenient (not) time of 4pm to close everyday (I obviously-dumb of me-assumed it was 5pm or even six like any other business…) and we don’t get out of my son’s school parking lot until 3pm (and naturally 2 kids out of three have to stop to go potty) we don’t make it in time.

This is just great because I have a very limited time to take care of this (seeing as my son is almost one and he doesn’t have a social security number yet…don’t ask me why…also don’t ask me the addition hoops I have to jump through if I don’t get this done before his first birthday…). Annnd, don’t tell me I’ve had ten months to go get one when it wasn’t received right after his birth…just don’t okay!!

I had planned to finally get this done and had planned this specific day for weeks (if not months) because all the paperwork (including baby’s passport) were completed and because the nanny had promised to be there…

Well, it was clearly not going to happen today (either)…

Instead I go to Ross (A brand name clearance place) because like what else would I have done? This store is not in the best area and surprisingly my kids are not the best behaved. My almost three year old has an aisle 7 meltdown about a Barbie (glam and glitter edition…when did she get old enough to care…and how can me she is so girly?!), or was it over some “shopkins” in a pink and purple ice cream truck…and Baby’s diaper leaks (what else is new) all over the new black “Uppa” stroller fabric I special ordered (the color called “Jake” and very difficult to get your hands on) while my 5 year old just wants to go home and eat and “wash his hands” (“not here mama-at home”, maybe not the most unreasonable request).

After a good cry over some too small dresses (what ever should I wear for all the upcoming birthdays and spring events?) I realize defeat and turn towards the register with, instead of dresses, a shopkins truck, a new pair of blue pants size 12 months and some stale chocolate chip cookies on sale-a glowing example of some stellar parenting!

This is when my husband calls to let me know he will be late (as in extremely late because of some workshop…gee, thanks for the heads up!)

The next day we try again!

After school we head straight towards the social security office downtown!

I tell my kids the office is in a bad area of town (I’m not completely lying) just so that they’ll behave. “There might be “bad guys” there and you never know what they can do, especially if you are not holding your mom’s hand at all times”. I tell them they have to be quiet the whole entire time or the police might come and have a talk with them…or worse…!

Good Job momma! -the kids are officially terrified…

Buut, it works (minus the nightmares that follow…that and you know an unhealthy fear of our beautiful downtown, oh well).
They are both holding on to my hands for dear life as we cross the busy street (plus points for mommy!) after we double check that we locked the car (check again mama!) and they are glued to my sides as we pass the security guard at the front office. As we go to the bathroom (but of course, including dirty diaper…) they keep telling each other to be quiet (my son is actually scared his sister will be going to jail).

The great thing is that we get in to see an actual person who is actually helpful, not a minute to soon either since it’s passed their 4pm closing time (luckily we cruised in before they locked the place up) and the guy we talk to shockingly seem (semi) normal.

The kids; especially the three year old, are tired of behaving and she refuses to sit on the chair provided in front of the opened glass (plastic?) window, baby is crying (have you ever notice how hard it is to sit down with a big, squirmy baby-especially one who is crying-in a baby carrier?) and the five year old is venturing out (further and further from me) letting me know that no bad guys or police officers seem to care…

The guy behind the counter is surprisingly cool though and he even goes as far as asking for parenting advice…from MOI…
Apparently he has a 2.5 year old who tantrums (!) a LOT…
Easy there you worry wart 2.5 in my own humble experience is the worst age ever…ever! He’ll get over it (well…)

At last we get out of there with the promise of s number! Now we just have to make it to the car without getting kidnapped or thrown in jail!!

Mission accomplished!! And celebrated with this year’s first family BBQ!!

An Adventurous Week; Day 2

The weird part was that I was thinking about my husband’s car on the way home, how it used to work so great back when we leased it (with all that included service too) but since we bought it keeps breaking down (and obviously now we have to pay “full price” for everything). Just like I somehow had sensed that the little kids were going to get hurt today at the playground (I know, super freaky) I knew what hubby was going to say at 8:30 on a Monday night when I had just finished putting 3 kids to sleep (well in pjs with brushed teeth at least-not the easiest task…well if you are a mom, you know what I am talking about)…

He hadn’t responded to my phone calls or called me back for over an hour so I was clearly already upset when he finally did, as he claimed he had been on the phone with his colleague (who had aaa) and the tow truck (the guy who drove it presumably) on the other line (he had not dodged my calls or tried to worry me…hmm). Guys and doing more things at ones…

He was stuck by the side of the road (little comfort as I now have to finish the nighttime routine on my own AND worry about him and the car).

The tow truck (again, probably the driver) drops him off at the dealership which of course is closed by now (no one there to help him, rent him a car, tell him what to do with his own car or even help call him a cab…or uber) so my brilliant husband has the terrific idea….

He calls ME…

The kids are finally nodding off (both boys are fast asleep…I’m not even going to discuss my 3 year old’s sleeping habits right now)…

“Hey, a taxi will be really expensive and they kicked me out of the dealership…and it’s dark and cold”…

And as I am a VERY good (great) wife, I load up the kids in the car and strap them in (all sleeping now) and head towards downtown (a good 35-40 minutes away…especially with me driving so cautiously with the kids in the car AND my bad eyesight in darkness…don’t worry, it’s not THAT bad…but still).

He didn’t have to worry that I wouldn’t see him, he is the only person in a suit carrying a briefcase on the side of the road of the car dealership!

As we head towards home (finally), the kids snoring away, he calls to confirm with his (business) partner that he can borrow his “extra” car (apparently said partner had gone and bought himself a “mid-life crises car”…fancy, fancy indeed). So now I have to drive to his house so that my darling husband can get the car. The only upside is that I get to see this guy’s new house which I have been mildly curious about (the obvious downside being you know driving around in the dark, as his neighborhood also is a new development without streetlight, with three kids who don’t transfer easily…as in; from their car seats to their beds…nice little nap at 10pm…).

We make it and luckily the boys fall back asleep, our daughter though is up dancing ballet until midnight (no tea and reality tv for this mama).

When I wake up the following day (before 6 am-thanks baby) my eye twitch is back full force. I have been dealing with this annoying eye twitch in my right eye for days now and it is actually more than a little inconvenient (try putting mascara on for example). I break down and actually google it…Annnd, it’s either utter exhaustion (as in unbearable stress and extreme lack of sleep…) or you know cancer…(thanks google).

Today, we tackle the social security office downtown- with three kids of course, because the nanny naturally “can’t make it” …

 

An Adventurous Week: Day 1

Well this week started off like all weeks after a NOT so perfect Sunday; (and nothing at all like I had planned and imagined it) the dreaded Monday came (Sunday’s are usually fine but I always dread Mondays because I think it’s somehow ingrained in me- even if I don’t have school anymore or a job in that sense- I still have to get up in the morning and I do have to parent-alone).

This morning started like most others with the added loaded promise that it was just the first of many without a break. It was the unwelcoming wake-up call, the too enthusiastic 5 year old, the complete opposite whiny three year old, the hysterically crying, hungry baby, the missing shoe, the toilet paper issue, the refusing to go potty, (and brush teeth and dress), the tantrum over the lack of favorite cereal, wrong yoghurt, dress, color of underwear (and you know my face…) the too long nursing session, the lack of wipes available by the changing table, the dog stealing the last waffle, the project due NOT in the backpack…and the list goes on and on..

We are out the door (two in pjs, one still hungry, one still in pull-ups missing a shoe) only slightly late and a new day has officially started and it’s bound to be interesting because with kids it always, always is.

Picking up my oldest after school, I have already taken care of the mishaps of the morning, both little kids have “proper” clothing on (who cares if the dress and leggings don’t match and are of different sizes, if the princess crown is crocked or if she is wearing “Sofia the first” play shoes since we never did find the other shoe…thank goodness the baby still lets me dress him…well maybe boys are just always easier in that regard), the kitchen is cleaned, a “better” breakfast has been consumed, teeth brushed, underwear and sufficiently wiped butt have been taken care of. We also managed to run to the store (out of organic, no added sugar apple juice…it’s still bad for them I knooow), taken a nap (well…) and had lunch (drive thru Starbucks-my best friend as of late).

We are here and on time. Little sister having trouble walking in her too big, plastic Sofia shoes. We listen to the list of things big brother didn’t do well today and then we walk back to the car, nurse baby brother, change his disgusting diaper (seriously it is stinking up the whole car) and strap everyone in, the three year old being the biggest battle. Then we wait for all the cars to disappear so that we can get out of our parking spot and leave the school (a good 20 minutes later…I am paying major overages charges on my phone data for sitting there enjoying, gasp, the freedom of my kids unable to go anywhere, checking e-mail and social media).

Starbucks drive thru AGAIN but this time they accidentally give us cream cheese instead of butter with the plain bagels- oh the horror (you could only imagine). After school program brings its own drama where the parents have to meet to discuss something crucial and alarming and oh so important while baby boy is screaming (probably hungry again, he is always hungry…even when he just ate).

I just have this awful feeling that while big brother is learning and the little kids are playing, they will get hurt somehow (I’m telling you it felt like I just knew) so I keep waiting for it. I don’t know if it’s mom’s intuition or what but it’s certainly freaky as first my daughter falls and skins both knees (always extra alarming with her blood condition) and then…

So I put the baby boy on one of those animal swings, knowing he is too little and knowing before I do it that I shouldn’t (not sure why I still do it but I am being extra careful). I am feeling like ridiculously crazy mommy and maybe that is why I am ignoring that little voice in my head. I put his tiny hands securely on the metal bar, thinking I have things under control…when all of a sudden his little body slides away as I’m still holding his hands and fall forward and under…

And that’s it, there is blood…

His mouth is bleeding and he is crying that real “I got really hurt cry”. First I’m examining his teeth, already jumping to extremes of fallen baby teeth but after I feel better that they all seem intact, I feel embarrassed by parental stares “yes I was watching (even holding) my baby and he is STILL bleeding…”

Since I am certain his little mouth didn’t hit anything I’m confused at first about the blood, but then realized he got scared when his body lunched forward and bit his own lip…hard (as evident by the tiny tooth marks) poor little guy!

(Semi-) surviving this evening we finally get in the car, only to discover that we are out of gas…

So we get home, calling dad to go pick up dinner (he does that on Mondays  because we always get home so late and close to bed time), only he is not answering.

An hour later, still nothing. The kids all ate and are in pjs with brushed teeth as I start to worry…

The Year’s First Play Date!!

IMG_4388IMG_4400IMG_4404IMG_4287IMG_4327IMG_4348IMG_4372IMG_4367IMG_4373So the first play date is off to a great start. Read lost shoe(s), wrong colored dress (too cold for a dress, pick your battles?), last minute “I all of a sudden have to poop for a very long long time…can I have the iPad” and yet another nursing session despite the previous one being less than twenty minutes ago.

And we’re off, only twenty minutes late- great job mama! Only three out of three crying (gold star)!!
I’m glad people are waiting for us, sigh! (These people are most likely super mamas-of course they are-with super well behaved kids- and they are never late to anything…)

Today is one of those random school holidays that nobody has ever heard of- at least I haven’t. I think the teachers just need a break-and I don’t blame them at all, quite the opposite in fact, but it makes it a little (a lot) difficult on the parents (mommies mostly, who are we kidding here…?).

I think maybe you are supposed to jump for joy on school holidays. “Yay, a whole day (days/week… I mean, seriously “ski week” is coming up…) to spend with my precious offspring-my greatest wish come true!!!!”

I know that I’m being unfair here, I should be thankful to spend more quality time with my oldest (at least I could pretend better, beaming gratefully and nod with the other moms agreeing that a free day off of school to spend with your “little one” is the greatest blessing ever). But it’s not about my son really, (he is pretty great MOST of the time), it’s that I have two more kids (in quite difficult ages) with different demands and schedules (and I’m not the best at changing plans and schedules- being inflexible and all…).

Like I said, I really try to embrace this (these) school holiday (hmm). My son is actually (dare I admit it) my best behaved child at the moment (no; really). The littlest one is mr. Whinny, crank monster lately, extremely demanding, loud and wants to nurse around the clock…and my daughter’s requests and tantrums when they are not being meet, are just getting more ridiculous by the minute. Soo, back to my oldest; at least you can TALK to him, and reason with him (well somewhat) and he is starting to understand consequences…

He is growing up, my little man-my first born (insert beaming, teary eyed, proud mommy moment here; but for real this time!!) Amongst his nonsense (as in makes no sense what…so…ever), he all of a sudden makes a lot of sense, like he knows things I never knew he did, he senses things, he listens (about 20% more than before-which probably means he NOW listens about 20% of the time) and he remembers everything (although he always has-I swear even as a baby I understood that this one was special (I know cliche it sounds- but it’s so true!). He is still as full of energy as ever, can never sit (not even stand) still, usually up to no good with that gleaming look of mischief in his eyes, so darn cute and I swear a heart of gold that one!

Anyways, I know I went on and on and ran away with that one…my point is that amongst my three adorable, lovely kids he might just right now win the spot of the loveliest…except…

When he uses his “school scissors” (bought especially for school projects and homework by his loving mother) to cut huge holes in his brand new “work out pants” (bought by his not so lovely- and hysterically un-athletic mother who forces him “to finish what he started” – meaning “hoops”- no idea at first that it was basketball, and tennis- which he despises most days-but to be fair to his poor parents who paid good money for these after school/extra curricular activities; loves other days). Maybe that is why the nice, brand new “work out pants” got sliced…

All I know is the same child who begged to get out of “hoops” is suddenly having a meltdown that he can’t play today.

This morning I had to load all three kids in the car in acceptable clothing (and it’s cold too) to take them to sister’s dance. She is of course extra grumpy and doesn’t want to wear her brand new long sleeved ballerina dress (short sleeved in the laundry…and did I mention how cold it is) and wants her mom to watch her dance but not her brothers…

Anyways, I call the mom who organized the play date and apologize profusely-luck has it they were late too, not as late of course (only “two kid late”-not “three kid late”) but still!

The play date starts out nice enough, a little chit chat, the boys seem to get along. But soon baby wants to eat and I hate leaving my oldest playing without me watching (but hate asking the other moms to, even more). I tell his in my stern mommy voice…to behave, and take the youngests to the restroom.

Of course the girl refuses to potty, in the middle of potty training and all, and only wants to use her pink princess potty at home…and baby has a disgusting, leaky diaper and there is nowhere to change him but the cold, hard, dirty stone floor.

When we are all done, all heck has broken loose since my oldest has proceeded to pour sand all over the heads of his friends (to be fair it wasn’t unprovoked or malicious and I’m pretty sure he thought it was part of the game)…

It’s just simply time to say good bye!

My daughter disagrees, she wants to swing…and lets the whole park know!!

Next up is Panera because this mama is starving and this restaurant is not only nearby but convenient and kid friendly and near the grocery store Trader Joe’s where I need to buy specific, approved snacks for the oldest’s snack and lunch for school.

Little girl barely makes it to the bathroom but sits down like a good kid but unfortunately soaks her “big girl underwear” AND pants with pee in the process (do you know how difficult it is to help a 2 year old potty with a big, unhappy 9 months old strapped to you in a baby carrier…?? Just checking).

I’m not sure what to do (while “mr. No school today” is screaming about a cookie- and being specifically starving for a cookie…) but then have the brilliant idea to put an “old” (as in “she is out of diapers, not used eww) diaper on her instead of the wet clothes she obviously can’t wear. I’m so lucky I found one of her old diapers in the diaper bag.

Not lucky…or brilliant…NOT at all…

She has a very short dress on, and I can barely take her to the car with her bare bottom hanging out, let alone the store for the snacks we desperately need (I’m being honest), but after all that talk about “no diapers”, “finally big girl undies” and “being a big girl” I get it, believe me I get it…

But she doesn’t get me…at all…

So the boys and I wait it out. Some ladies come in the restroom to offer “helpful” advice…but apart from making sure she doesn’t hurt herself…we let her be.

At one point I sit on the toilet to breastfeed baby boy because he starts wailing, apparently starving…AGAIN.

And then we eat, and go to the store- in a diaper (two counting baby’s) and minus a “no cookie meltdown”,  we are all smiles!!!

Christmas Magic

img_2766c1c91bc2-f84e-4545-ae8a-bdecc345a55c51db7a3d-a599-48be-bafd-f1b9ec9a0044img_2808img_2814img_2751img_2759img_2764img_2733img_27359da97ede-a66e-49f9-88e0-fdabc70f9a42img_2772img_2792img_2797img_2767img_2768So it’s Christmas and my oldest is really, really sick, poor guy. He has no energy and is burning up with an especially nasty fever (which is worrisome because we don’t know exactly what is the matter with him).

To top it off, our daughter has morphed into the spawn of… someone eh hm, NOT nice. In my silly naive mind I thought that the random displays of (what I now see was mild) tantruming behavior was IT for her terrible twos (I really thought it wouldn’t get worse). I considering myself lucky but also DUE for an easier two year old this second time around.

I clearly forgot that the worst year is NOT 2-3 but two and a half to three and a half and that the “treenager” (seriously) is way worse than the “terrible-two:er” and that it gets worse and worse (way worse before it get better). 2.5-3.5 is really a year of unnecessary parental exhaustion (read: mental breakdown) dealing with little kid-devils with their main mission being messing with your mind! They are so manipulative, calculated, smart yet evil at the same times as not making any sense…at all. They go from sweet and nice (still being “baby cute” and adorable) to needing an exorcist in a heartbeat.

The baby boy is still NOT sleeping through the night and seem to have been going back to the newborn stage of nursing around the clock and confusing day and night…

You know by now what no sleep DOES to this mama, I’m running on fumes, I need (need, need) my sleep!!!

This is the year that I of course have chosen (completely my own brilliant idea) to host Christmas! And don’t get me wrong I am excited, of course I am…

I want to show my in laws more of my traditions and customs and what I am used to celebrating Christmas growing up and I want to give that to my children as well merging my husband’s family traditions and the “American way” with mine and the Swedish!

To start it all off the stove top stops working and even if I prepped a lot of the food days before Christmas  (lots and lots of meatballs of course), I  still obviously need my STOVE and nobody can come out to fix it because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve…
And then there is a roof leak…in the kitchen. (Hi, welcome; don’t mind the precipitation…inside)…
We are late for church, unable to sit together with family and all three kids fall asleep during the ceremony.

Oh and I almost forgot, not because I’m a selfish, mean b*tch but because I literally have a million…at least a thousand…several hundred things to do (and mouths to feed, or so it seems) but my husband got into a little accident…

Well more of a “fender bender really” (yes the fender; is that what it’s called?? Got really really bent). I guess he had to urgently go get a really important (hmm, yes!) gift last minute (ya think!!??). Because you know he has so many gifts to take care of, so many names on that list, and so little time (read:me) and I just have EVERYONE ELSE (now there is a LIST). But all good, hubby is fine-the car not so much (we also just bought his car off of the lease…) but it didn’t exactly take away from the stress and chaos or add to the Christmas spirit!!!

It all turns out pretty great in the end with tons of Christmas magic with the help of family, Tylenol, many gifts, lots of hands to hold cranky babies and toddlers, an amazing Santa, a Croc Pot (full of meatballs, “prince sausage” and briskets) and a handy grandpa and tons of actually delicious food including great cold items (yes!) like smoked salmon, breads, crackers and cheeses and items that could go IN the oven like glazed ham and Jansson’s temptation (my very own favorite potato dish with breadcrumbs, cream and anchovies…minus the anchovies for me), lots of “glogg” (spiced wine) and yummy and decadent desserts curtesy of grandma!

After Christmas it’s hard not to feel slightly sad and kind of empty even as an adult. Christmas is truly a magical time of year especially for kids. But as a parent I think that you try to recreate that magic you felt yourself as a child. My parents sure bent over backwards to make sure all our Christmases were truly that, amazing, traditional and simply; Magical!!!

As a child I always felt low after holidays (vacations and summer breaks) and now I understand the anticlimax that follows Christmas for my own children. As a mom though you simply don’t have time sitting around feeling blue and as soon as school starts it’s go go go again!

This semester is way more serious than the last one – that becomes apparent right away! No more sweet, cuddly and forgiving teachers, no more “practice homework”, no more “volunteering is optional”. Spring semester in kindergarten here we come! Who is ready to dive in with us!?

First comes Halloween…

But of course I do- expose myself and my son to that “school drop off car line” again…but not for a very, very long time.

At first drop offs are back to finding an extremely limited spot insanely early in the school’s back parking lot. Sit and wait for what seems like an eternity while at least two out of three kids are screaming their little heads off, while trying to read e-mails and leave important voicemails (no one is answering their phone at this hour and honestly I wouldn’t have been able to hear them if they did), and let’s “face” it; checking Facebook!
Then march in (usually) extreme heat (always worse at pick up) or pouring rain (by the end of the year) with a very specific and demanding kindergartener in one hand, a hungry (always) baby bouncing (getting heavier and heavier) in the carrier and a tantruming (more often than not) two year old in the other hand. Following the exact same procedure at pick up (except then we are also stuck and kept from leaving the school until all the cars in the car line disappear…a good 30-40 minutes later…(not kidding, wish I was).

This has now become our daily routine and even though we don’t have much of a Fall per say here, the leaves do change colors and it slowly gets a little colder-at least at night.

Halloween creeps up on us way too fast and I can’t believe my son has been in school this long already. This is his absolute favorite holiday and as soon as October is here, he starts talking pumpkins, bouncy houses, candy and ghosts. The highlight is of course the dressing up in costume part! Since his school won’t let you do that, it’s up to me to figure out what to do for Halloween and where to take the kids trick or treating!

I offered to take pictures at my son’s kindergarten class school party! Like mentioned, they are not allowed to dress up or have candy but it is surprisingly festive anyways. The kids are so darn cute (hate people under 65 who say that, or even worse; “they are so daaarling”) but they are. Trusting and sweet and so excited to do their little poses for the camera and show off their art work and their classroom. You just get the feeling that these genuine traits disappear more and more the oldest they get and it’s almost like you can’t think too much about it, or you’ll get really, really sad.

We go to a neighborhood Halloween party at the clubhouse (which surprises me as well with how great it is-nothing like the summer BBQ fiasco where a bunch of old people ate really bad food and nobody was dancing to the poor live band, which was actually quite good). This even had a ghost house, a picture kiosk, a bouncy house, a costume contest (as well as a golf cart contest) and lots of treats and goodies! We were just excited to be able to go as the “Disney Family” and entered the contest as such!

I was just really excited to provide my oldest with some real Halloween fun IN costume but of course all he wanted to do was going door to door actually trick or treating. Something our neighborhood apparently does NOT do…

Thankfully we could rely on good friends living in an awesome trick or treat friendly neighborhood!

While my son got his fun, running ahead with his little friends, our little ones were both scared and exhausted, neither wanting to be in the stroller. It was worth it in the end though with all the candy we got (soo stealing the peanut M&Ms).
We did donate most of it to the troops a day later even if our son just tried to give away the candy he didn’t like-and you know the candy that wasn’t candy… like fruit, gold fish and Rice Krispie treats… (so proud).

The highlight of our Halloween however was this grand party that I randomly got invited to. Thank mommy, family- except that is not exactly true. It’s baby boy that we all should thank!!! He totally got us all invited!!

This sweet mom from our oldest’s school invited us to the best costume party ever, solely based on loving our youngest! His smiles and his flirting got us a really fun night! Everyone from Donald Duck, to Goofy, to the two Minnies and the littlest Mickey Mouse had an amazing time. The family hosting the party’s house was seriously a massive mansion you only see in the movies and from the valet parking, to the hired magician, to the craft table, the good food (OMG the food), to the dance floor and DJ, it’s fair to say we never wanted to leave. Even our little (ice) princess had a lovely time dancing and giggling dressed up as her favorite character! Overall a great first Halloween at our new location with all our babies!

Once Halloween is here, it’s like you blink and then it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas- seriously the Fall disappears in a fog of holidays and I’m always left wanting time to stop, or at least slow down enough so we can enjoy it more…

I wish Christmas would go as well as Halloween, our oldest wakes up with 104 fever on Christmas Eve (the day we celebrate), our daughter wakes up in the foulest mood ever, the baby will not stop nursing and the stove top stops working-and we’re (I’m) hosting Christmas this year (for the first year ever) for the entire extended family…

 

 

Drop off Disaster

I prep my oldest son even before we reach the school parking lot. He knows by now how to buckle and unbuckle himself and how to stand ready (hunched over) by the back “lift-gate” (we have been practicing). Okay, so maybe that needs some further explanation…
As you all know, I have three kids and we TRIED to put them all next to each other in the backseat of our new (oversized) SUV. Heck noo, did NOT work…
The oldest two were fighting like crazy, which made me frustrated and scream way too much. I was also worried about the tiny (okay not so tiny) baby back there.
After weeks best described as catastrophic, we had the brilliant idea to put the oldest in the third row!
It was a bit tricky with the big stroller and all the other baby stuff (car seat adapters, extra toddler seat and what not) but we made it work. We also had to teach our oldest to buckle himself. The problem is, I didn’t WANT him to be able to open the back liftgate on his own (way too dangerous). So every time he (we) went out of the car, I had to open it for him.

So back to the dreaded school car line…

As soon as we are on school property I yell for my son to unbuckle himself and to prepare with his backpack and such, for me to come open the back for him.

We have arrived early enough so that there won’t be a lot of cars…there still IS, but we are amongst the first in line (pat on back).

As we approach the green “drop off zone” I slow way down and then come to a complete stop in front of the school, I put the car in park (and apply the parking brake for good measure) and open the door…

As soon as I do this, cars (people of course but you know what I mean…) start honking (these are moms and nannys and the occasional dad, mind you) and by the time I’m in the back of my car there is also yelling (I’m not kidding).

When my big handsome boy jumps out with his backpack, I feel so proud of him but of course the moment is completely ruined by even more severe honks and yelling ( “hurry up”, “come on”, “unbelievable”, “must be a new mom”, “she will make me LATE”)…

As I rush over to the driver seat, a school “representative” runs after me screaming “this is NOT how we do things”.

Yet as I see my son struggle with his huge backpack I feel an urge to go help him out, to go steer him in the right direction, to show him the gate and his classroom. I swollow hard and manage a wave to the car behind me as I speed off away from the school parking lot.

Theoretically I know he knows where to go and that he won’t be lost (or gasp “stolen”) but I can’t help the moment of “mommy panic”.

As I drive off I feel sad and disappointed. Well that didn’t go according to plan! I almost want to call the school to make sure he made it to his classroom safely. I feel worried and stressed. I have to call my husband to relay the fiasco…
Well, that’s it!!! I will NEVER ever expose myself or my son to that car line EVER again!!!

The frazzled, slightly lost and confused new mom…

As I slowly walk away from my brand new kindergartener’s school, feeling empty and a little lost, baby boy starts crying on cue!

Nothing like a gut wrenching hunger scream to take you back to reality. I quickly realize that all three of us (it does feel like I’m missing one) have to go all the way back to the car so I can feed the baby before the “coffee with the school moms”. So we start walking…

The restaurant across the street is beyond full of mingling mommas. My little daughter is trying to hold on to me for dear life as I try to maneuver her and the baby in the carrier .

There is hot coffee, giggling mamas and their legs everywhere- my two year old daughter is basically being swallowed by the crowd. I don’t think this is the place for me and my young to be right now. There are no other kids here and I come to the understanding that these moms are older (not that I am exactly young) and so are their kids. I challenge myself to talk to at least three different moms. They all seem nice but very different from myself and not quite what I’m used to. I try to introduce myself, give a compliment and ask a question. The planner in me feels like I’m checking off a check list not being genuine or trying to make friends. But I do want to be genuine and I do want to make new friends. I try to get out of my comfort zone and not think “I have all the friends I need”. This is not only for me but for my kids-my oldest and the other two following him! It just feels like this crowd has a secret I’m not in on … but I should make an effort to find out what it is. Some of them are very cold and stand off-ish but I must say, most of them do seem warm and approachable.

I make my rounds and manage to talk to three different woman- all of them with older kids, their youngest being in kindergarten. Not a lot of babies or toddlers beings seen or talk about diaper brands (organic, cloth or *gasp* plastic) or potty trading tips being heard. It makes sense now that they all seem to know each other since they have other kids in the same school. I feel like a lot of new information is being thrown at me and I feel totally unprepared, unpolished, and frankly like I’m left out of some “perfect manicured mom’s club”. I am that frazzled new mom who makes the mistake of bringing her smelly, whiny little kids to a classy event. Except my littlests are totally behaved (AND they smell delicious…at least I think so but I might be biased…then I remember the leggings) and I thought this was a “come as you are, casual coffee after drop off thing”…

I’m officially exhausted after discussions school safety and security as well as the kids cafeteria menus and meal plans with mom number 3 and have to excuse myself (who am I kidding? She is so bored by my input-or lack thereof she is already seeking a more gluten/dairy free, pro huge fenced in/gated school mom after a couple of sentences from me even if I’m totally pro healthy eating and school safety!)

Trying to avoid my little girl getting trampled, our little gang (feeling totally misplaced) head for the door.

For the first couple of weeks, we are supposed to walk our brand new school kids to their classroom and drop them off and walk to their classroom to pick them up. More seasoned moms with older kids get to pick their kids up by car-stopping (more like a rolling stop) by the side walk.

I oblige and walk my son back and forth with his little sister and little brother for weeks. I park at the church the first two weeks but get by week three that if I’m early enough I can snag a parking spot at the actual school, and I won’t get stuck in the line of cars dropping off and picking up (that lines up around the school’s back parking lot-sounds confusing? That is because it is!!! The school itself call drop off and pick up “an organized chaos”…)

After the initial weeks of a lot of walking a baby who just wants to eat and sleep and hates the in an out of his car seat and a hysterically grumpy (worst little morning person ever…gets it from me…very proud) toddler who is forced to walk in a rush several times a day…my oldest son and I decide to be brave…

We decide this on the same day as our very first kindergarten play date and we are both very excited…until we are actually stuck in that school line of cars at drop off…

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