Posts Tagged With: family

“B-Papa house”

We had our first Baby K weekend.
Well, it was more of a trial run. She spent one night instead of two.

Saturday morning she spent her time waffling between eating her breakfast and rushing to the window to see if I was there to get her yet.
When I came down the hill to their house, she and her mommy were on the front porch waiting. I beeped the horn and she threw her hands in the air and said, “BEEEE!”

On the way home she talked excitedly about seeing her Papa. When we pulled into the garage, I sent her inside to find Papa while I got her bag and mine from the car.
Of course Baby K was immediately distracted by all the pumpkins I placed around the house. The search for Papa was temporarily postponed while she went everywhere she could reach them and brought them to a central location in the living room.


She systematically gathered them all around her.


Then cracked up with laughter!

Papa had to wait patiently for her to be ready to greet him. It was worth the wait though, she flung herself at him and squeezed him tightly.

Sunday we went to the little playground in our neighborhood.

This girl climbed and slid and climbed and slid and went in and under and over as much of the entire structure as possible!

She went into the little house and announced it was hers then began to say, “Arf arf!”
I asked her if she was a dog and she said, “Mm-HMM!”

She even barked out the window to her Papa.

We were able to play nearly half an hour before it began to sprinkle and we had to head home.

She’s really into creating family groups. Pulling together three things and calling it the baby, mommy and daddy. Whenever she groups these things, she says, “Awww” and kind of hugs herself.
She was doing it here with us too. “B-Papa, Awww”
When we were both near enough to each other and her, she would put her arms out and say, B-Papa. We would lean into her and she would make the sweetest mmmm sound and whisper the word home.
The fact that we are her home as much as her parents are overwhelms my heart. That we’re a place she feels comfortable and safe is powerful stuff, y’all.
The fact that I have seasonal decor she can play with doesn’t hurt either…

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the break we needed

YBW and I went to visit friends last week.
I’ve known this fam for nearly twenty five years, our kids grew up together, the mom and I taught together at the old preschool. They were here for our wedding in 2015, and YBW was enthusiastic about spending good time getting to know them. Y’all, he fit right into their family, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that!

We needed a break.
We needed to get out of this house we no longer own before we move to our new house.
We needed to disconnect from everything here.
We needed to breathe new air.

Um…the air in Tucson is fucking hot! One hundred eight degrees is no joke!
Of course it is the desert.

But funky 4th Ave provided relief in one form or another.

We got to see all four of the (adult) kids, ranging in age from twenty-seven to about to be nineteen. Even my Goddaughter, the second eldest who lives just outside of Phoenix, was able to come down and ‘work’ from her mom and dad’s for a few days!
Joy is not a big enough word, y’all!

After a few days in Tucson, we (only the parent-y adults) drove six hours to spend a few days in their house in Carlsbad.
The perfect little Pacific coast beach town!

We’re back in Virginia where we belong.
Laundry, grocery shopping and tidying the house were on my list this week.
East coast time is our enemy…but we’re hoping to become friends again sooner than later.
After sleeping from only 10:15 to 11:30pm Wednesday night, I crashed about 8:15 Thursday night and woke at 9:40 this morning. Let us hope I broke the cycle.
As we head into the weekend, I’m disappointed we won’t be at the beach with our friends, but I’ve already hugged Meredith and Beau and their mommy this week, and this weekend we’re going to see Baby K for the first time since Sunday two weeks ago!

I came home feeling refreshed (apart from the wack-a-doo sleep schedule) and ready to organize and pack for our move the end of this month.
I knew I needed a break. I knew my husband would benefit from a break. Traveling is stressful, but visiting people we love is not.
We needed this break, this trip, this time with our family of friends.
I’m ready for what’s next.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Birdie water is best water, or pros and cons of Baby K living at her own house

Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K came to have dinner with us yesterday.
After hugs and kisses, the first thing that kid did was grab my water and chug it.
Apparently Birdie water is best water.

This lead to a bit of a joke that I’d make a pro and con list about Baby K living at her own house. Throughout the evening, each of the adults would randomly say “Pro” or “Con” and what began as an off the cuff remark became a reality.
Yep, I made a list.

Let me say this before I share it with y’all, my heart has disappointment that I don’t get to see my grandbaby every single day. But, there is a completely new kind of joy in seeing her.
A perfect example: last night, she and I played a game in which she ‘put me to bed’. She placed a pillow on the floor and gently pushed me and said, “Go to sleep.” When I laid my head on the pillow she squatted down and kissed me. Then I pretended to snore. My signal to wake was her tickling my foot. I giggled dramatically and sat up, saying “You tickled my foot to wake me up!”
She laughed and the game started all over again.
At one point her gentle pushes to get me to lie on the pillow became rough and then she was pushing my on my face. I told her, “I don’t like when you push so hard on my face. I will play with you, but please stop pushing me.”
She stopped and looked at me then went around me to point at the pillow and said, “Go to sleep!”
We had an accord.
A bit later I shifted the way my body was ‘sleeping’. I rolled onto my belly and bent my knees, touching my feet together then I fake snored my ass off.
Apparently me moving my body changed the game because she began walking around me going, “Hmm.”
Then she pulled my feet apart and began to climb up my back starting at my bottom. She did this several times, ‘falling’ off me at different places and in different ways.
Her giggles were off the charts, and she was mad as hell when her mommy told her it was time to go home.

Because I didn’t spend the entire day with her I had so much more energy to really play with her!
That is worth every single minute of us living in two different houses. Well, that and the fact that the drive is now forty-five minutes instead of eleven hours.

Here’s my pro and con list.
PROS
things that can be left out and remain safe:
drinks
remotes
reading glasses
pens
notebooks
bookmarks remain in books
(for the most part) everything remains tidy
reading more
doing less laundry
lack of flying food and dishes
folded laundry remains folded
more energy for play

CONS
not hearing toddler feet running down the hall
lack of random hugs and kisses
not having legit excuse for watching a shit-ton of Disney
hearing her say, “Papa”
watching YBW’s face when she says, “Papa”
not playing
not reading to her
not rocking with her before bed
not snuggling
not hearing new words as they come
not watching new skills as they develop
she has to leave to go home
I have to leave to go home

Truth be told, there is more good, more joy, and more opportunity for a new and different sort of closeness because my daughter and her family live in their own house, but I sure do miss receiving random kisses throughout my days.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

adapting here and adapting there

Thing 1, Husband N, Baby K, and their two dogs officially began living in their new house April first. (no foolin’)
YBW took the day off work. We loaded up four vehicles with the last of their things, and off we went.

Baby K has a big girl bed with the most amazing (to her) Moana duvet cover! She’s so tiny in that full size bed, but it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.
In the few days they’ve been there, Thing 1 and Husband N are getting settled in their room, and setting up work space for Husband N who only goes into the office two days a week.
Thing 1 built a kitchen table and chairs and a small storage island too.

After being at the house, YBW and I went out Easter Sunday for a visit.
Baby K came out of her house squealing and shouting, PAPA! BEEEE! (for Birdie) and running to hug us. That did YBW’s heart good, he’s missed his little granddaughter.

That girl had such fun hunting for eggs for the first time out in her brand new yard.

Her mommy found eggs big enough to hold Bluey characters, Moana and Frozen stickers, and even toddler-safe nail polish

color: Berry Sweet

It was so beautiful outside, we just had to sit on the porch and check out her loot! She’s holding her Bluey and singing to her.

After her egg hunt, she sat snuggled in her Papa’s lap before letting him take her to bed for her nap.
They’re coming to our house Wednesday afternoon and staying for dinner. If y’all could have seen the grin on my husband’s face!

My Momma heart is chock full of joy for my girl setting up her home.
I honestly think unpacking and getting settled is harder and more stressful than actually moving all your things. They’re making it work. Husband N goes through a space and cleans it well before Thing 1 begins to unpack. They’re working together to create their home in that precious little house.
My Birdie heart is chock full of joy that my grandbaby is so excited to see me that she runs into my arms when I arrive at her new house.

I thought I would feel so sad when they moved. I don’t really.
I mean, I miss seeing them every day, but I know they’re just a forty-five minute drive away. And when I see them in their new space, creating a home that works for them, I feel pride and joy.
When I’m home and I don’t hear a little voice saying, “Papa!” as she runs down the hall, I’m not sad like I expected, I’m grateful we had that time. Of course, when I’ve got a drink on the table and she doesn’t come over and snag it and chug it down as fast as she can then run away, I’m super happy she’s at her house.

We’re adapting here.
They’re adapting there.
It is as it is.
It is as is should be.
And I am content in my grateful life.

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grateful for joy and sadness

Thing 2 and Boyfriend M were here last weekend.

Thing 1 was thrilled to see her sister!
Baby K was excited to spend time with her Auntie!
Loads of peek-a-boo, story reading, block building, and media table play. (dried beans are excellent for sensory play)

Friday saw us at 2 Silos.
Even though it was chilly, the sun came out and we enjoyed our beers.

Saturday Thing C and Thing G came over.
We played Bye Felica, Uno, and Phase 10, and had burgers and dogs for dinner.
YBW and I had all the joy at all of our kids in the same place at once.

Thing 2 went through my shoes and took home four pair. (less things for me to move)

Thing 1 drove her sister and Boyfriend M to the airport Sunday afternoon.
Baby K cried when they drove out of the driveway.
So did her Birdie.
A LOT!

I was making leftovers for my lunch Monday and asked Thing 1 when we made that particular meal.
She told me it was Wednesday, because “they came on Thursday. As short as they were here, it felt like an eternity.”
She’s right. They weren’t here all that long, but it felt good and long.

I’m sad they’re gone, but chock a block full of joy and gratitude they were here.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

September gratitude

Today is October first.
The official start of Halloween month!
But before I get all SQUEE about that, I’m going to express my gratitude.

September was straight chaos. But it was also quite lovely.
As I look back on this month I find myself grateful for both.

I’m also grateful for:

a porchlife lunch with Mike and Josie
Husband N’s willingness to transport a 16 foot ladder
a successful and fun flea market day with YBW, his brother and sister-in-law
meeting with the builder about electricals in the new house
stackable jewelry organizers
a tearful conversation with YBW

Target run with Thing 1 and Baby K (sassy thing chose her own new shades and bag)

finally getting to talk with Jessica
Husband N’s mad landscaping skills
cool Autumn mornings
Thing G seems content at his mom’s
winery day with Nora and Dale’s family
joyfully ‘hate watching’ the Twilight saga with Thing 1

bathroom construction progress

windows open for several days in a row
playing a game called Bye Felicia
making good use of my instant pot
two of my alternative healthcare providers
Saturday morning snuggles with YBW and Baby K
exercising my 19th amendment right and responsibility by voting early
TJXrewards points

inventing this ridiculously delicious cocktail with Thing 1

having airline miles to purchase tickets for Thing 2 and Boyfriend M to visit in November
the post office in Old Town Manassas
taking a chance on the curated bundles at Bards Alley and getting some great reads
red toenail polish
CBD oil capsules
being in the car by myself

My heart is full of gratitude as I look back at this lovely and chaotic month.

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feeling hopeful at the end of the second month

I’m beginning to feel more at home in my own skin.
In my own home.

The first year of teaching is often called survival year.
The first year of anything could probably be called survival year.
This is the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.
Of a survival year.
During a global pandemic.

All the changes came so hard and fast. And came during the strangest possible time.
Pandemic kept us cooped up for safety. And just when that started to feel unbearable, three more people and three dogs joined this household.
Initially it was exciting and new.
Then it was all about getting settled.
Then simple logistics of cohabitating.
How do we make this work? Two small families creating one big family…how can we be both?

Expectations are being ironed out.
Anybody else hear Hamilton in their head?

“I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation. Every action’s an act of creation.”

Just me? OK…
Anyway, we’re beginning to managing expectations. We’re learning how to navigate each other’s personal language. We’re asking what did that mean when you/she/he said that? We’re figuring out how to cohabitate successfully.

I’m used to being alone the majority of my time.
Now I’m never alone.
My daughter is used to being in charge of her own environment.
Now her environment is not her own.
YBW continues his routine of going to work each day.
Now he supports more people.
Husband N is becoming more and more anxious about finding a job.
YBW and I agree he needs gainful employment, we want him to make the best possible choice instead of taking any job because it’s a job.
Baby K alternates between being so delightful it nearly kills us, and being a tiny terrorist demon bent on destruction. (as a toddler do)

And doesn’t even include the chaos of construction in the house.
YBW and I have no access to our own bathroom. And trying to make due with the bare minimum in the hall bathroom is taking it’s toll on me.
I know I’m feeling the stress.
I am acutely aware everybody experiences me feeling the stress.
I do my best to make sure to explain myself and/or apologize if I’m irritable or querulous. (more than normal)

It’s simply too much all at once and my adaption rate is lagging.
To combat this, I am actively carving out time for myself.
I’m reading again. That simple act sparked a change in me. Shifted me from the back of my brain back to the front. My brain moved out of survival mode and into all the good stuff.
I’m so much better off for it. (so is everyone else)
I’m engaged in a mindful way, not simply navigating fight or flight.
I will work as hard as I can to remain here in this healthy brain space.

I will learn to balance my needs with my wants when they’re at odds.
I want to spend every possible moment with Baby K.
I need some quiet time for myself.
Every time I think I’m on it, I fall. Honestly, she’s hard to resist…
But then I remember we’re at the end of the second month.
End. Of. The. Second. Month.

And I offer myself empathy and understanding.
Which, if I’m being honest, I never do.
My personal expectations are residual from my childhood, keep my head down and do the hard work and don’t complain about it. I received no empathy or understanding. I was expected to do what I was told without question.
I end up expecting myself to manage all ‘the things’ and be resigned to do so without complaint.
When triggered, we all go to the place we ‘know’.
So, if I offer myself some grace, it can be a place where I can stop and breathe. I can bask in that grace and encourage understanding for myself. I can stop the triggers, and in doing so I can find balance.
I can manage my own expectations.
I can take the time I need.
I can take the time I want.
I can feel strong and grateful instead of anxious and overwhelmed.

I feel indescribable love and joy having my daughter and her family here.
Now I’m working on making it comfortable.
For me.
For my husband.
For Thing 1 and Husband N.
For Baby K.
Though, let’s be honest, she’s in high cotton as the tiny princess in this multigenerational household.

At the end of the second month, I feel tired. But more than that, I feel hopeful.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

thoughts that hatch in the middle of the night

It’s the middle of the night and I’ve been up for hours. Thoughts swim around in my brain. Angry little fish bumping into each other but never giving way to get anywhere.
I don’t write. Not even in my journal.
I don’t read.
I barely even scroll instagram.

I want to do these things. I just don’t.
You may find yourself wondering, mais pourquoi pas? (You also may find yourself having no fucks to give. Either way, we’re cool.)
I don’t know why.
I do know I’m not behaving in my normal way and that has everything to do with it.
I do know I’m feeling the pressure of getting ready to leave one house and get settled into another.

I find it difficult to just be.
There are more people in the house. Two of which I am especially eager to spend time with after being apart for so long. But I’m used to being alone more than I’m with other humans.
This situation is tricky but can be managed.
I need to take time for myself. I need to read and write. I need to journal. I need to organize and prioritize. I need to rest.
But damn if I don’t want to spend as much time as possible with the mad little toddler running around my house!

Thing 1 and I talked a little bit about this Wednesday morning. She’s used to being more quiet too. She’s got the mental load for her little family with the curious situation of being in someone else’s house. She’s constantly aware of what Baby K or the dogs are and what they’re doing. She’s adapting to being an adult while living with her mother. It’s easy to fall into old patterns.

I’m tired of feeding five adults and a toddler.
If I don’t feel like feeding YBW and myself, it’s no big. But now all these other people are depending on being fed. Now, Husband N is quick to ask if he can help do anything, and follows detailed directions well. And Thing 1 does cook occasionally, but for the most part I’m doing the heavy lifting.
This needs to stop.
Thing 1 and I will make a meal plan and create a schedule of who cooks when and that will solve this situation.
We’re both game, we just haven’t done it yet.

Thing G will move to his mother’s over the next ten days. (She lives five minutes away so it’s not going to be a ‘great big move’ it’s just him shuttling his stuff over there.)
This makes YBW sad.
I feel his sadness.
I also feel a bit of relief. Thing G is one thing I can stop actively concerning myself with in this time when I have so many things on my plate. I can slip him off the plate knowing he’s safe and well loved at his mom’s and give myself that small sense of one less thing to pay attention to.

Baby K is exhausting.
Parenting is a young person’s game. That’s why grandparents are a bit older. Forty nine years and sixteen months are not always the perfect combination. But I cannot express my love, joy, and gratitude that I have this opportunity to be with her. To watch her learn and grow. To experience her sense of humor. To build a strong relationship with her.
I understand how truly blessed I am to be involved in her daily life no matter how tired I get.
She’s nearly mastered coming down the stairs in a safe way! And not only do I get to witness that, I’m helping her learn how to do it!

I miss YBW.
We’re never alone anymore. Which is simply the way it is, but I didn’t realize how it would feel.
I suggested we do a ‘date night’ even if we don’t go out, just plan to be together.

We’ve offered to look after Baby K so her parents can spend time together.
It would do them some good to just be.

It’s been just over a month. Literally, less than forty days. We’re still in survival and adjustment mode. I mean, good God, how could we not be? But survival mode simply isn’t sustainable.
Now’s the time to get our selves organized. Our routines. How we choose to be in this house together as one big family. How we choose to be in this house together as two small families.
I know we can do this.
I know we’re all willing to do this.
I think we’re all at a place where we kind of know we need to tweak it.
All it takes is open and honest communication and a willingness to be flexible.

You know, I’m feeling better already just from writing about it.
Of course, I’m still not ready to sleep…
Maybe I’ll take a nap with Baby K later today?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Monday thoughts

My brain feels like it is chock full of mush. Something between the texture of cream of wheat and raw pizza dough.
It could be because that storm is headed this way.
It could be because I still don’t feel rested.

These are my random thoughts today:

We’re starting to get the hang of life around here. All these humans and canines in one place. We’re finding our way at becoming members of one household.
Baby K alternates from ‘most adorable baby on the planet’ to ‘face slapping and scratching demon baby’ in a way that is perplexing but makes a kind of sense. She is trying to get nine-hundred-seventy-three-thousand teeth all at once, but damn! Of course then she’s all lovey and snuggly and sings songs with you and you forget she was demonish.
Never a dull moment in life with a toddler.

August is here, and I’d normally be gearing up for going back to school. Only that’s not a thing this year. So disappointing.
I’ve contracted with a family to essentially tutor their daughter as they navigate online school. At least I’ll be able to work a little. I like the idea of working with kids to facilitate their learning. I’m hoping to schedule with (up to) five kids scheduled twice a week.

I have this concept that time is on my side when it comes to design plans for the new house and preparing this house for sale. In reality, it probably isn’t.
We’re about to schedule the ‘low voltage’ appointment to decide where all the extra normal and fancy electric stuff will be. Within another sixty days, we’ll do the appointment I’m most enthusiastic about, deciding things for the kitchen and bathrooms.
The house is scheduled for summer 2021 delivery.
In this house, we need new flooring on the first and second floors, and some rooms painted. We have to ‘unpersonalize’ by removing all our family photos etc. Our bathroom must be updated, and possibly the bathroom YBW’s sons use(d). Thing 1’s family can’t move until Husband N has a job and they can purchase their own home. Thing G is supposed to be moving to his mother’s ‘by the end of the calendar year’. Sooner than later would be good at this point because construction can’t take place conveniently with five adults and a baby sharing two bathrooms.

My brain isn’t working the way I’d like it to. I’m having so much more aphasia of late. Some migraine aura but no pain. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not really doing things to promote brain health, or because I’m so damn tired.
I know I have to find balance in figuring how to make time for myself while engaging my fam. I’m working on it.
I think naps may become part of my days until I finally feel rested.

It occurs to me these thoughts are so very Monday.
Even though I feel off kilter, I am filled with love and gratitude. I am hopeful.
When I begin to feel better, that hope, gratitude, and love will fuel me living my intention and nothing can stop me!

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one week in

One week in and we’re (mostly) settled.
Baby K’s room is organized and furnished.
Seven large (reusable) shopping bags of food and one cooler of frozen food found a place in our cabinets and freezers.
Dog beds, food, treats, leashes and harnesses organized.
Thing 1 and Husband N haven’t yet organized their clothes in their room, or been able to put some things away. But they have comfy pillows upon which to lay their heads. And yesterday, I (think) I fixed the shower curtain rod so it won’t fall down randomly in the middle of the night.
We’ve got new magnetic cabinet locks in the kitchen, and gates at the stairs. We say, “Off!” more than we ever have before, but the giant puppy is learning he can’t express his love by climbing up the front of us. And even though dogs aren’t my chosen animal, he and I are becoming especially close.

I’m joyful to be around my daughter and her family!
I am also exhausted!
I don’t know if it’s that I’ve forgotten how hard it is to be a stay at home mom, or if I just blocked it! Of course, when my babies were babies I was twenty years younger.
Baby K keeps us on our toes.
I’m having a hard time not wanting to spend all my time with her.
In the past, if they were here, it was for a limited time and I had to get as much time in as possible. Now, they’re here all the time. I’m beginning to realize I can pace myself.

Thing 1 and I ran to Target yesterday. With the exception of the drive here, a pediatrician and vet visit, it’s the first time she’s been out in the world since they left here in March. She didn’t quite know what to do with herself!

I’m working to remember that my life is different than it was a mere week ago. I’m working to remember that I’m separate from my daughter and granddaughter. That I can do my me things while they do theirs.
That said, I’m currently watching Baby K, clad only in a diaper, go through a stack of CDs while her mama tells her, “No ma’am.” and is guiding her to put them back in the bag from where they came.
I’m amused.
I’m joyful.
I’m doing my me thing while still enjoying being with my daughter and her family.

From Baby K’s room at the opposite end of the hall from mine, I just heard Thing 1 tell Baby K, “Come here and let’s get dressed. I’m tired of you being a diaper baby.”
I giggled.
Exhausting or not, why would I want to miss that?

Humans are so much more adaptable than we realize.
We get all complacent. Inertia keeps us stuck in our ruts.
But when presented with an opportunity to adapt (for the most part) we’re super capable!

One week in and I’m realizing how truly blessed I am to be with my granddaughter.
One week in and I’m realizing how exhausting it is to have a toddler in the house.
One week in and I’m realizing my daughter is a grown woman and mother and doesn’t need me to actively mother her.
One week in and I’m realizing balance is the thing that will keep us going.


We got this!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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